If the taste of defeat is bitter, then the Villanova basketball program features more puckered lips than a 15-year old girl’s Facebook album. Not only did the Wildcats lose, but they lost big and early.
With their star point guard and offensive focal point, Scottie Reynolds, leaving the program, the little man has left some very big shoes to fill.
Villanova backed into the end of the 2010 regular season by losing five of their last seven games to Big East rivals, and a disappointing opening-round knockout in the Big East tourney.
Following Newton’s first law, the team with no momentum could not get the ball rolling in the NCAA tournament. They barely evaded defeat in an overtime affair with Robert Morris, and lost the following game to the 10th seeded St.Mary’s.
Not exactly the type of finish you’d expect from a team that was at one point 20-1 and in everybody’s Top Five.
‘Nova fans just hope their team has nowhere to go but up, and the program is committed to a deeper NCAA bid in 2011.
But there are many ways to go up, and much of this depends on how the Wildcats fare in the offseason. It could be elevator easy, escalator convenient, or 15 flights of *&^$ing stairs grueling.
Although Nova has lost their leading scorer in Reynolds, and an experienced team leader in Reggie Redding, they feel they will have the tools to compete.
They have a rising star in Corey Fisher, who will be expected to produce even more than the 13.3ppg he posted in the 2010 season and step into the spotlight.
It’s up to coach Jay Wright to make sure he is ready to be the team’s go-to guy. It’s also up to Wright to make sure ex-Dukie Taylor King rebounds after a disappointing personal season and actually get some rebounds in 2011.
And that the young Maalik Wayns, Dominic Cheeks, and Mouphatou Yarou can become more productive and play to their abilities.
Let’s just say coach Jay Wright is not going to be doing much golfing or relaxing this postseason.
And how could we forget the diaper dandies?
‘Nova has already received commitments from three highly touted youngsters who are anxious to play their roles in a successful 2011 campaign, and Wright and Co. are reaching out farther than their normal Pennsylvania-to-New York talent pool to bring in the new talent.
Small forward James Bell is rated as the No. 9 small forward in the nation, hailing from Montverde Academy outside of Orlando. In Bell they will get an explosive, albeit undersized, wing who will be a scoring threat from all over the court.
Joining him on the freshman squad will by New York product JayVaughn Pinkston, an inside bruiser. ‘Nova’s trainers will look to put some more meat and muscle on his 6’6” frame.
Those of you hoping to see the dominating Markus Kennedy on the 2010-2011 squad will have to continue to hold your breath, as the soft-handed goliath has opted to play one more year at The Winchedon School in Massachusetts.
The Cats are still on the prowl for other top-tier talent, and should be looking for a placeholder for this big man until his time to shine comes.
The past is the past, and the only thing the ‘Cats can do now is put it behind them and try to rebuild on what was a bittersweet 2010 season.