Villanova Wildcats Basketball: Grades on Each Player's Performance Last Week

Ron Pasceri@@RonPasceriCorrespondent IIJanuary 2, 2012

Villanova Wildcats Basketball: Grades on Each Player's Performance Last Week

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    Under Jay Wright, Villanova has flourished like never before, until this year.  At 7-7, they are off to a terribly disappointing start.

    Worse, they have already fallen to the bottom of the Big East standings, losing their first two games.

    They did play both games on the road, at West Virginia and at Marquette, but they showed a lot of the same problems that plagued them in their pre-conference schedule.

    How did Villanova's players perform this week?  Click the next slide to find out.

Maalik Wayns, Junior, Point Guard: C

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    Wayns averaged 16.0 points, 5.5 assists and 2.5 steals in two games last week.  The numbers seem good, but he also turned the ball over eight times and shot just 34.4 percent from the field.

    He shot 0-for-4 from three-point range.  Nearly a third of his field-goal attempts come from long range, despite his 25.8 percent three-point percentage.

    Wayns' strength is his ability to get to the basket and either finish or draw contact.  He is an 87.8 percent free-throw shooter and he made all 10 of his free-throw attempts last week.

    He is the team's best player, but Wayns needs to be more efficient and in control. 

Mouphtao Yarou, Junior, Center: B-

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    Yarou is not a typical junior, but he needs to start playing like one.  This week showed a glimmer of hope in that area.

    He averaged 13.5 points and seven rebounds per game on 65 percent shooting from the field.

    Yarou went toe to toe with West Virginia's rebounding machine Kevin Jones, but was outplayed by Davante Gardner off the bench on Sunday.

    Yarou isn't physical or assertive enough yet, so time will tell if he can develop those traits.

Dominic Cheek, Junior, Guard/Forward: D

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    Dominic Cheek is long and athletic.  He looks like he should be Villanova's next great perimeter player but it doesn't seem to be coming together.

    Cheek looked great at West Virginia, scoring 20 points and grabbing six rebounds.  He shot 8-of-15 from the field and 3-of-7 from three-point range.

    Unfortunately Sunday at Marquette was the opposite.  He was limited to six points on 2-of-10 shooting, including 1-of-7 from three.

    Cheek's 31 percent long-distance shooting hasn't deterred him from firing away.  Almost 60 percent of his field-goal attempts are three-point shots. 

    An 87 percent free-throw shooter, he should use his athleticism to get to the rim and draw fouls.  Also, Cheek is shooting 55 percent on two-point field goals.

James Bell, Sophomore, Guard: C

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    Bell only scored two points last week, but that doesn't tell his story.

    At West Virginia he only took two shots, making one, but he managed to secure six rebounds in 21 minutes.

    Bell recorded just three minutes at Marquette, but his energy and toughness are always a welcome addition to the lineup.

JayVaughn Pinkston, Freshman, Forward: C

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    After scoring just four points on six shots against West Virginia, Pinkston showed renewed life at Marquette.

    Battling against a more experienced frontcourt, Pinkston scored a career-high 13 points to go along with four rebounds.

    He shot just 5-of-9 from the free-throw line, but he showed good aggression to earn that many trips to the charity stripe.

Markus Kennedy, Freshman, Forward: B+

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    Although not a highly acclaimed recruit, Kennedy has been a real bright spot this season.

    He hasn't gotten a ton of minutes, and he has shown his inexperience, but he has serious skill for a big man.  Kennedy never looks uncomfortable with the ball in his hands and he plays hard.

    In his first two Big East contests, he averaged seven points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game.  He shot a total of 7-for-9 from the field.  He accumulated those totals over an average of 20.0 minutes per game.

Darrun Hilliard, Freshman, Guard: C+

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    Darrun Hilliard is another unheralded recruit that has shown some really nice flashes.

    After being held scoreless with three rebounds at West Virginia, Hilliard had the best game of his young career.

    In 31 minutes of action, Hilliard scored 12 points, grabbed four rebounds and had two steals.  He shot 4-of-7 from the field and hit all four of his free throws.

    Hilliard is a gutsy player who will help them win games in the future.

Ty Johnson, Freshman, Guard: D

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    Tyrone Johnson is in a catch-22 situation.  He has a tremendous point guard to learn from, but he is also stuck on the bench behind him.

    Johnson only played 28 minutes last week, and he scored six points and dished out four assists.  He added a steal as well as three turnovers.

    Johnson has been touted as a tough point guard who can score.  Perhaps he will show that ability before the season is over.

Achraf Yacoubou, Freshman, Guard: C

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    Yacoubou is the type of player every successful basketball team needs.

    He is unselfish, tough and defensive-minded.  He will do all the dirty work, and in time will add some scoring.

    He registered no statistical numbers in seven minutes at West Virginia, but he scored eight points in 22 minutes at Marquette.

    Yacoubou was 3-of-6 from the field and 2-of-5 from three-point range.

Maurice Sutton, Junior, Forward/Center: Incomplete

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    Sutton is a frail big man who has some ability, but he doesn't seem to be able to get on the court.

    He didn't play at West Virginia and was on the floor for the frantic final minute against Marquette.

    In that minute he scored two points and grabbed four rebounds.  He could be used more later in the season even if only for some height and five fouls off the bench.

Jay Wright, Coach: C+

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    Wright has been a wildly successful college basketball coach by any measure.  He recruits well, he has developed both guards and big men, and he has won a lot of games.

    This season has to be eating Wright up.  His detractors say he is nothing but a designer suit, but this season and next will prove exactly what he is.

    Wright has been a teacher and a mentor and he's gotten the most out of his teams before the last two seasons.

    He has a very young team with no seniors.  Wright thrives on senior leadership, and all he has are three juniors to lean on.

    Wright has a ton of bodies that he is mixing and matching in hopes of finding the right combinations.  In that search, things have looked disjointed at times and just plain bad at others.

    With a team in such flux, Wright has kept his team's effort level high and its attitude positive.  Now all he has to do is teach them what works and what doesn't and see if there is a good basketball team under those navy blue jerseys.