I'll be subbing in for Tyler today on the player grades, as he was unable to view yesterday's game - something about mountains. Fair play, as it looked like a struggle for a good deal of the VU Hoops community yesterday to find proper coverage, given the Villanova Athletic Department's incorrect information that was given not once, but twice to the general public.
If you did miss the game, Villanova stomped DePaul 88-62 behind a vintage second half performance from...well from just about everybody. The defense ratcheted up a notch and Jay Wright used his depth to run the Blue Demons into the ground. It was beautiful.
But let's look at each of the 'Cats individually and how well or poorly they played. Despite getting in late, Darryl Reynolds and Nick McMahon will not be included in these grades.
Note: Player's are graded on a scale of 1-10 and given a letter grade as follows
F (below 6.5)
JayVaughn Pinkston, 21 minutes, 2-5 from the field, 4-4 from FT, 8 points/3 rebounds/0 turnovers/1 block, (Grade: 7.3/10 | C):
Positives: The zero turnovers in his stat line was the biggest thing to stand out after a four turnover performance at Madison Square Garden last week, and on a couple of occasions Pinkston passed out of a double-team to find a wide open teammate. A perfect performance from the charity stripe was also nice to see.
Negatives: Just not his night? Only 21 minutes despite not battling foul trouble, and he did force a couple of shots down low when there was definitely a better decision to be had. DePaul's frontline did a good job of forcing Pinkston away from the basket, and Pinkston didn't have much of an answer when called to find other ways to get his offense.
Daniel Ochefu, 29 minutes, 6-for-6 from the field, 2-for-3 from FT, 14 points/6 rebounds/4 assists/3 blocks/0 turnovers, (Grade: 9.9/10 | A+):
Positives: Easily the best game of his young Villanova career, and his confidence continues to grow by game. No turnovers, 4 assists, and a perfect shooting day from the field? That would have been enough for him to get a high mark from me, but he also stayed completely out of foul trouble (just one for the game) which allowed him to log 29 minutes, second best on the team. He had the commenters raving, and rightfully so. He also inspired this guy, who wins all our love:
He has the best fans!!! 🏀😆 @DanielOchefu23 pic.twitter.com/18xN9mjRe9— Kelli Blue (@I_am_Kelli) January 19, 2014
Negatives: One missed free throw is all I can point to, otherwise it would have been a perfect 10 for Chef.
James Bell, 29 minutes, 6-for-9 from the field, 2-for-2 FT, 3-for-5 3PT, 17 points/8 rebounds/3 assists/1 turnover, (Grade: 9.3/10 | A):
Positives: You weren't really worried Tahj might have lost his mojo, were you? And what's funny to me at least, is that other than a quick three-point barrage in the second half, I thought it was a really quiet game from the senior. But he did exactly what we needed and was right in the thick of things as we blew out DePaul after the break. He shot the ball well and efficiently, grabbed loose boards, and maybe most importantly, stayed on the foul despite the plethora of athletes Oliver Purnell was putting on the floor. He's back in the right mindset for Creighton.
Negatives: Bell forced a couple of shots early as he tried to find his feet, and was burned (along with several teammates) on bad rotations in the first half when DePaul was getting easy hoops.
Darrun Hilliard, 23 minutes, 4-for-12 from the field, 2-for-4 FT, 1-for-7 3PT, 11 points/3 rebounds/3 assists/2 steals/2 turnovers, (Grade: 6.9 | D+):
Positives: He once again did some pretty good work on the defensive end, which was nice to see as he battles through this shooting slump, but other than a few made shots very late in the game (sign of things to come?), it was a pretty forgettable outing.
Negatives: Shooters shoot their way out of slumps, but Hilliard took a page from Arch's book in this one, consistently firing up 3s early in the shot clock, and sometimes even right after an offensive rebound by a teammate. His minutes correctly went down once Jay realized it wasn't his night.
