It's mid-July, and the 'Nova-relevant news keeps pouring in. The pundits are beginning to tell us what we can expect next year from Villanova and the new Big East. There's lots of news on the basketball recruiting front with several 'Nova targets in action at the Nike Peach Jam. Randy Foye was traded to the Nuggets, Cory Fisher has surfaced in Siberia, Maalik Wayns is playing summer ball for the Clippers, while Mouph and Mo are strutting their stuff for the Warriors and Wizards, respectively. It's all here. Sit back and enjoy.
What to Expect from the Newest Wildcats ... inRecruit's Willy Annan writes, Villanova's three incoming freshman "All will at the least play complimentary roles in determining the success of the Villanova Wildcats this upcoming season. Darryl Reynolds success looks to be the most important as there is not a lot of depth at the center position and needs to be able to contribute immediately." Annan provides a best case and worst case scenario for each of the three. Ever the optimist, I will recap only the best case. Hat tip to Brian Ewart
- "Kris Jenkins, PF ... Comes in as a highly ranked but undersized PF. Best Case - Offensively, Jenkins transitions to the speed of the game effectively and is able to consistently hit 18 foot jumpers to stretch the floor as well as being able to develop post moves. Defensively, he proves that being undersized will not be an issue, he effectively battles and rebounds against the big men of the Big East as well as able to adequately guard opponents SF."
- "Josh Hart, SG/SF ... Scout.com writes, "Hart is only an average athlete and not the most aggressive defender in the country, but offensively he separates himself with his ability to play and his shot making." "Best Case Hart shows the versatility to play the 2, 3 and possibly even the 4, giving players like Hilliard, Bell, Pinkston a break. If Hart is able to shoot around 40% from deep, would give Villanova another consistent three point threat. Hart's toughness and motor and overall heart may allow Jay to throw it back to the days of the 4 guard O." [Editor's Note: Mr. Annan cautions that Hart had trouble academically at Sidwell, which could spell trouble at Villanova.]
- "Darryl Reynolds, PF/C ... ESPN report says "Reynolds is a physically gifted prospect with a tremendous basketball body. He has a long, athletic and chiseled frame with the muscle mass to bang inside the paint, the mobility to change ends and direction, and the athleticism to get his head on the rim to block shots." "Best Case - Reynolds role will be to come off the bench and be a serviceable back up to Daniel Ochefu. If Reynolds exceeds expectations, he could be the starting lineup due to matchups; with Reynolds at the 4 with Ochefu at the 5."
Same Name, but Not the Same... Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com ($) wrote an article saying about the new Big East, "The name just doesn't seem to fit anymore. The new-look Big East has 10 members, all with similar profiles that are centered around their basketball programs. This league is solid yet unspectacular with a handful of quality, fringe top-25 teams -- but none that you can envision as making a run to the sport's final weekend. One head coach said that he's worried about the league's perception now that its conference games won't be on ESPN. "No one's going to know our league," he said. "We won't get as many teams in the tourney. It's going to hurt with seeding, also." Goodman sees Villanova finishing at #4, behind Marquette, Creighton and Georgetown respectively. About Villanova, he writes, "Point guard Ryan Arcidiacono was a main reason for the team's success and now he has a season under his belt. The Wildcats also have leading scorer JayVaughn Pinkston back in the fold." Hat tip to Brian Ewart
100 Free Throws a Day ... Villanova Director of Media Relations, Mike Sheridan, reports, "As a new season beckons, Daniel Ochefu is preparing to step front and center as the only returning Wildcat taller than 6-7. "Last season wasn't an adjustment to play hard but I learned more about how important it is to play hard every second you are out there," Ochefu said. Here I see people who are just as big as I am or even bigger. If I'm not playing hard all the time, I am going to get exposed. "[With Mouph gone,] I have big shoes to fill. Mouph has a great attitude and is such a good rebounder. That's one of the things I have been working on in the off-season so that I can hopefully step up and do more. I'm still shooting 100 (free throws) a day," he stated. "It's getting a lot better. It's a matter of getting my rhythm down and getting comfortable."
