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The Week In Review


There was lots of ‘Nova sports-relevant news this week, but regretfully most of it did not go our way. Here’s the long and short of the good, the bad and the ugly.

Our fantasy of nights with twins and a seven-footer must remain just that. Don’t lose Hart; we’re still in the hunt for BJ We had an upbeat report to start to the week when CBS’s Jeff Goodman tweeted that Rice 7-2 transfer shot-blocking specialist, Omar Oraby, was considering Villanova. However, NBC Sports' Raphielle Johnson broke our hearts mid-week reporting that Oraby chose USC as his new home. Well, we still could look forward to the official visit to Villanova by the #3 and #4 ranked recruits in the country, the Harrison twins, right?. Mike dashed our hopes there as well, reporting that the Harrisons cut Villanova from their list, leaving Maryland and Kentucky to duke it out. Yet, all is not lost. CBS’ Jeff Goodman reports, “The #83-ranked recruit Josh Hart has a top three of Villanova, Penn State and Rutgers. Villanova coach Jay Wright has made Hart a priority over the past few months. “I really like their coaching staff,” Hart said. “I've known them for quite awhile now. They definitely care about their players, and they have a great track record with developing guards and putting them into the league.” Further cause for hope came in the form of news from Josh Verlin of Big East Coast Bias, who reports that 2013 wing BJ Johnson has narrowed his list to 4 remaining schools - Villanova, Syracuse, Temple and Rutgers.

Big East Takes Another Blow … Daniel Martin of NBC Sports reported that Notre Dame would be joining the ACC conference in all sports except football. Aresco called speculation of the Big East’s demise as “complete nonsense. We have a great basketball conference,” he said. When you have Louisville, Cincinnati, Marquette, and UConn and Georgetown and Villanova and an up-and-coming St. John’s, the possibility of DePaul doing well in Chicago, and adding Memphis and Temple, two strong programs. … When you have all that, how can anybody argue we aren’t top to bottom the best basketball conference in the country? We’re right up there.” Jeffrey Tomik, Sports Editor for the Washington Examiner, agrees, writing “The Big East certainly isn't what it used to be. The flagship programs of the Big East may be gone, but the conference will remain a basketball power ... as long as it can keep the rest of its members intact.”

Will Another Catholic Be The Next To Stray? … Daniel Martin of NBC Sports writes, “With news that Notre Dame is leaving the Big East for the ACC, an interesting scenario arises for the future of the latter conference. As it stands now, the ACC is at 15 full-time members, after the additions of Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, and Syracuse . A more logical and round number would be 16, but whom could they take? Speculation begins with Connecticut , who has in the past expressed interest to leave the conference. Also in that mix could be Rutgers or Louisville, both schools with solid basketball and football programs that could assimilate into the ACC. But, adding a program like Louisville, Rutgers, or Connecticut would make 15 full-time members with football, an odd number. This brings in the possibility of schools like Georgetown or Villanova, Catholic schools from the original core of the Big East that don’t have an FBS football program.”

Should Villanova Seek-Out the ACC’s Warm Embrace?Ryan McCart of Rant Sports writes, “An interesting addition to the ACC would be a basketball-only Big East school, specifically Villanova. Adding Villanova would immediately strengthen the best collegiate basketball conference in the nation, and the Wildcats have a solid FCS football program. In 2009 Villanova won the National Championship for the FCS. It would take a lot of time and a lot of money before Villanova football could become competitive. If Notre Dame commits to staying independent for the long haul, then you add Villanova in everything but football. If the Irish leave the door open to join for football then the ACC could speak with the Wildcats and tell them that they may be called up in a few years. There is a real possibility for one final ACC raid on the Big East for one school to complete the conference, end ACC expansion and possibly put the final nail in the Big East’s football coffin.”

Life In The Fast Lane … Dave Zeitlin of writes, “A year ago, quarterback John Robertson entered Villanova’s season-opening game against Temple in the first half and rushed for one yard. He didn’t play again the rest of the season as his coaches opted to redshirt him. This year, Robertson again entered the season-opening game against Temple in the first half, this time rushing for 14 yards on his first carry. He went on to become the team’s starting quarterback. Robertson’s speedy ascension to the starting quarterback spot is somewhat surprising, if only because sophomore Chris Polony was named the team’s No. 1 signal-caller in the preseason by ’Nova head coach Andy Talley. But after showcasing his speed and moving the chains against a strong Temple team – something Polony failed to do when he ran the show – Robertson was quickly handed the keys to the ’Nova offense. “He’s everything you’re looking for in a young quarterback,” Talley said. “He just needs experience.”

Cats Square off Against Rams … Villanova (1-1, 0-0 CAA) takes on Rhode Island (0-1, 0-0 CAA) in the CAA game of the season for both teams at 3:30 PM at Villanova Stadium. The game will be covered on CSN/ESPN 950-AM (WPEN).Villanova leads the series, 14-3, but Rhode Island won the last meeting, 17-14, in 2010. Mark Narducci of the Philadelphia Inquirer points out some things to watch in this game. He writes, “Can Rhode Island stop the Villanova ground game? The Wildcats are averaging 5.5 yards per carry and Rhode Island allowed 272 rushing yards last week to Monmouth. Villanova, which is averaging 115.5 passing yards per game, must show more of a threat throwing the ball. Villanova, coming off last week's 28-13 win over Fordham, has just three sacks in two games and putting more pressure on QB Bob Bentsen will be important.”

