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The Dylan Ennis Dilemma: How does he fit into the rotation?

The injured guard is a few weeks away from a return to action - but the Wildcats are playing very well without him.


When the news broke that Dylan Ennis would miss six-eight weeks with a broken hand, there was fear that this could derail the start of a promising season. Ennis has been getting hype since he transferred last fall, and injuring himself right before the season started was disappointing for a fanbase that was expecting good things from the energetic guard. The good news is, the cast is coming off on Friday, and we should know more about his expected return date.

While Ennis was not expected to begin the season in the starting lineup, questions immediately surfaced as to who would support Ryan Arcidiacono in the backcourt with Ennis sidelined. The most likely option, Tony Chennault, seemed limited based on last season's performance. Darrun Hilliard was the more popular option to pick up more of the workload, but he was more of a scorer than distributor by trade. Would James Bell and Josh Hart have to be relied upon for ball-handling duties?

Through three games, the answer to the Ennis dilemma has been all of the above. Here's a table of the stats for the above players, sorted by minutes per game.

Ryan Arcidiacono 31.7 36.8% 18.2% 8.0 3.0 3.0 0 1.3 1.0
James Bell 29.7 47.5% 36.4% 18.7 7.0 1.7 0.7 2.0 1.7
Darrun Hilliard 29.0 55.2% 30.8% 13.7 3.7 3.7 1.0 1.7 1.7
Tony Chennault 21.7 60% N/A 5.3 3.3 4.7 0 1.3 0.7
Josh Hart 18.7 58.8% 42.9% 9.3 5.0 0.7 0 0.7 0.7

As you can see, good results so far. Great in some cases. It's mostly been one of Arch or Chennault running the point, with all of Hilliard, Hart and Bell joining one frontcourt player (the small-ball lineup), or two of those three joining both Ochefu and Pinkston. All of those lineups have had great success. It's hard to justify any of these players getting less minutes right now based on their hot start to the season.

Here's the breakdown in the frontcourt.

JayVaughn Pinkston 27.3 59.4% 12.5% 18.3 3.0 1.7 0.7 0.3 2.3
Daniel Ochefu 16.7 18.8% 0% 3.3 8.0 0.7 2.3 0.3 1.7
Kris Jenkins 13.0 30% 16.7% 3.7 2.3 0.0 0.7 0.3 0.3
Darryl Reynolds 10.0 N/A N/A 0.0 3.5 0.5 1.0 0.0 1.0

Pinkston has been great as expected, and Ochefu has been getting it done with rebounding and defense. It's hard to see either's minutes going down to accommodate another guard - in fact Ochefu's minutes are already down compared to last season. We got our first glimpse of the issue of size against Towson, as at times 'Nova struggled to find success in the rebounding department, so it's a dangerous argument to advocate for less time for the few frontliners we have.

So what does Jay Wright do? How does Dylan Ennis fit into this team upon his return from injury? Is he added to the guard rotation, thereby decreasing the minute distribution there, or does Jay Wright go all-in on the small-ball approach?