Yesterday afternoon, news broke that Villanova redshirt junior Dylan Ennis would be graduating this spring and transferring for his post-grad year. Ennis was a solid player for the Wildcats this past season, averaging 9.9 ppg, 3.5 rpg and 3.7 rpg. His efficiency from the floor was rightfully called in to question (42% FG, 36% 3FG), but his overall impact on a game, especially on defense, was typically a positive.
With his departure brings opportunity for other players on the roster. Let's take a look at how this might impact Jay Wright's rotation next season.
Phil Booth, your time has come
With Josh Hart a mortal lock for a starting spot (replacing Darrun Hilliard) and Kris Jenkins replacing JayVaughn Pinkston (the current working theory), Booth stands the most to gain from Ennis' departure. Booth just put an outstanding freshman season together, and has the looks of a future offensive star.
His ability to get in to the lane and finish or knock down jumpers is impressive at such a young age. It's unlikely he'll become a great rebounding guard at his size, but an uptick in assists is likely in store next season. Right now, he's the odds-on favorite to take Ennis' spot in the starting five and should see his minutes increase to 25+ per game.
The freshman class
There's no doubt that Jalen Brunson is going to see the floor and plenty of it. How much (and how early) remains to be seen, and will likely depend on how quickly he picks up Villanova's defensive schemes, but he's very polished on the offensive end and his ability to run Villanova's motion offense will demand minutes.
Prior to Ennis' transfer, we were looking at the curious cases of Donte DiVincenzo and Tim Delaney. Delaney has a hip injury and his status is a bit unknown, but Ennis' departure probably removes the redshirt option for DiVincenzo. I wouldn't bet on him locking down a spot in the rotation just yet, but the opportunity is now there.
What about Darryl Reynolds and Mikal Bridges?
The news shouldn't directly impact the pair of forwards, but it probably will in Jay Wright's mind. Wright recently made a comment that he'd be playing a lot of 4-guard lineups next year since he was heavy in the backcourt, but we might see a more traditional lineup more often with Ennis out the door.
Reynolds showed flashes in limited minutes and bulked up last offseason so he's ready physically for primetime, but how much of a jump he makes in his understanding of the offense will dictate his minutes. Defensively though, he can spell Daniel Ochefu when needed.
Bridges is an interesting player. He's long and athletic, plus a good shooter. On paper he looks like the perfect guy to replace Hilliard at the top of the 1-2-2 press, but he's young and still very skinny. I'd expect him to make a push for minutes next year, but he'll need a big spring and summer in the weight room to deal with the grind of the conference schedule.
What's your ideal rotation look like next season?