For the past few years, the Villanova Wildcats have been on top of the college basketball world, reaching an elite eight, a sweet sixteen and a final four in the past five years.
Although 2010 turned out to be a disappointing season for the Wildcats, they were consistently ranked high in the AP, ESPN, and coaches polls, before a disappointing early exit to tournament sleeper St. Marys (Cal.).
Heading into the 2010-2011 season the Wildcats, coached by Jay Wright, are missing one key component they have relied on in the past, Scottie Reynolds.
The combo guard, “Mr. Do-It-All”, led the team in scoring last year with 18.2 points per game. Reynolds also led the team in steals and was second in assists.
The departure of Reynolds is a good and a bad thing for the Wildcats. Sure, Reynolds was out of this world when he knocked down contested shots against Louisville left and right last year to help over come a 17 point deficit, but it gives ‘Nova a fresh start, allowing the future of the program to emerge.
Now the big question people are asking is, “Who will step up for Nova in 2010-11? Corey Fisher? Corey Stokes? Maalik Wayns?” You want the real answer? It’s simple. None. Simply not one of Novas guards will step in and “replace” Scottie. But together, the three should be able to do it.
Corey Fisher, a natural point guard, had his best season last year, averaging 13.3 points per game. We know Fisher can score, but can he replace the clutch factor that Reynolds brought to the table?
Corey Stokes is a straight up shooter. He is streaky, but the Wildcats have relied on him the past three seasons and this may very well be his break out year.
Maalik Wayns has the tools to be a great guard, and now that Reynolds has graduated, he can showcase his talent. The question surrounding Wayns is if he has the experience to execute in a close game.
Not only did the Wildcats lose beloved guard Reynolds, but they also lost Taylor King when he decided to move closer to home, transferring to Southern California. King was a streaky shooter, specifically a 3-point specialist.
Villanova will be very balanced, but only time will tell if the Wildcats’ three combo guards can avenge Scottie Reynolds’ disappointing 2010 NCAA tournament exit.