What Was Jay Thinking? ... Here's a few noteworthy tweets from Jay Wright this week:
Congrats to Sixers on hire of @ScottONeil - bright, passionate and innovative leader - loves Philly!— Jay Wright (@VUCoachJWright) July 9, 2013
Big East on Yes ... The Associated Press reports, "The YES Network, the Yankees' cable channel, has an agreement with the Big East to televise up to 10 basketball games from the reborn basketball-focused conference that includes Georgetown, Villanova and Butler. YES will also televise up to 10 Atlantic Coast Conference football games and as many as 23 ACC men's basketball games this season."
Tim Delaney Still Growing ... Andrew Albert of the Philadelphia Daily News writes, Jay Wright seems to have a formula for convincing the best players in the area to play for Villanova. Wright struck again in June when he got a verbal commitment from Pitman (N.J.) High School junior forward Tim Delaney. "When I went up there, I just felt like I really connected with the coaching staff and the players," Delaney said. "They are all great guys. I just felt really at home. My family also is very important to me. So being close to them was very important to me." Delaney's AAU coach Terrell Myers said, "He's a big guy that can open up the floor. He's probably [going to be] 6-foot-9, 6-foot-10, could easily be 6-foot-11, with the ability to shoot the ball from the outside that can open it up the guards, and he can make plays for people. The kid really knows the game. Also, he really brings a high basketball IQ."
Bridges Critiques His Game ... Alec Kinsky of D1 Circuit writes, "On June 25th, SF Mikal Bridges gave a verbal commitment to Jay Wright and the Villanova Wildcats. His decision marked the end to a rapid rise for Bridges, who was relatively under the radar before the EYBL season started. Bridges says the strongest aspects of his game are finishing at the rim and shooting. During the upcoming year, he looks to improve his ball-handling. He has modeled his game on NBA star, Kevin Durant."
Bentil Visits Philly ... VUHoops' Chris Lane reported that Villanova target Ben Bentil was at Philadelphia University this week for the Reebok Classic Breakout. "Bentil was much more involved in the AM on the second day, going 6-14 from the floor to finish with 13 points, 10 rebounds and 1 block."
Kentucky in the Mix for Jones ... Tyler Tynes of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that another Villanova target, Archbishop Carroll's Derrick Jones, also attended the Reebok Classic Breakout this week. "The 6-foot-6 small forward said that Kentucky has joined the long list of schools offering him a scholarship. The others are Villanova, Kansas, Kansas State, Saint Joseph's, Maryland and Syracuse. He is ranked the nation's 16th best player in the junior class by ESPN." "I don't know where I want to play yet, I'm more focused on school and basketball," said Jones."
Geben Shifts Focus to Recruitment ... Alex Prewitt of the Washington Post writes about Villanova target, 6-8 "bulky banger" Martin Geben, "With bronze medal in tow [playing for the Lithuanian under-19 national team in FIBA world championships], Geben now turns attention to Peach Jam in Augusta, S.C., the nation's premier AAU tournament. Geben averaged 5.9 points and 5.1 rebounds over nine games and five starts for Lithuania, shooting 55.6 percent from the field. Considered a stretch-four prototype with solid interior strength, the St. Maria Goretti rising senior has narrowed his list down from 17 schools to four: Maryland, Notre Dame, Villanova and Virginia, in no particular order."
‘Nova Early Favorite for Alkins? ... inRecruit reports, "Class of 2016 shooting guard Rawle Alkins out of Christ the King High School in Brooklyn, NY, seems to be developing a good relationship with Villanova and their coaching staff. Alkins tweeted "My Man Coach Jay Wright Is the Man." Alkins already holds offers from Villanova and Fordham, with interest from several other top programs including Kentucky."
My Man Coach Jay Wright Is The Man pic.twitter.com/n3DrqDqnQA— Rawle Alkins (@Iam_RawleAlkins) July 10, 2013
Wright Looking Over Clover? ... Tyler Tynes of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes, "Chris Clover was among 120 prospects at this week's Reebok Classic Breakout. Not many coaches or scouts knew about Clover in March, when he was a sophomore playing behind two Division I prospects at St. Joseph's Prep. But Coach Speedy Morris thinks that will change in Clover's junior season. It's his time to break out. Clover finished his sophomore season averaging 9 points and 4.6 rebounds for the Hawks. He said he has been contacted by Drexel, Temple, and Villanova."
