Nnanna Njoku’s career stats
Hometown: Newark, Delaware
High School: Sanford School
Nnanna Njoku Player Preview
Villanova’s offseason contained headlines from a plethora of players – the return of Justin Moore & Eric Dixon, an influx of high-level transfers, Armstrong’s U-19 USA Basketball tournament, and even Hausen going viral for his scorching shooting streak.
One player, Nnanna Njoku – the 2021 Delaware Gatorade Player of the Year, didn’t appear in those headlines. Until a few weeks ago, he largely wasn’t mentioned in many Villanova season previews.
His absence in headlines has been due to an unfortunate series of injuries throughout the last two years – a concussion his freshman year, and a foot injury last season which resulted in only 13 appearances on the court. Njoku ultimately redshirted last year as well.
However, when Kyle Neptune’s squad suited up for the Blue-White Scrimmage earlier this month – Nnanna looked like someone who deserves to be in those season preview conversations. He was physically imposing in the paint, held his own on the glass, and simply showed he’s going to be in the rotation this year.
Nova Nation later learned that the glimpse we saw during the scrimmage was no fluke, not by a long shot. Nnanna was the highlight of Villanova Media day last week – receiving universal praise from all parties. VUHoops’s Tommy Godin even dedicated a section named “Man of the Hour” solely for Njoku in his Media Day notebook.
Media Day included quotes from Njoku, Eric Dixon, and Kyle Neptune:
Dixon: “I’m just so proud of him, taking the game more seriously over the summer. Watching him go from a high school kid to a college basketball player, that’s a big leap that not a lot of people realize, not a lot of people reach, so that was great.”
Njoku: “Over the summer I gave myself the best chance possible, lost a lot of weight, stayed healthy, just honestly came out with a hungry mindset…I turned to my faith and my family. Everyday on the phone with Father Rob, with my mom, trying to figure things out mentally, trying to stay motivated.”
Neptune: “He just has that physical presence you just go in there and bounce off of him at time. . . it’s good to have that guy in our practice and we think he can carry that over to games as well.”
Nnanna’s physicality will be welcomed this year as the best conference in college basketball is loaded with opposing front court players. While Eric Dixon is more than capable of handling the league’s best, adding depth will only make the Cats stronger as they progress through the gauntlet of Big East play.
What’s his outlook for this season?
Honestly, it’s very tough to tell. Most fans (like myself) and analysts have little to no idea of how things are looking within the Davis Center, behind closed doors. Layer in the fact that we didn’t see Lance Ware of Jordann Dumont during the Blue-White scrimmage, we still haven’t seen how the whole roster looks at once.
But…….based on Nnanna’s on-court performance from the scrimmage and the insights from Media Day (I’m weighing this data piece the heaviest), Njoku seems primed for a role in the rotation.
Best Case Scenario: Njoku is a vital piece in rotation, proving to be the primary backup PF/C which gives Villanova one of their most well-rounded teams in recent memory. Nnanna averages 10-15 minutes a game, is a bruising force against Big East opponents, and make tremendous in-season strides while earning valuable experience in post season play. A breakout 2023-2024 season vaults Nnanna into the starting lineup next season.
Worst Case Scenario: Despite a successful summer, Njoku has difficulty finding consistent playing time due to depth and experience of the roster. Dixon, Ware, and Burton eat up the lion share of minutes, which leaves little for the remaining front court depth. Nova Nation is left to wait another season for Nnanna’s true breakout year.
How many points per game will Njoku average this season?
This poll is closed
10.1 or higher