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2016 Villanova Basketball Season Preview: Phil Booth

Coming off a career performance in the National Championship, Booth is ready to step into a starting role.

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Hometown: Baltimore, MD

High School: Mount Saint Joseph (Baltimore, MD)

Height: 6'3"

Weight: 195

Career Stats

SEASON TEAM MIN FGM-FGA FG% 3PM-3PA 3P% FTM-FTA FT% REB AST BLK STL PF TO PTS

2015-16

NOVA
21.9
2.2-6.1 36.8% 1-3.1 31.7% 1.6-1.8 87.7%
2.1
2.1
0.1 0.8 1.9
1.4

7.0

Player Preview

Booth is coming off the performance of his career (and possibly his lifetime) where he scored a team high 20 points to help his team bring home a National Championship.  What makes that even more impressive is understanding that Booth had been playing through a lingering knee injury that had been hampering him all season.  It was serious enough to require off-season surgery, but now he's 100% recovered and ready for the upcoming season.

And he'll need his health this year, because Booth is about to step into a starting role for the first time in his Wildcat career.  Phil will be a true combo guard this season as the starting shooting guard, but also backing up Jalen Brunson at the point guard position.  It's a lot to ask of a first time starter, but Booth has shown the poise and talent in just his first two seasons to handle both jobs.

Last season, Booth was part of the 1-2 punch off the bench for the Wildcats that also included Mikal Bridges.  While Bridges was more of a defensive specialist, Booth proved to be an asset on both ends of the court.  Now that he says he's healthier than any point last season, his game should be even better.  On offense, he's able to create his own shot on the perimeter or drive past defenders to the basket, where he finishes well in traffic.  With the number of offensive weapons Villanova has this season, he should also see a boost in his assist numbers as well.

On defense, Booth's speed and quick first step allow him to put pressure on opposing ball handlers without getting beaten off the dribble.  He's also put considerable work into his rebounding this off-season, and both in practices and in scrimmages its been noted that he can get right up in there with the big guys to contest for rebounds.

Despite being in the "shooting guard" position, I wouldn't be surprised if Booth's contributions fluctuate with game flow and team needs.  He has the offensive fire power to take over a game and score in bunches, but he also has the handle and court vision to create for his teammates.  Regardless of which column his stats are showing up in, you can be sure that Booth will be a major contributor to Villanova's success this season.

Best Case Scenario: With a healthy knee, Booth's shooting efficiency returns to the numbers we saw in his freshman season despite seeing increased minutes. With the focus teams need to put on Hart and Jenkins, Booth becomes one of Villanova's go to scorers and finishes the season second in scoring.  On the other end of the court, he cements himself as a shut down defender that can cover any opposing guard.

Worse Case Scenario: Booth's numbers don't snap back to where they were before last seasons injury, and while he does have a handful of games as Nova's top scoring option, he finishes the season outside the Top 5 in scoring.  But he still is an effective starter and finds other ways to contribute, namely assists, rebounds, and steals.

The Wisdom of Crowds Returns

We are pleased to bring back our Wisdom of Crowds experiment for the 2016-2017 season. In this series, we ask that you consider the points covered in our player preview to supplement your own personal insights and instincts to predict the points per game each scholarship player on the roster we score in the upcoming season.