The 2012-2013 Villanova Wildcats basketball team will rely on a much different game plan than they did in last year's catastrophe.
Leading scorers Maalik Wayns and Dominic Cheek are now gone. Villanova can no longer rely on setting up plays for the sole purpose of letting these players play their individual games.
Now that the team has no big superstar, Jay Wright will have to spread the ball around the floor if he wants the team to succeed on offense.
Villanova will finally have to play as a team in order to do well this year, something Wright could not grasp as the Wildcats blew lead after lead one season ago.
With a new game plan in place, Villanova should see an increase in their win total this year.
That being said, this young Wildcats team still has some weaknesses with the loss of these talented perimeter players.
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While last year was not his finest exhibition of coaching, Jay Wright has shown that he has the ability to to turn teams around.
Wright took over the struggling program in 2001, and in three years took them back to the college basketball elite. With a combination of good coaching and top notch recruiting, Wright lead Villanova to seven straight tournament appearances from 2005-2011.
If there is any coach that knows how to put a team back on track, it is Jay Wright.
The Head Coach has already kicked off this season on a good note by bringing in three 4-star recruits in Ryan Arcidiacono, Daniel Ochefu, and Mislav Brzoja.
Not only did he recruit well this year, Wright also landed highly talented transfers Tony Chennault and Dylan Ennis.
While talent is lost every year, it is good to know that Wright will replenish the system.
While Jay Wright did recruit mightily for talented perimeter players, none of them will be able to immediately step into the spotlight and perform like Maalik Wayns.
Although Domonic Cheek was easily replaced with three-point specialist Mislav Brzoja, nobody on the squad will be able to replicate Wayns's 17.6 points per game.
Freshman Ryan Arcidiacono, junior transfer Tony Chenault, and sophomore Ty Johnson will all pick up Wayns's lost minutes.
These three players bring a lot to the Villanova program, but nobody will be able to duplicate the play of now-Sixer Maalik Wayns this year.
With their biggest playmakers coming from the perimeter last year, the post players were often overlooked on offense.
With the loss of these such talents, the Wildcats will heavily rely on their overdose of big-men.
With their only loss coming in the form of transfer Markus Kennedy, there is nothing but experience and depth in this more developed frontcourt.
The Cats replaced Kennedy and his 6.3% free throw percentage with 6 foot 9 big body Daniel Ochefu. This Westown graduate possesses an arsenal of skills including a mid-range game and solid back to the basket play.
Returning the lineup will be senior centers Mouphtaou Yarou and Maurice Sutton who both use their large frames to be a force on defense.
The most important returning player will be Sophomore forward JayVaughn Pinkston. Pinkston gave a glimpse of the player he could become during a stretch of midseason Big East games including being the orchestrator of the Wildcats dramatic 18 point comeback against Providence.
Villanova scored 63 percent of their points from their guards one season ago, but don't expect this trend to carry over.
Now that the ball will be spread around more, these four big men will be Villanova's main weapons as they fight for redemption this year.
With the loss of Maalik Wayns, Villanova does not posses the scorer needed to end an offensive drought.
Transfer Tony Chennault will look to take over the role as main scorer, but he doesn't have the same attacking instinct as Wayns and only averaged nine points per game last year.
The good news is that the Wildcats will have less isolation plays without a true playmaker.
The bad news is that if the offense goes cold for stretches of time, the team does not have the player that can step up and put points on the board by himself.
Villanova will finally play a more spread around offense, but when the time is needed for a clutch shot, the Cats will come up cold.
The Wildcats allowed a putrid 70.56 points per game thanks to sloppy perimeter defense by Dominic Cheek and Maalik Wayns.
Now that these two offensive-minded players are onto life after Villanova, their former team can finally make defense their top priority.
Maurice Sutton's defense drastically improved by the end of last season as he learned how to use his 7 foot frame as an intimidator in the paint.
Mouphtaou Yarou grabbed 8.2 rebounds per game a season ago and now looks to build off of a somewhat disappointing junior year.
JayVaughn Pinkston was an above average defender last year until he hurt his ankle during pre-game of the February 25th Georgetown game.
Throw in defensive minded Daniel Ochefu into the mix and Villanova now has themselves one of the best defensive frontcourts in college basketball.
If the Wildcat guards can hustle and force turnovers like the teams of old, opponents of Villanova will have a tough time consistently putting the ball in the basket.
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