Ryan Arcidiacono, 31 minutes, 6-for-12 from the field, 2-for-7 3PT, 14 points/1 rebound/3 assists/1 turnover/1 steal (Grade: 8.2/10 | B-):
Positives: Is it just me, or is Arch lethal from directly inside the arc (as Corollary pointed out, he's better there than at the rim)? Ryan, along with Ochefu, carried the Wildcats offensively throughout a sluggish first half, and that 3-1 A/T ratio is what we want to see from him all season. He was consistently one of the only players back quickly when DePaul tried to run after we made a basket.
Negatives: I know he has the green light, but once again Arch forced up a few really stupid shots, including one on the fast break from beyond NBA territory with no teammates under the hoop. That was yank-him-off-the-floor worthy. He also ran a couple of fast breaks very poorly, picking the wrong teammate twice. Simple decisions like that can't be missed.
Josh Hart, 22 minutes, 5-for-7 from the field, 3-for-5 3PT, 13 points/5 rebounds/2 steals/1 assist, (Grade: 9.0/10 | A-):
Positives: If he isn't the Big East's Rookie of the Year, something is wrong. Another really impressive showing in somewhat limited minutes today for what he probably deserved. Hart was geat from the field, shooting it from deep, and on the glass. Adding two steals at the top of the key was pleasant too. Exactly what we want from him.
Negatives: Two things kept him away from an A+ yesterday. No free throw attempts was probably an aberration, but for a player so good moving towards the hoop, it was an oddity. The more important ding was a dustup with Brandon Young late with the game in-hand that resulted in a Flagrant 1 (warranted) and an additional technical for jawing (probably not warranted). Love his hustle and grit, but he needs to be careful going forward to not cross the line.
Kris Jenkins, 12 minutes, 1-for-1 from the field, 0-for-0 3PT, 0-for1 FT, 5 points/3 rebounds/0 fouls/0 assists/0 steals, (Grade: 7.3/10 | C):
Positives: Not much court time, but his one big play came on a big offensive rebound and putback in the sluggish first half. I thought he could have played a bit more.
Negatives: His foul was a result of bad positioning underneath, but that is sometimes expected in a freshmen's game.
Tony Chennault, 13 minutes, 1-for-1 from the field, 3-for-4 FT, 5 points/2 assists/1 turnover, (Grade: 7.9/10 | C+):
Positives: Not enough minutes for Tony to really make a big impact. He again ran the offense to satisfaction, but never was really allowed to get into a consistent flow. He hit a long jumper late in the game when the shot clock was running down.
Negatives: Not enough minutes held him out of the B range, and his lone turnover wasn't pretty.
Dylan Ennis, 14 minutes, 0-for-3 from the field, 3-for-3 FT, 0-for-2 3PT, 3 points/3 rebounds/3 assists/0 steals/3 fouls, (Grade: 8.2/10 | B-):
Positives: Despite struggling shooting, he didn't let it affect his point guard duties, still handing out three dimes on the day. Provided so needed defensive intensity too when DePaul's quick guards were penetrating at will.
Negatives: A blank outing from the field hurts the most here, as Ennis' game is built on energy and instant-offense for this Villanova team. Like his fellow reserves, probably not enough time to really get in a groove.
Head Coach Jay Wright (Grade: 9.1/10 | A-):
Positives: Despite my opinion above that some of the reserves didn't get enough minutes, Wright's subbing patterns were beautiful in this game, especially after halftime. He gets big points for adjusting his strategy at the half. He started with a soft press meant to just slow DePaul down, and then turned the press up and decided to use his bench and run the short-handed Blue Demons off the court. His insistence on continuing to trust and feed Ochefu is starting to pay him back tenfold.
Negatives: The reliance on Arcidiacono isn't going away any time soon, but in a blowout game where both Pinkston and Hilliard's minutes went way down, Wright has to find more minutes for Tony Chennault and Kris Jenkins. Chennault continues to do everything he's asked and does it pretty well, while Jenkins needs the game-time to develop and learn the system.
- DePaul vs. Villanova recap: Ochefu's big day keeps the 'Cats out of danger
- Big East schedule a burden for teams seeking NCAA glory
- Jay Wright on Creighton's Doug McDermott: "He's the best player in the country"
- Correction to Mark Clements story
- Villanova basketball recruiting roundup: Phil Booth gets his revenge