Jimmy V Classic: Villanova's Guards Haven't Fully Blossomed Yet

Andrew KahnCorrespondent IDecember 9, 2008

NEW YORK — In 2006, when Villanova earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and advanced to the Regional Finals before losing to eventual-champion Florida, the Wildcats started a four-guard line-up.

Two of those players are currently starters in the NBA, while another played a season for the Boston Celtics before signing a lucrative deal overseas. That '06 group, which featured seniors Mike Nardi, Allan Ray, and Randy Foye, and sophomore Kyle Lowry, is several steps above the current Villanova backcourt.

A main cause for that is simply inexperience.

Of the trio of guards coach Jay Wright starts this season, two of them — Corey Fisher and Corey Stokes — are sophomores, and Scottie Reynolds is a junior.

"One of the things (the '06 guys) did a great job of was when they were undersized they had great technique and great effort and great commitment to rebounding," Wright said after last night's 67-58 loss to Texas in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden. "And they were juniors and seniors when they did that. Stokes has got to learn a bit. And even Scottie’s got to learn a little bit. They’re getting there, though.”

The trio had a poor performance on the big stage last night. Fisher was held scoreless, missing all five shots he took. Reynolds was an unimpressive 2/7 from the field, scoring 10, and Stokes had 11.

At times they looked frustrated by Texas' tenacious defense — especially Reynolds, who was called for a few offensive fouls.

"I was really impressed with Texas' team defensive toughness," Wright said. They really pressured our guards really well, and they did it with depth. A lot of guys came on the floor and did a good job defensively."

Villanova came into the game 8-0, but had played a very weak schedule. Texas on the other hand, had already played the likes of Notre Dame, Oregon, and UCLA.

"Texas has a physicality defensively and great discipline," Wright said. "They reminded me of some of the top teams in the Big East, defensively."

While Texas was responsible for some of 'Nova's struggles, Wright believes the venue played a role, too.

Speaking about Fisher, a native of the Bronx, he had this to say: "He gets excited when he comes back to New York. And that’s just being young. As he matures, it wont matter where he plays — it wont affect how he plays."

One poor performance doesn't mean these Wildcats can't achieve what the '06 team did. But it's fair to assume they won't be doing it this season. With so much youth and inexperience, Wright's gang has a lot of developing to do.