Welcome to What If Wednesday! I'm going to use Hump Day to take on your questions about the many "What Ifs" that surround Villanova Basketball. These can range from the serious, "What if Jay had left for Kentucky?" to the jovial, "What if each of our players played another Villanova sport?". But for our inaugural article, I'll tackle a question that we may be asking ourselves for the rest of the season. What if Ennis stayed?
To start, Ennis would've had to buy into the idea that he wouldn't be a primary point guard. Instead of directing the offense, Ennis would have been our defensive leader on the court. His presence would keep our perimeter defense in tact and give us a lock down defender against guards and wings. He also would have been an experienced captain with Arch and Ochefu. But most importantly, he would have kept his role in the starting lineup.
With Ennis in a starting role, Hart gets bumped down to the 4 and Jenkins comes off the bench. On offense we have 2 clutch 3-point shooters in Arch and Brunson up top, two versatile wing/guards in Ennis and Hart, and Ochefu down low. Defensively we'd be much quicker and more athletic, which have been the keys to Jay's undersized defensive scheme. The deeper bench means fresher and more frequent subs, but it's not all positive.
The downside becomes the number of mouths to feed at the guard position. In a 10 man rotation with only 2 true forwards (Ochefu and Reynolds), there are now 8 wings and guards to split the playing time. Ennis, Arch, and Hart have earned their minutes and would get their playing time. Brunson and Booth are too talented to keep off the court. So that leaves Jenkins, Bridges, and DiVincenzo. Jenkins and Bridges would probably see a little more time due to the lack of front-court depth, leaving DiVincenzo as the odd man out. In the past, that type of overcrowding in the back-court has lead to transfers, and very well could have again.
Would we want to possibly give up 3 more years of a talented young guard for one more year with Ennis? If our perimeter defense was improved, would that shine an even brighter light on the issues in the front court? Could Villanova make the Final Four with him? What other "What If Wednesday" topics would you like us to cover? Leave your comments and questions below!