Redshirt freshman Angelo Brizzi has entered the transfer portal, as reported first by JAL Hoops’ Jake Lieberman in a tweet on Friday morning.
The news was confirmed by Villanova head coach Kyle Neptune shortly after. Neptune said he only found out in the last 24 hours of Angelo Brizzi’s intention to enter the transfer portal.
“He just told us that he wanted to move on, and we support him and what he does,” Neptune said. “He was a valued member of our program.”
The 6-foot-3 guard out of Warrenton, Va. averaged 2.0 points and 1.9 rebounds over 10.7 minutes per game. He shot a combined 5-of-12 (38.5%) on the floor.
Caleb Daniels, one of the elder statesmen in this year’s squad, had a heartfelt parting message to Brizzi.
“That’s like my little brother,” said Daniels “I love him to death, always will be. He can call me whenever he needs anything. ... There’s no love lost between me and him or anyone else on the team. We know you’re still our brother at the end of the day. He’s still a part of this family regardless if he’s here or not, you know, we take ‘once a wildcat, always a wildcat’ very seriously.”
Brizzi made his Villanova debut after redshirting last year in the Wildcats’ season opener against La Salle, where he recorded two points, four boards and a steal in 13 minute of action.
He played in each of Villanova’s first seven games, but started to see a minutes reduction towards the end of the PK85 Invitational, where he only played eight minutes in the finale against Oregon, after previously playing double-digit minutes in every game before that.
Neptune was one of Brizzi’s biggest supporters and said that he was pretty surprised by his decision. That will not stop Neptune (and the rest of the team for what it is worth) from supporting Brizzi at his next stop.
“I really liked him as a kid, he is a fiery competitor and I really wish the best for him,” professed Neptune.
He made a brief two-minute appearance in the 77-56 win over Boston College, but hadn’t played since.
Brizzi is the Big East’s second mid-season transfer this season, after former Big East Tournament MVP Dante Harris left Georgetown and eventually found his way to Virginia a couple weeks after entering the transfer portal.
Justin Moore back to full-contact practice
In other news, all signs are pointing up for a Justin Moore return in the near future, but the Wildcats continue to play coy about his status.
It was reported by CBS’s Jon Rothstein on Christmas Day that Justin Moore had returned to practice.
Neptune elaborated further on the standout guard’s situation, noting that he is a full participant and is back in 5-on-5 scrimmages and full-contact drills. Moore had previously been working out and undergoing individual non-contact drills, so this is a much-needed step in his road to recovery.
“Huge difference,” Neptune said. “I mean, I think when healthy, there’s not a guard in the country I would take over him.”
It seems like his teammates are already noticing a difference. Teammate and friend Caleb Daniels says that it feels like Justin Moore is “10 to 15 pounds stronger” and it sure looks like it from afar.
“Justin [has] always been really strong, but I think a little bit more this year,” Daniels added.
Moore has not played in an organized game of basketball since March 26th, 2022, a full nine months post injury. While he certainly is not one-hundred percent healthy yet, he is getting close.
When asked what percentage he thinks Justin Moore is at, Neptune told reporters that he is “more than 50, less than 100 [percent].”
Neptune went on to talk about how tough it is to come back from an achilles and that the mental recovery is just as, if not more taxing than the physical.
“It’s just a matter of him and when he’s comfortable,” Neptune added, when asked to guess on a return date — which he affirms there is still no timetable.
The vibes around a possible Moore return are high and it seems like it may come sooner rather than later, simply based off feeling. Adding Moore to this Villanova team that seems to be hitting their stride could be a dangerous piece to this beautiful puzzle. It will be interesting to see when the exact date is that he makes his season debut, but at this rate, it could be any day now.
Quote of the Day: “To play Villanova basketball.” -Chris Arcidiacono when asked if he had any new year's resolutions.