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How many “elite” players are on Villanova Basketball’s roster?

How many players on the 2018-19 are or will be in the upper echelon of college basketball?

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Happy Thursday Nova Nation! The Arizin took a day off yesterday and missed you all so much. Don’t worry, the links and I are back to once again discuss the news of the day concerning the Villanova Wildcats.

Yesterday I came across an article ranking the Top 50 players in college basketball this season. From Villanova the list included Jahvon Quinerly (33rd) and Eric Paschall (16th). While personally I would make the argument that Phil Booth should be included on that list, I think it’s a fair perception of the team in the preseason.

This team is currently falling more in the “sum is more than its parts” category of the 2016 Champions than last year’s elite squad that broke NCAA records en route to a dominant Championship run. Funny thing though, it turns out that 2016 team had a lot more elite talent than they were given credit for.

I’ll keep Donte DiVincenzo and Paschall out of the conversation for now as both were red shirting the majority of that season, but the 2016 Champions had far more high level talent than they were given credit for when they won it all. The team that was described as having “no NBA prospects”, had two first round picks, three draft picks, five players that have (or will have) played in the NBA, and seven players that were on an NBA G-League or Summer League team. Oh, and all that doesn’t include the Championship game’s leading scorer who’s back to lead the Wildcats again this year.

So looking forward in our Crystal Ball, who are the “elite” players currently being overlooked as just a part of the Villanova machine? As previously stated I’d put Phil Booth at the top of that list, but after that it becomes a lot more about potential and talent than proven track record.

For me there are three names that fall into this category: Jermaine Samuels, Cole Swider, and Brandon Slater. Samuels had a slow start to his college career, but has the talent to bounce back in his sophomore season. Cole Swider is a forward with a three point shot that will thrive in Jay Wright’s shoot first and ask questions later system. And Brandon Slater is the latest in a long line of athletic wings that have the size and speed to be huge difference makers at this level and the next.

Bottom line, don’t underestimate the 2018-19 Wildcats. If you do, you could be making the same foolish claims a lot of pundits did before Nova won another National Championship.

In other “news”, More academic success for the Wildcats, lots of recruiting news, and the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard of a basketball fan doing. Enjoy!

Top 50 Players for 2018-2019 Season | The Big Lead
Ranking the best players for the upcoming college basketball season.

Men's Basketball Earns BIG EAST Team Academic Excellence Award |
The BIG EAST Conference has announced its 2017-18 Team Academic Excellence Award winners and the Villanova Men's Basketball was honored with this distinction for the fourth time in the past five years.

Who are the favorites for the top 25 recruits in 2019? | Lexington Herald Leader
The recruitments of most of the top 25 basketball players in the 2019 class are likely to be settled over the next several weeks. Kentucky, Duke, Memphis, Indiana and Kansas are all in the mix for many of them.

UNC Basketball: Five-star SG Josh Green receives offer | Tar Heel Blog
The rising senior and five-star perimeter threat earns offer from UNC

10 takeaways from recruiting trail during July evaluation period | ESPN
New NCAA rules, Penny Hardaway's emergence and LeBron James were among the dominant storylines on the recruiting trail in July.

Which prospects stood out as future stars in Las Vegas? | ESPN ($)
College coaches were out in force last week for the high-profile hoop events in Las Vegas. Find out the players who made the biggest impressions.

Basketball fan allegedly impersonated employee in order to add Pac-12 Network to restaurant's cable package | Fox News
The 51-year-old was arrested and charged with felony identity theft for financial gain and unauthorized use of an entity’s identifying information.