Breakout Season for Ty? … Duncan Lloyd of City of Basketball Love believes Villanova’s Tyrone Johnson will have a breakout sophomore season. He writes, After ably filling in for point guard Maalik Wayns, as he battled through injuries last season, sophomore Ty Johnson showed flashes of brilliance similar to Scottie Reynolds, Kyle Lowry, and other great Villanova guards before him. Clearly not scared of the bright lights, Johnson notched his career high in points (14) against national powerhouse Connecticut in February 20, 2012, just two days after setting a career high in assists (seven) against the talent-laden Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Johnson showed his playmaking ability by ranking second on the team with an assist rate of 21.4%. Johnson will utilize his court vision and leadership skills to drive the Wildcats’ fast-paced offense.”

Jay Among Coaches vs. Cancer HonoreesDick Jerardi of the Philadelphia Daily News writes, ‘Six city coaches - Fran Dunphy (Temple), Phil Martelli (Saint Joseph's), Jerome Allen (Penn), Jay Wright (Villanova), Bruiser Flint (Drexel) and John Giannini (La Salle) - will be honored on Oct. 3 at Neumann University with the university's 2012 "Institute for Sport, Spirituality and Character Development Award." Recognizing their contributions to the Coaches vs. Cancer program. The coaches got involved with their own chapter in 1996 and have now raised nearly $5 million to fight cancer.”

I Wish They Offered That Degree When I Attended Villanova … Chris Mondics of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes, Andrew Brandt, a lawyer, former NFL team executive and ESPN commentator, has been named director of the Jeffrey S. Moorad Center for the Study of Sports Law at Villanova University Law School. Brandt will oversee activities of the sports law center, teach classes and lead seminars, and coordinate a sports law internship program, among other responsibilities, the law school said. Brandt will focus on giving law students the background and training to help them pursue careers in the sports world.” While an employee of ProServ Inc., Brandt represented high-profile athletes such as Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing and Boomer Esiason.” [Editor’s Note: Don’t get any ideas, Brian!]

Calhoun Finally Calls It Quits … Raphielle Johnson of NBC Sports reports, “Thursday was a big day in college basketball with Connecticut head coach Jim Calhoun announcing his retirement after four decades as a head coach at the college level. Calhoun, who leaves having won 875 games and three national titles, will be a special assistant to athletic director Warde Manuel this season in support of men’s basketball. VUHoops favorite, ESPN’s Dana O’Neil reflected on Calhoun’s career, wrote, “Calhoun can be combative, prickly and at times downright difficult to like. He ambles on his aching hip into the locker room of retirement with his share of detractors and critics. Frankly, not everyone will be sorry to see him go. But whether you liked him or loathed him, you had to respect him. I personally enjoyed the crusty New Englander. He was blunt, often to his own detriment, and his news conference filibusters gave more than one stenographer carpal tunnel syndrome. But you always knew where you stood with him and you always knew where he stood. And usually he stood his ground, defiantly.”

What Was Jay Thinking? …Here’s a recap of Jay’s tweets this week. “Shout out to our man James Bell for his outstanding leadership as we begin our journey in 2012-13! He has only been with us a short period but Tony Chennault is already a Villanova guard - Philly pride! Nova Nation there is still time to be a part of our Villanova Classic in Summit, N.J. on September 17! Awesome day for the Jim Maloney Coaches vs. Cancer Golf Classic today at Llanerch CC! Jim Calhoun is one of the all-time greats in our profession - always was a great mentor to me as a young head coach! Loved the fire and energy of our guys at the 6:45 a.m. workout this morning! We will miss Notre Dame but this new national Big East alignment is exciting and unique! We are fired up to hang with the Nova Nation in our new Big East cities starting next season!”

Hoops On The Hudson … Villanova announced “The Villanova Men's Basketball team hosts its annual New York City tip-off event for alumni and friends, Thursday, Oct. 18 at The Lighthouse at Pier Sixty-One. This year's event, called "Hoops on the Hudson " will give guests the opportunity to interact with Villanova players and coaching staff. “

Former ‘Nova Assistant Chris Walker In Charge of Texas Tech Program, For NowRaphielle Johnson of NBC Sports writes, “After a four-day stay at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota to be treated for high blood pressure and a stress disorder, embattled Texas Tech head coach Billy Gillispie returned to Lubbock on Friday. Gillispie left for Mayo after a wild couple of weeks in which there were nasty allegations in regards to his treatment of players and a heart attack (or stroke) scare. Athletic director Kirby Hocutt prohibited him from having any contact with the men’s basketball program until the two met in regards to the current state of the Texas Tech program. Former Villanova Assistant coach, Chris Walker, remains in charge of the program.

New Assistant at St. John’s … Daniel Martin of NBC Sports reports, “ St. John’s has officially hired former UCLA guard Darrick Martin to replace Mike Dunlap on its coaching staff, the school announced Friday. Martin played his college ball at UCLA before joining the Minnesota Timberwolves in 1994.”

Down with the Dome … Rob Dauster of NBC Sports writes, “According to a report from Andy Katz of, there have been some discussions about moving the Final Four out of domes and into a regular basketball arena. The Final Four has been in a dome since 1996, when it was hosted by the Meadowlands, and is currently booked all the way through 2016, when the NCAA title will once again be won in Houston .”