Villanova Basketball: Way-Too-Early Grades for Wildcats Starters

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistNovember 20, 2013

Mar 06, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Villanova Wildcats guard James Bell (32) celebrates making a basket during the first half against the Georgetown Hoyas at the Wells Fargo Center. Villanova defeated Georgetown 67-57. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Three into the 2013-14 season, everything is going as planned for the Villanova Wildcats

Thanks to a few surprise standout performances, the Wildcats sit at 3-0 and head coach Jay Wright has had very little to worry about. 

There is no doubt that the schedule will get increasingly difficult, especially when the Wildcats head down to the Bahamas for the Battle 4 Atlantis over Thanksgiving weekend

But before we look ahead to the challenging nonconference schedule in front of the Wildcats, it is time to hand out some way-too-early season grades for the Wildcats starters. 

Ryan Arcidiacono: B-

Starting point guard Ryan Arcidiacono is not off to the fast start that he had last season, but there is a good reason for that: He is not 100 percent healthy. 

Ninety-five on-court minutes into his sophomore season, Arcidiacono has averaged 8 points per game and has shot 36.8 percent from the field. 

Mar 22, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Villanova Wildcats guard Ryan Arcidiacono (15) drives against the North Carolina Tar Heels in the second half during the second round of the 2013 NCAA tournament at the Sprint Center.  North Carolina defeated Villanova
Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

While those numbers are not the ones that fans expected Arch to put up, he still has plenty of time to increase them as the season continues. 

In some cases, fans may take a slow start like this and turn it into concern of a sophomore slump, but that should not happen with Arcidiacono. 

Darrun Hilliard: B+

In the scoring department where Arcidiacono has lacked numbers, Darrun Hilliard has picked him up and then some with a 13.7 points per game average. 

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 13:  head coach Jay Wright of the Villanova Wildcats gives  instructions to Darrun Hilliard #4  against St. John's Red Storm during the second round of the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 13, 2013 in New York Cit
Al Bello/Getty Images

The 6'6" junior guard has scored in double figures in all three games with his total of 18 against Mount St. Mary's being his season-high. 

Hilliard found himself in the scoring spotlight toward the end of last season, and it seems as though he has kept that momentum going so far this year. 

If Hilliard can continue to put up the same numbers he has so far this season, the Wildcats will not only have themselves another reliable scorer, but they could also be a serious contender for the Big East title. 

James Bell: A

James Bell's senior season at Villanova could not have gotten off to a better start. 

Bell has averaged 18.7 points per game against the Wildcats' three mid-major opponents in nonconference play. 

Bell had a break outgame against Lafayette with 24 points, and he then followed that up with a 20-point performance in the win over Towson on Sunday at The Pavilion. 

As is the case with most sharpshooters at the beginning of the season, Bell has been feeling it from the field, as he has shot over 40 percent in all three games, including a 7-for-12 shooting day against Towson. 

Bell also has six steals and five assists this season, while he has turned the ball over just five times. 

JayVaughn Pinkston: A- 

Just like Bell, JayVaughn Pinkston, who was expected to be the Wildcats' leading scorer this season, has scored over 20 points in two games. 

Pinkston's two 20-plus point showings came in the first two games against Lafayette and Mount St. Mary's.

With Bell snagging down a decent amount of rebounds, Pinkston has not recorded the totals we would have liked to see in that department. 

Pinkston only has nine rebounds so far, a total that must be increased as the team begins to rely on him more in the paint when tougher opposition comes calling.

Daniel Ochefu: B-

It is hard to give Daniel Ochefu a low grade because what he has lacked in the points category, he has more than made up for with his rebounding skills.

Ochefu achieved a season-high in rebounds on Sunday with 11 in the 78-44 win over Towson. 

The sophomore center has put those significant rebounding numbers up in a small space of time, which is something that must be applauded. 

To begin the season, Ochefu has only been on the floor for 50 minutes, a number that should grow as the Wildcats their journey in nonconference play. 

Follow me on Twitter, @JTansey90.


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