With 5 scholarships open for the 2013-14 season, Villanova is clearly interested in adding experienced players to the ranks. Adding experience to the backcourt will be most important, with starting point guard Maalik Wayns — and perhaps also Dominic Cheek — planning to leave school a year early to try their luck with the NBA draft. With junior college players a rarity on the Main Line, that means that Jay Wright will look hard at the transfer market this season.
Among the recent bevy of announced transfers was that of Rice University's starting point guard, Dylan Ennis, and he could end up at Villanova. According to Ennis, Villanova has offered him a scholarship, along with Virginia, Virginia Tech, Cincinnati, Oregon, Boston College, and Wake Forest, "and a few others."
Ennis claims that he doesn't have any favorites among that group. He will discuss the options with his father this week and cut his list down to a few schools, then set up some visits. The goal is to be enrolled by the start of the summer school session to take classes and join in work-outs.
"I decided to transfer from Rice because I wanted to possibly find a situation close to home," Ennis told VUhoops. "I love my family and would like for them to come to more of my games. That would really be great."
Ennis is originally from suburb of Toronto, Canada, about an hour and a half from the United States border. He played his high school basketball at Lake Forest Academy, near Chicago and also attended Wings Academy in New York. ESPN ranked him among the top-30 point guards in his high school class. He was unranked by Rivals.com, but his handle and passing were rated "outstanding" by that site and his shooting was rated "good."
The 6-2 guard was averaged 8.5 points, 4.1 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.1 steal per game as a freshman at the Conference USA school. He played 26.5 minutes per game. He was named Conference USA Freshman of the Week twice, and finished the season included on the conference's All-Freshman team. He holds the record for assists by a freshman in a season with 144, shattering the previous record of 114.
His assist rate is comparable to Maalik Wayns, both in the 30s, with Wayns producing a slightly-higher number at 32.5 to Ennis' 30.2. Assist rate is a statistic that compares total assists to the number of field goals made by teammates while the player is on the court. Ennis produced a notably-higher free-throw rate at 50.7 to Wayns' 40.4, showing that he is more productive scoring at the charity stripe — and that he doesn't jack up as many shots from outside.
"I want to go somewhere that I will be pushed and where everyone from player to coach will compete everyday," he said about his criteria. "Rice has taught me a lot and I hope to capitalize on what I've learned there to bring to the school I decide to go to and build on it.
"Jay Wright and I have talked on more then one occasion and he has just told me that he is very interested in me and my abilities and approach to the game. He has had a lot of great guards in the past and feels that I would be able to fit in Villanova's offense, especially because of my leadership and focus to the game."
Ennis will likely need to sit out the 2012-13 season under NCAA rules because he will transfer to another Division I institution. He would like to apply for a waiver to allow him to be eligible immediately, a tactic that has been used more and more often by schools at the highest levels, especially when a player is transferring to be closer to home.
"If the NCAA decides to make me sit out a year, I will just train everyday and be ready for the following year to play."
Ennis comes from a family that has exhibited much basketball talent. His older brother, Brandon, is a guard at the University of the District of Columbia and his younger brother is Tyler Ennis, a highly sought guard prospect. Tyler is a 2013 point guard at St. Benedicts Prep in New Jersey; rated 4-stars by most recruiting services with a long list of college suitors, including Villanova.
Dylan Ennis is not the same type of volume-scoring point guard that Villanova fans have been used to since Scottie Reynolds took the ball in 2006-07. With the development of scorers like JayVaughn Pinkston, however, the Wildcats may benefit from a point guard that can defend and make his teammates better.