Villanova Basketball: 1 Reason Each Starter Will Be a Success in 2014-15
The Villanova Wildcats are expected to be one of the most successful teams in the nation next season based on their performances during the 2013-14 campaign.
That success was credited to the solid group of players in the starting lineup, who for the most part showed up in every game.
For the team to match last season's performance, and even eclipse it, the starters will once again have to be successful.
Here is a look at one reason why each starter will be a success in the upcoming season.
Ryan Arcidiacono: Third Year of Experience at the Point
In this day and age of college basketball, having a point guard stay around for his third season is a rarity at a big program, but that is exactly what the Wildcats have in the form of Ryan Arcidiacono.
The rising junior broke onto the scene as a freshman, and then he fine-tuned his game during his sophomore season, which sets him up to become a true leader on the team in his third year.
Arcidiacono has started all but one of his games at Villanova and has averaged 10.9 points per game over his two seasons of play.
With a ton of experience already under his belt, Arcidiacono should be able to deal with the pressure of the position just fine as he looks to improve on his 9.9 points per game from a season ago.
Darrun Hilliard: A Senior Jack of All Trades
Darrun Hilliard is expected to fill the role that James Bell left open after his senior season.
Hilliard will be asked to contribute on offense, where he averaged 14.3 points per game, but he will also be handed the task of stepping up more on the defensive side of the ball.
The two-year starter averaged just over a steal per game in his junior campaign, while also snagging down a total of 94 rebounds on defense.
If he can up those totals just a bit, Hilliard could turn into one of the best all-around seniors in the country by the time February and March roll around.
Josh Hart: A Dose of Extra Energy in the Backcourt
The lone starting spot up for grabs before the season begins is the one left vacant by Bell, but there may not be much competition for it.
Josh Hart should get the nod ahead of fellow rising sophomore Kris Jenkins because of his contributions toward the end of last season.
Coming off the bench, Hart provided a spark for the Wildcats by averaging 7.8 points and 4.0 rebounds per game by season's end.
The member of the Big East All-Rookie Team will not be relied on to score, or to defend the marquee player on the opposite side of the court, which will leave him as an under-the-radar player heading into the season.
If he continues on the same route of progression that Arcidiacono and Hilliard have been on during their respective careers, Hart could easily leave his sophomore season as one of the most improved players in the Big East.
JayVaughn Pinkston: X-Factor Everywhere on the Court
So much of the focus that shines on the Wildcats ends up on the guards, but JayVaughn Pinkston deserves a ton of attention himself.
Pinkston was employed down low for most of last season due to the inexperience of Daniel Ochefu at center, but now that most of the starting lineup carries a good amount of experience, Pinkston could be handed free reign on the court.
The rising senior improved his totals in points and rebounds per game—as well as field-goal percentage—last season, which sets him up for a terrific final season.
If Pinkston is able to move outside of the paint on a few occasions during games, he could pose a matchup problem to almost every opponent the Wildcats face.
Daniel Ochefu: Rebounding Prowess
Unlike other big men across the country, Daniel Ochefu will not be relied on to put up big numbers in the points department, which means the big man can focus on pulling down rebounds in the paint.
The rising junior snagged 6.1 rebounds per game in his first season as a starter, and that total is expected to rise after another offseason of preparation as a starting center.
Ochefu will be presented with plenty of opportunities to show his might down low since the Wildcats lack another center of his quality on the roster.
He will also benefit from the perimeter play of his teammates, as he will rarely be double-teamed in the paint because of the scoring threat the other four starters possess.