Villanova Basketball: What Each Projected Starter Brings to the Table

Joe TanseyFeatured ColumnistSeptember 3, 2013

Villanova Basketball: What Each Projected Starter Brings to the Table

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    There are just two months remaining in the college basketball offseason, and that means it is time to start projecting who will be starting for the nation's best programs. 

    The Villanova Wildcats are one of those programs that are in the midst of their preparation for the 2013-14 season. 

    Coach Jay Wright loses just one of his five starters this season, and with four projected returning starters, the Wildcats are poised for a breakout season in the realigned Big East Conference. 

    With plenty of expectations heading into this season, here is a look at what each of the five projected starters brings to the table. 

Ryan Arcidiacono: Three-Point Threat

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    If there is one thing we learned about Ryan Arcidiacono in his freshman season, it is that he loves to shoot the rock from beyond the arc. 

    Another thing we learned about Arcidiacono is that he is quite the streaky shooter. 

    The point guard's inconsistent shooting saw him score over double digits in 19 games but just five points or less in six games.

    Regardless of what his point total looks like at the end of any game, the sophomore will be a threat to any opponent from beyond the arc for the entire 40 minutes of any game. 

Darrun Hilliard: An Experienced, Steady Hand in the Backcourt

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    Toward the end of last season, Darrun Hilliard stepped up to the plate and delivered a few clutch performances for the Wildcats. 

    During Big East play, Hilliard scored in double digits in 13 games. In the process he gave the Wildcats a steady hand to partner the free-shooting Arcidiacono in the backcourt.

    Expect the junior guard to be a stabilizing force alongside the sophomore in the starting backcourt and for him to provide the highest amount of assists on the team. 

    Do not be surprised if Hilliard has a few big games in the scoring column once again this season, especially if the defensive attention begins to shift toward Arcidiacono and JayVaughn Pinkston. 

James Bell: Versatility in Defense

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    With Arcidiacono and Hilliard expected to be the main scorers in the backcourt, senior James Bell will be called upon to the little things for the Wildcats this season.

    One of those responsibilities that will be handed to Bell will come on the defensive end. 

    Bell will be tasked with guarding some of the best guards in the Big East throughout conference play, and if he thrives in this role, the Wildcats could catapult up the conference standings.

    If the senior guard fails to deliver strong play on the defensive end, it could end up being a long season for Villanova in the new Big East, given how much guard play will dictate each game, especially with Xavier, Creighton and Butler entering the fray. 

JayVaughn Pinkston: Scoring Threat from Inside and Outside

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    At 6'7" and 240 pounds, JayVaughn Pinkston is quite the physical specimen.

    The redshirt junior will have to rely on his build as he looks to replicate his success from the 2012-13 season.

    Pinkston averaged a team-high 13.3 points per game, and he will be asked to put up those same numbers this season as well as improve on his 5.0 rebounds per game. 

    With a bevy of guards on the roster, Pinkston will shift deeper into the paint to combine with Daniel Ochefu in an attempt to replace the graduated Mouphtaou Yarou.

    If Pinkston uses his stature in the paint and his skill on the perimeter together, he could rival Doug McDermott of Creighton as the best inside-outside paint presence in the Big East. 

Daniel Ochefu: A Much-Needed Presence in the Paint

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    The glaring omission from this season's squad is Mouphtaou Yarou, who patrolled the paint for multiple seasons at Villanova.

    With his graduation comes a passing of the torch at the center position to Daniel Ochefu. 

    The sophomore center has a chance to rival the career of Yarou when he departs the Main Line in three seasons, but to do that he needs to have a strong first season as a starter. 

    A lot will be expected out of Ochefu this season in the paint, and he will face plenty of growing pains during his second collegiate campaign. 

    If Ochefu can bring power to the paint this season, all the Wildcats will have to do is rely on their guards to lead them to the promised land.