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What If Wednesday: What If Daniel Ochefu can extend his game?

In the Blue-White Scrimmage we saw Ochefu confidently take and make shots from mid-range. Can we expect more of this in his Senior year?

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

I don't know how it happens.  Maybe it's something in the water?  Could it be a result of deep meditation?  I bet it's downloaded into their brains like in the Matrix.

Whatever the reason, it seems that every time the featured big of a Villanova team enters his senior season, he magically learns how to shoot and make 15 to 20 foot jump shots.  If what we saw three or four times in the Blue-White Scrimmage is for real, Daniel Ochefu seems to be carrying on this tradition.

That brings us to this week's question: What if Ochefu can shoot from mid-range? It's a huge addition to his bag-o-tricks if it's for real, but is one inter-squad scrimmage enough proof to believe in?  Let's look at the facts.  Villanova's coaching staff has a track record of developing this skill in their bigs late in their careers (see Bump, Cunningham, and Mouph).  Also, Ochefu has shown a talent for developing his game (2014 Co-Big East Most Improved Player).  But the most important factor is confidence, and he's got tons of it.

Ochefu is coming off another terrific offensive season.  He drastically increased his minutes (up 127), points (up 139), and FG percentage (up 5%).  This improved performance, along with encouragement from teammates and coaches, gives him the confidence that all elite level big men have to step away from the paint and expand their range.  If Ochefu really has made the next step, then the individual and team rewards will be immediate.

Ochefu was already a handful down low, but now he would become a mismatch for larger centers that couldn't cover him in and out of the paint.  Even those that could get out to him would most likely have difficulty effecting the jump shot of a guy who's 6'11.  If the NBA wasn't already considering him as a legit prospect, this would certainly put him on a lot of teams radars.

As great as the extended range would be at the individual level, would it matter in Villanova's offensive scheme?  It could be viewed both ways.

Ochefu will likely play most of his minutes as the only true forward on the court for the Wildcats.  One side of the argument is that his presence as a rebounder and his ability to pass and finish in the paint would be lost if he was spending more time away from the basket.  With the amount of 3's Nova takes, it's also important to have a presence on the offensive glass. Others would suggest that with him clearing the lane, slashers like Hart, Brunson, Bridges, and DiVincenzo would find less resistance in the paint.  Adding an additional shooter would only make things more difficult for the opposing defense.

I think that no matter how you slice it, Ochefu rounding out his game can only be a positive for Villanova this season.  But more importantly, what do you think?  Is the new mid-range Ochefu for real?  Is it more important for Villanova to have a presence in the paint?  What effect could this have on his stats or draft status?

Thanks for reading, and be sure to leave your comments below!