Cole Swider’s Career Stats
Hometown: Portsmouth, R.I.
High School: St. Andrews
Fast approaching the commencement of what will likely be one of the most unique seasons in college basketball history, Cole Swider finds himself upon the precipice of a make-or-break year. It’s no secret that Swider’s first two seasons were not on par with what the ‘Nova Nation was expecting when the top 35 recruit committed his future to Villanova, but with the departure of Saddiq Bey and the return of Bryan Antoine’s dreaded shoulder injury, Swider has a chance to play one of the more influential roles in this year’s team.
Ranked at 34th in the country in ESPN’s Top 100 recruiting class of 2018, Cole Swider was recruited to Villanova primarily for one reason: to shoot the ball, and to shoot it well. In a freshman year that was hindered by an injury to his shooting hand, Swider’s numbers—all of which came from the bench—were not enough to stir much excitement among the Wildcat fanbase: 3.5 points per game wasn’t turning any heads.
Last season, Swider began to show sparks of the player that he could be, but with the talent that was present up and down the roster, his 6.1 points per game didn’t earn him a solidified starting spot, as he came off the bench for just about half of his appearances.
What he lacked at the end of the day was the consistency to turn those sparks into flames over the course of the season–his 45.8% from deep in the first 12 games dwindled to a measly 28.3% in the final 19. However, the talent is there: he shot 50% from behind the line in losses to Ohio State and Marquette, proving that he can do it in the face of tough opposition.
Now, Cole Swider has the chance to show fans just how good he can be. It’s very possible that Jay Wright gives the junior the nod come the first few games of the season ahead of players like Caleb Daniels and Eric Dixon solely based off of Swider’s experience in a Wildcat jersey, something that Daniels and Dixon still lack. Maintaining that spot, however, will be the challenge. Improving slightly on the defensive side of the ball, as he did from freshman to sophomore year, will be something Wright expects from Swider, but the real measuring stick will come on offense.
The sophomore-to-junior jump is not an anomaly to Villanova fans in recent years. It’s not hard to recall another shooter among the 2016 National Champions who came into his junior year averaging 5.3 points per game and a 3 point percentage (37.1%) similar to Swider’s (33.1%), and we all remember how that turned out for UNC in the final 4.7 seconds of the season.
Kris Jenkins and Cole Swider are two different players of course, but nonetheless, the junior forward has the opportunity to fill some very big shoes and much needed points if he steps up and turns that switch like Jenkins did in the second half of that season.
Best Case Scenario: Cole Swider hits the ground running with another year of play under his belt. He finds a consistent rhythm, shooting 40% from behind the arc and maintaining the same and or better numbers on the defensive side of the ball. Swider’s newfound form earns him more minutes, and even a starting spot as a ‘3’ or ‘4.’ He becomes the outside shooter Nova fans have been waiting to see, perfects the signature shot-fake and drive, and fully molds into the team’s system.
Worst Case Scenario: Swider’s hand gets hot at times, but overall his inconsistencies remain. After two years in a Wildcat uniform, he knows the system but just can’t seem to fully fit into it, leaving open an opportunity for the likes of Dixon or Brandon Slater to step into that forward role. Swider becomes the 6th or 7th man, a still prominent figure contributing points off the bench but not the force that fans had hoped for.
Wisdom of the Crowds
How many points per game will Cole Swider average this season?
This poll is closed
6.0 or fewer
6.1 - 9.0
9.1 - 12.0
12.0 or more