With about three months to go until the start of basketball season, the Villanova Wildcats got a boost of energy to help them through the dog days of summer.
Phil Booth, the Wildcats’ top scorer in the 2016 national championship game against North Carolina, has been cleared for all basketball activities—according to Jon Rothstein of CBS and FanRag Sports.
Villanova"s Phil Booth (knee) has been fully cleared for all basketball activities, per Jay Wright.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) August 2, 2017
It has been a long road to becoming healthy for Booth, who underwent a successful arthroscopic knee surgery one month after his key performance in the national championship game.
What was supposed to originally be a six to eight-week recovery, became much more than that.
He returned for the 2016-17 season, cracking Villanova’s starting lineup as Ryan Arcidiacono’s replacement. Unfortunately, his knee issues resurfaced and became apparent, as he didn’t seem like himself out on the court.
Booth played in Villanova’s first three games of the season, averaging 5.7 points per game and 2.0 points per game.
He would sit out in attempt to rest and heal his knee, but little would anyone know, his appearance in the Nov. 17 clash with Western Michigan would be his final game of the season. His knee became a growing concern with each passing game and an indefinite return date.
Now, it seems like those concerns have been put to rest. Booth’s return adds another point guard in Jay Wright’s backcourt arsenal. With Booth, the Wildcats now have four players—including Jalen Brunson, Donte DiVincenzo, and incoming freshman Collin Gillespie—who can facilitate the offense and run the floor as a playmaker.
In 2015-16, Booth’s last complete season, he averaged 7.0 points per game, 2.1 assists per game, and shot 36.8 percent as a weapon off the bench.
He will be able to contribute to a Wildcat squad looking to repeat as Big East regular season and tournament champions, as well as build on a 32-4 campaign.