Nike EYBL Peach Jam ... VUHoops' Chris Lane is keeping a close watch on 'Nova commit Mikal Bridges and top targets Ja'Quan Newton, Phil Booth and Robert Johnson in action at the Nike Peach Jam. Click HERE for the latest updates.
Cat on Buck Buchanan Award Short List ... The Press of Atlantic City reports, "Antoine Lewis' senior season with the Villanova University football team doesn't begin until next month, but the defensive lineman is earning attention. The 6-2, 290 pound Lewis, a nose tackle and Wildcats team captain, is among 20 seniors nationwide who were named to the preseason Buck Buchanan Award Watch List. The Buchanan Award is given annually to the top defensive player from a Football Championship Subdivision, or FCS, program. Villanova opens the 2013 season on Aug. 31 at Boston College."
Men's Soccer ... Villanova.com reports, "The Villanova Wildcats first trip through the new look BIG EAST Conference highlights the 2013 Men's Soccer schedule announced today. The Wildcats, who tied a program record for wins in 2012 with a 12-6-2 mark, will open the 2013 regular season on the road at the University of New Mexico on Friday, Aug. 30."
Pavilion Good for Something ... Andrew Albert of the Philadelphia Daily News reports, "The Pavilion at Villanova had some star power on the court for the first time since March. The hardwood was replaced by a tennis surface, and 2003 U.S. Open champion Andy Roddick took the court for the Springfield Lasers against the Philadelphia Freedoms in a World Team Tennis match." [Editor's Note: The Freedoms play all seven of their home matches at the Pavilion. The next match is on July 16 against the Washington Kastles.]
Mouph a Warrior, Mo a Wizard... VUHoops' Chris Lane reported that "former Villanova Wildcats front-liner Mouphtaou Yarou has landed his first real shot at an NBA roster after being invited to the Golden State Warriors minicamp. The Warriors are definitely a little thin on the frontline after the injury to Festus Ezeli and Dwayne Jones' lack of production and so the offer to give Yarou a chance to impress makes sense. Former Villanova reserve, Mo Sutton is getting a shot with the Washington Wizards."
Foye a Mile High ... VUHoops' Brian Ewart reported that former Villanova great, Randy Foye, was part of a complicated multiplayer trade that sends Foye from Utah to Denver. Foye will sign a three-year deal worth $3 million per year. "Foye fits the Nuggets' need for a three-point threat, shooting 41% from the perimeter last season, and his ability to handle the ball will fit well in that offense." Denver will be his fifth NBA team, following stints in Minnesota, Washington, Los Angeles Clippers and Utah. Over his career, he has averaged 27 MPG, 11.5 PPG (41% FG%, 38% 3P%, 86% FT%), 2.2 RPG, 3.0 APG, 0.8 SPG and 1.6 SPG. The Denver Post's Chris Dempsey quotes Foye stating, "I take pride in being able to guard, being able to shoot the ball. Being able to handle the ball, guard multiple positions, and just make an impact on the floor. That's something that I try to do whenever I'm out there - guarding the best person and knocking down 3s. Whatever it takes to win."
Kyle Joins Malik ... Khareem Cabey of CMVLive reports that two former Villanova greats, Kyle Lowry and Malik Allen have joined forces at inRecruit sports network. VUHoops' Brian Ewart reported earlier this week that inRecruit is a new platform developed by Malik Allen and Joe Rocco, also is a Villanova alumnus, that is promising to change the way college coaches recruit. Mr. Ewart writes, "inRecruit brings together coaches from college, high school, and AAU as well as athletes, media and fans to create a digital recruiting platform that they hope will change the way recruiting works." Commenting on his decision to join up with Messrs. Allen and Rocco, Kyle Lowry said, "InRecruit is a game changer. I believe inRecruit will have the same effect on recruiting that LinkedIn has had on job searches." VUHoops readers are can join inRecruit for free to follow their favorite prospects by clicking HERE. Hat tip to Brian Ewart
Tammadge Competing in Russia ... Rick Simpson reports on Villanova.com that ‘Nova graduate "Roxy Tammadge is competing in the World University Games for her native South Africa for the second straight Universiade, with this year's event being held in Kazan, Russia. Tammadge will be competing in four individual freestyle events, beginning with the preliminaries of the 1500 meters on Friday morning. She will also compete in the 200, 400 and 800 meter freestyle events."
