VUHoops will be kicking off the 2018-19 Villanova Basketball season with an entire month of team coverage. Check in every day for new player previews, schedule breakdowns, team analysis, event recaps, and season predictions as we get closer to the first tip-off of the year!
In a world of college basketball where high school recruits are more and more often extending their recruitments into the winter of their senior years, combo-forward Cole Swider bucked this trend, announcing the Wildcats as his choice in the summer of 2017. The second member of Jay Wright’s ninth-ranked recruiting class after fellow forward Brandon Slater, Swider’s early signature provided a sense of security going into a season that was known pretty much from the start that fellow wing and eventual lottery pick, Mikal Bridges, would soon find himself a new home address. Along with Saddiq Bey, who we wrote about on Wednesday, getting three young forwards in the same class has proved vital ever since Donte DiVincenzo also left for the Association.
Profile and Stats: Cole Swider (FR)
Hometown: Providence, RI | High School: St. Andrews | Height: 6’9” | Weight: 210
Ranked the 44th best prospect in the 2018 class in the nation by 247Sports’ Composite rankings, Swider gained his share of the national spotlight for his proficiency behind the arc. His long and lanky frame projects potential, while it will definitely take plenty of work in the gym and the weight room, as both a plus defender and a more complete scorer. Although his sharpshooting was arguably his one calling card out of high school, it was an ace, as Wright and his staff pulled off a coup beating Duke, among other major programs, to the Rhode Island product’s signing. Look for him to earn plenty of minutes this season, regardless of how his defense and shot-creating profile progresses in the short-term.
Best Case Scenario: Swider steps onto the court in the Wildcats’ first game against Morgan State with polished off the ball movement and shooting ability that will make the Bridges sized hole in Jay Wright’s rotation a little less conspicuous. Giving Wright the flexibility to play him at the four while Eric Paschall rests—or when Paschall moves to the five and the ‘Cats play small-ball—Swider holds his own defensively against the larger fours he will encounter in the Big East, while more than making up for any deficiencies defensively with his ability to spread the floor and make defenses pay on offense.
Worst Case Scenario: Whether it is that his shooting does not translate as smoothly as everyone seems to believe it will, he’s simply not physically ready to handle college frontcourt defensive assignments, or a combination of both—Wright just can’t trust him in that role, severely limiting his playing time. He works off the court, supports his teammates, and regroups to get better for his sophomore year. Not every player can emerge fully formed as a freshman wunderkind right away, and that’s perfectly okay.
The Wisdom of Crowds
We are pleased to bring back our Wisdom of Crowds experiment for the 2018-2019 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.
How many points will Cole Swider average this season?
This poll is closed
4.0 or less
8.1 or more