A friend of mine recently revealed to me that he almost transferred from Villanova half way through his freshman year. He hadn't found his "niche" at the university yet, his classes weren't engaging, he didn't get along with his roommate, and the first three months of college life just hadn't lived up to the hype. Bottom line, he needed a change.
This isn't uncommon for students at a new school, or even a year or two in. Whether it's home sickness, not fitting in, or realizing that Villanova is just too good for you so you decide to transfer to the clearly inferior Georgetown (looking at you Bradley Cooper). Sometimes the best thing for everyone is for the student to move on. Villanova Basketball is no exception.
Over the last several years, some Freshman and Sophomore Wildcats have decided for a myriad of reasons that Villanova wasn't the right school for them (Kennedy, Johnson, Brzoja, Yacoubou). And so, we reach today's question: What if a player transferred this season? And more importantly, whose departure would have the greatest impact?
For today's article we'll limit the players we're looking at to freshmen and sophomores, even though Ennis showed us last season that it's never too late to hit it and quit it. We'll also assume that they would decide to transfer mid-season, so the effect would be immediate. Because of that, we'll leave Paschall out of the discussion. So with the parameters set, let's take a look at why each player would leave and what the impact would be.
Reason for leaving: After a phenomenal rookie season, Booth is getting passed up for a starting spot. On a roster that's starting four guards. One of which is a Freshman. I've seen people transfer for less.
Impact this season: 4 out of 5. The 6th man is very important to Jay's system, especially when it's a ball handler. I'll knock a point off because it is the deepest position on the team, but Booth is going to be a huge part of Villanova's game plan for this season.
Reason for leaving: Bridges came to Villanova to be a dominant 2/3 guard. But due to the Wildcats lack of front court depth, he's forced into playing the 4, where he struggles. That and being close enough to home for his mom to show up unannounced every Friday night is enough to have him looking elsewhere.
Impact this season: 3 out of 5. Bridges is a candidate for break-out player of the year, especially on the defensive end. The Wildcats were relying on his ability to defend stretch 3's and 4's to help with the loss of Delaney. Throw in his miss-match potential on the offensive end, and Villanova (and his mom) would surely miss him this season.
Reason for leaving: While Philadelphia is called the city of brotherly love, it doesn't always have that reputation. For a mid-west guy trying to follow in his father's footsteps, it's just all a little too much for Illinois' Mr. Basketball. OK, it's a huge stretch, he won't transfer, but go with me on this.
Impact this season: 4 out of 5. It's never easy to replace a starter, especially not one with the skills of Brunson. Again, it's a deep position and Booth is ready to step up. But without Brunson, Villanova's talent pool and overall perception takes a huge hit.
Reason for leaving: It becomes apparent pretty early on that Brunson and Booth have an undeniable chemistry and neither is going anywhere anytime soon. Not only is Donte not getting playing time, but if he wants a chance to start in future seasons and have pro scouts see his skills, it's going to need to be somewhere else.
Impact this season: 2 out of 5. DiVincenzo gives Villanova depth at the guard position and he's athletic enough to guard larger players. But he wasn't going to make or break the season. We'd HATE to see him go, but it could be worse.
Reason for leaving: With his spirits already low due to the injury, it turns out Villanova just isn't the right fit for him. It happens, and he leaves on good terms with the coaching staff.
Impact this season: 1 out of 5. Delaney wasn't going to play this season due to injury, so nothing additional lost there. On top of that, next year's class has two incoming forwards. Delaney will be a great player for Nova next season, but we had already lost him this year (and that hurt!).
Now that we've covered all of the candidates, whose departure would have the biggest impact on this season? Who would be the biggest loss for future seasons? And who would you just hate to see transfer? Leave your thoughts, ideas, and comments below, and thanks for reading!