Maalik's Summer Plans ... Arash Markazi of ESPN reports, "The Los Angeles Clippers began the 2013 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas on Friday and announced their 14-man roster on Monday. The squad will include Clippers 2013 first-round draft pick Reggie Bullock; DaJuan Summers and Maalik Wayns, who were on the Clippers last season."
Fish in Siberia ... VUHoops' MikeJ reports, "former Villanova guard Cory Fisher has signed with BC Yenisey Kransnoyarsk in the Russian SuperLeague." Eurobasket News adds, "Fisher last played at FIATC Joventut Badalona in Spain, averaging 13.8 ppg, 2.1 rpg and 2.7 apg. The prior year, he played at Antalya Buyuksehir Belediye in the Turkish league, averaging 17.2 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 4.4 apg and 1.1 spg and was named to Eurobasket's All-Turkish League Honorable Mention and to the All-Star Game.
LAX Alumni News ... Villanova.com reports, "Two former 'Nova lacrosse standoutts, Brian Karalunas '11 and Kevin Cunningham '12, have been named Major League Lacrosse All-Stars and participated in the annual All-Star contest on Saturday at 7 PM and aired live on ESPN2.
Kennedy to Help SMU Challenge in AAC ... EJ Holland of Sports Day DFW reports, "There are schools capable of challenging the defending national champion Louisville Cardinals in the AAC this year. Jason King of ESPN.com says Memphis and Connecticut are Louisville's biggest competitors but labels SMU as a ‘fringe challenger. "If Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown gets this group to jell quickly, this could be the best season for Mustangs basketball in recent memory," King wrote." But the Mustangs have an influx of talent headlined by Dallas Kimball's Keith Frazier plus Villanova transfer Markus Kennedy, Illinois State transfer Nic Moore, Illinois transfer Crandall Head and the top-ranked junior college big man in Yanick Moreira as well as true freshmen Sterling Brown and Ben Moore."
Butler after Brad ... Nicholas Fries of inRecruit writes, "Should college basketball recruits look any differently at Butler basketball now that Brad Stevens is gone? No. The Butler Bulldogs have risen to national prominence in recent years, but the program has been successful for a long time. Since 1990, Butler has been run by four different coaches, and every one of those coaches instilled a standard of success and winning tradition. From 1990-2000, Barry Collier was the head of the basketball program, and he ended his tenure in 2000 with a 196-132 final record. For the 2000-2001 season, Thad Matta took over the program, and earned a 24-8 record. The last coach before Stevens was Todd Lickliter, who led the Bulldogs to a 131-61 record, from 2001-2007. Finally, Brad Stevens coached Butler from 2007-2013, and ended with a 166-49 record. As you can tell from these records, this standard of success has been achieved, and it is that standard that continues to attract talented recruits to this mid-major program." Hat tip to Brian Ewart
Butler Players Stick ... Zac Keefer of the Indianapolis Star writes, "The Butler men's basketball team stayed in the family for Brad Stevens' successor. Brandon Miller's appointment as coach Saturday was exactly what the Bulldog players wanted - a former player and current assistant at the school, someone familiar with Butler's culture. "As far as I know, everyone will be back," said junior guard Alex Barlow. "Everyone that I have talked to is thrilled for Coach Miller."
Louisville's Ware Doing Well ... Associated Press reports that "Louisville guard Kevin Ware could be back on the court by October. Ware, of course, suffered a horrific compound leg fracture during Louisville's regional final victory over Duke and his injury became a rallying point for the Cardinal's run to their third NCAA title. "Rick Pitino said he's encouraged by Ware's rehabilitation, which has included riding a stationary bicycle."
Ennis get a new tattoo...