Bryan Antoine’s career stats
Hometown: Tinton Falls, NJ
High School: Ranney School
Bryan Antoine player preview
Despite what we all endearingly refer to him as, Bryan Antoine has not officially changed his name to Poor Bryan Antoine.
It has been 1,150 days since Antoine, a consensus top 20 recruit, committed to Villanova. In those 1,150 days, he has played just 205 minutes over 26 total games. He had major shoulder surgery the summer before his freshman year in 2019. He injured the same shoulder prior to his sophomore year and was just diagnosed with a knee tendon injury in early October. For the third straight season, Antoine will begin the season in street clothes and will attempt to play catch up for a spot in the rotation.
With a five-star pedigree, Villanova fans have been very attentive to clues about Antoine’s potential during those 205 career minutes, even if most of them have been in short spurts or during garbage time. So what do we know?
Bryan Antoine cares
Despite parts of the national media trying to place Antoine in the Jahvon Quinerly “Jay Wright Can’t Coach Five Stars” narrative, Bryan Antoine has played hard in every opportunity he’s been provided. No matter the time, score, or situation, Antoine has not been hesitant to throw his body around to make hustle plays. His teammates and coaches all rave about his ability and attitude. Despite the struggles, he has not explored a fresh start with a different program. Whether or not it will ever happen, all indications are that Antoine is fully committed to becoming an impact player at Villanova.
Bryan Antoine is a unicorn on this team
Despite being a consensus top 10 team this preseason, most of the rotation is composed of players who are working to overcome physical limitations. Collin Gillespie and Justin Moore are usually at a speed disadvantage in most backcourt matchups. Caleb Daniels, Jermaine Samuels, and Eric Dixon will all be undersized for their position all year. For all his struggles, Antoine looks the part. He’s long, quick, and bouncy. In the few moments he’s looked comfortable, he’s made plays not often seen with this team - getting into passing lanes, being explosive in transition, and flying in for weakside rebounds.
Bryan Antoine has rarely looked comfortable
Antoine’s combination of missing every pre-season due to injury, getting limited minutes, and not knowing to do with his athleticism is the perfect recipe for what I would diagnose as a pretty obvious case of “Happy Feet”. On the defensive end, Antoine has struggled to figure out the speed of the college game and finds himself moving his feet and head non-stop in a failed attempt to identify switches and stay on assignment. For a program that plays a lot of low-possession close games, he has found a lot of quick hooks from Coach Jay Wright after defensive breakdowns the team can’t afford. On the offensive end, he’s rarely been comfortable enough to fully assess situations and make value-added decisions with the ball.
More playing time may just be the answer
An interesting thing happened when Collin Gillespie went down last March. Coach Jay Wright, who had kept his rotations incredibly tight over the three seasons since the 2018 national championship had no choice but to trust some of his little-used reserves. With Gillespie’s 34 minutes per game sidelined, Wright extended his rotation to include more minutes for Brandon Slater, Chris Arcidiacono, Eric Dixon and Antoine. While that proved to be the correct decision to close out 2020-21, it should also prove instrumental for those players in 2021-22. Antoine’s extended minutes weren’t extraordinary, but it was very apparent that he felt more comfortable. He survived defensively by limiting his mental mistakes and spent time effectively guarding key opposing players. He even looked more comfortable with the ball, making 3 of 4 threes in the NCAA tournament. His two three-pointers keyed an early second half run in the first round win over Winthrop.
Best Case Scenario: A mostly full, normal offseason allowed Antoine to gain confidence where he immediately makes an impact in the rotation once he returns from injury in November. He is comfortable enough with Villanova’s switching defensive scheme that he becomes value-added on that end of the floor by defending premier opposing guards and making plays with his athleticism.
He won’t be asked to initiate much offense but proves to be an effective weakside wing by knocking down open 3s and getting free on the baseline for cuts and offensive rebounding. Think Donte DiVincenzo or Saddiq Bey as freshmen.
Worst Case Scenario: The knee injury lingers into 2022 and Antoine is not offered the consistent minutes needed to get comfortable. His “Happy Feet” return and although Jay tries to get him into games, he never fully trusts him and his minutes fade late in the season. By the end of the season, Antoine has one eye on the transfer portal and an opportunity to restart.
How many points per game will Antoine average this season?
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