With the absence of Mouphtaou Yarou, Wildcat fans rest the power forward-center position on JayVaughn Pinkston's shoulders. The 6-7, 260 lbs Brooklyn native started the season with a bang, leading the team in scoring for some time with 17 PPG. While his scoring dropped a bit during conference play, his efficiency improved drastically from last season.
Here's how Pinkston compared to his preseason predictions:
What was expected
An offseason battle with MRSA sent a chill through our spines, as the severity of the injury could have been in question. When those rumors dispersed, Pinkston came ready to play, eager to take on the role of leading rebounder.
Best Case Scenario: Pinkston ascends to the top of the revamped BIG EAST and continues to lead the undersized front line for Villanova. His points per game and rebounds per game all increase, while he cuts down on the turnovers and continues to get to the FT line at will. He's properly recognized as a BIG EAST 1st Teamer at the end of the season.
Worst Case Scenario: It's hard to envision a scenario where Pinkston isn't successful, since his game is so simple, and so effective. If he begins to fall in love with shooting away from the basket, he takes away his best offense and sees his point per game go down. He could also struggle with constant double-teams down low, if Daniel Ochefu doesn't develop as a threat.
The best care scenario came through this season. Pinkston averaged 6.0 FTA (more than anyone on the team) and converted on 74% of them. More importantly, when Pinkston had a poor shooting day, his free throws would spike up in order to neutralize the offensive loss. Pinkston also saw a 32% drop in TO per game, as did a lot of the squad this season. He, Daniel Ochefu, and James Bell lead the Wildcats with 6.1 RPG. As for outside shooting, JayVaughn saw his 3PA/game drop to below 1, although skewed higher than it should because of his breakout game against the Xavier Musketeers where he went 3-3 from beyond the arc
The development of Daniel Ochefu is yet to be seen. In the middle of the season, Ochefu went on a hot streak which no doubt helped; through the first 4 Big East games, Pinkston averaged 18.3 PPG on 52% shooting. As Ochefu went cold, his minutes decreased and Pinkston saw more double-teaming. He was able to use that well by kicking the ball out to the open man around the arc. Next season should see a big spike in Daniel's abilities, so it will be interesting to see how that affects Pinkston's mobility.
Pinkston landed on the All-BIG EAST Second Team for his 2013-2014 efforts. He could very well end his career on the First Team with an abundance of those graduating/leaving.
Vote from Wisdom of Crowds
In Wisdom of Crowds, readers cast their votes on how many points Pinkston would average this season. A majority said he would put up 16.6 PPG this season, with a few even aiming for over 19 PPG.
JayVaughn ended the year averaging 14.1, which puts the 41 voters who casted 14.2 as out winners.
Scoring only increased by around 1 point, and RPG and FT% took a nice step upwards as well. The largest improvement was FG%, going 5.7% higher than 2012-2013. As we had hoped, turnovers went down, and fouls also saw a drop. Overall, great improvement going into his senior campaign.
Pinkston looked his best in the Holy War contest vs. the Saint Joseph's Hawks. He defended Halil Kanacevic incredibly well, and had his way on the offensive end. He finished the game with countless and-one opportunities, and had an efficient outing overall. He finished with 27 points on 10-15 shooting along with going 6-8 from the line and adding 8 boards.
This one might be a tie. In the Old Big East matchup vs. the Syracuse Orange, JayVaughn struggled with foul trouble and would only play 25 minutes. He was only able to tally 3 points on 1-4 shooting (1-2 from three) along with 3 fouls and 4 turnovers. In the same amount of minutes vs. the Seton Hall Pirates in the Big East Tournament, Pinkston put up 11 points on 4-8 shooting, with 7 rebounds. However, he had quite a bit of difficulty from the charity stripe, so much so that it was not close to being charity. He converted only 3 of 10 free throw attempts, and the Wildcats would fall.
A- - Whenever Villanova needed a run to enter back into any game, both Pinkston and Darrun Hilliard would draw contact time and time again. While this strategy was not common for a team whose slogan is "Shoot 'Em Up, Sleep in the Streets," Pinkston's physicality was obviously put to good use this season. With a (hopefully) more developed junior in Daniel Ochefu, JayVaughn should see less attention his way. If not, then he has shown his ability to find any open man on the wing. With both Pinkston and Ochefu next season, it will be exciting to see JayVaughn build upon an already impressive career.