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2015 Villanova Basketball Preview: Phil Booth

The Wildcats will need increased production from Booth, and the sophomore guard is ready to answer the call.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Hometown: Baltimore, MD

High School: Mouth Saint Joseph

Height: 6'3"

Weight: 185

Last year, Phil Booth put together a quietly brilliant 2014-15 season. For Booth, his offensive mindset wasn't about stuffing the stat sheet; instead, Booth's efficiency allowed him to play meaningful minutes throughout the season, the Big East Tournament, and the NCAA Tournament.

"It'll be tough to do that again," Booth said regarding his 56% field goal shooting percentage last season. "It's not my intention to shoot that well. I just try to play and I'll take the shots when they come my way."

Booth also shot 49% from beyond the arc and 74% from the free throw line. These splits look like that of a season, low-post scoring big man, not a perimeter-oriented freshman guard like Booth.

While his efficiency will likely decrease, Booth's overall production should increase. With the departures of both Darrun Hilliard and Dylan Ennis, there is an open starting job alongside Ryan Arcidiacono in the backcourt. Booth knows he can be the man to fill this hole in the lineup.For the ever calm, smooth Booth, he can flourish alongside any lineup and any guard position.

"It doesn't matter," Booth said. "We all play well together, so either position works."

Every year, there seems to be a different Wildcat who steps into the spotlight and shines. We saw it last year with Josh Hart, and the year before with James Bell. Villanova's "next man up" attitude primes younger players to fit seamlessly into larger roles, following after their role models.

Booth's business-like attitude to improving his game and high basketball IQ make him an ideal pick for one of Villanova's most improved players. He will get more touches, more minutes, and, inevitably, increased productivity along the perimeter

Best-case scenario: Booth steps into the starting role and averages double-digits. He also emerges as a go-to offensive option and improves his defense enough to play the third guard in a four guard offense.

Worst-case scenario: Booth remains a seventh-eighth man and loses a bit of his efficiency while not making a significant leap in productivity.

The Wisdom of Crowds Returns

We are pleased to bring back our Wisdom of Crowds poll for the 2015-16 season. In this series, we ask you to consider the points covered in our player preview to supplement your own personal insight and instincts to predict the points per game each scholarship player on the roster will score in the upcoming season.

Using history as a guide, here's a sample of scoring averages of former Villanova guards and wings during their freshmen campaigns:

Randy Foye: 13.5

Darrun Hilliard: 11.4

Ryan Arcidiacono: 9.9

Mike Nardi: 8.2

James Bell: 7.0