2007-2008 Villanova Wildcats Preview

by Andrew Force | November 12th, 2007

2006-2007 Record: 22-11 (9-7), T-7th
Postseason Games:

3/7/2007 DePaul Big East Tournament W 75-67
3/8/2007 Georgetown Big East Tournament L 57-62
3/16/2007 Kentucky NCAA 1st round L 58-67

Returning Statistical Leaders:
14.8 ppg – Scottie Reynolds
5.8 rpg - Dante Cunningham
4.0 apgScottie Reynolds

Starting Lineup: Key Stat:
PF Dante Cunningham 6’8” Jr. 86 offensive, 91 defensive rebounds
SF Shane Clark 6’7” Jr. +10 pounds, no increase in body fat
G Reggie Redding 6’5” So. 4 steals in 30 min (1/23/07)
G Scottie Reynolds 6’2” So. 2nd most Frosh PPG since 2004
G Corey Fisher 6’1” Fr. 2 Tournament Champion Titles(NJ)

Key Player Losses: Curtis Sumpter.

There was a time when Curtis Sumpter was the Villanova Wildcat star. His professional success was a foregone conclusion. Following a nasty, debilitating knee injury little was expected of the super senior on the collegiate level.

The tail end of Sumpter’s career was a pleasant surprise. The multi-talented forward made 50 3-pointers and led the team in rebounding.

Impact Newcomer: Corey Stokes.

With gritty, dependable Mike Nardi graduating there is not a reliable outside shooter in the backcourt. Even Sumpter knocked down bunches of 3’s. Stokes strokes will be paramount to the team’s shooting success.

Scottie Reynolds can shoot, but his shots will not come from drive and kick situations. Without Nardi for the first time in four years, the Wildcats need a player that can make opponents pay for collapsing on Reynolds and Corey Fisher.

Fisher may be better than Stokes, but Stokes fills a greater need.

Tough Question: Will the leaders be followed?

Villanova has leadership. The “C” for captain will be labeled adjacent to their name in the program.

Scottie Reynolds, Shane Clark, Dwayne Anderson, and Dante Cunningham will unquestionably be the leaders. The question remains, are they going to be followed? In the absence of true leadership players will listen to anyone. That scenario will not work.

Too Much PT: Dante Cunningham and Scottie Reynolds are the only two returning players to average more than 25 minutes a night. Both will actually be getting more this season.

Get Him on the Floor: Antonio Pena.

The talented kid that played alongside Sebastian Telfair years ago is now a travel-worn man. After two years at prep school and one redshirt year, Antonio is finally a college basketball player. At 21 years of age, he will certainly be the oldest freshman in the Big East.

As Bassy found out, you need a good finisher to be considered a great passer. Pena was the big man Lincoln High School (Brooklyn) brought in to help feed the legend of Stephon’s little cousin.

Villanova has some young, impressionable guards. Any guard looking to run up gaudy assist totals should look Pena’s way. A word of advice: Befriend Pena early. He is your ticket to the NBA.

Point Guards’ Impact: Mike Nardi graduated with 1,300 career points. He made more 3-pointers than all but three Wildcats ever. The top ten Nova assist list bears his name.

It speaks to the level of Jay Wright’s recruiting that Nardi can graduate and VU will not miss a beat.

With the igniting spirit of Scottie Reynolds and the prodigious Corey Fisher, the backcourt is actually in better hands. The speed of play will be frightening.

Expectations: Dwayne Anderson.

Late in 2003, Jay Wright excitedly accepted the verbal commitment of strong DC guard named Dwayne Anderson. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, Anderson did not qualify academically. Wright held out hope and left the scholarship offer on the table while DA attended St. Thomas More Prep. The 3-star recruit attempted to establish a more reputable academic record.

After graduating in 2005, he set out for Philly’s Big East member. Two seasons later, the long-awaited Anderson has scored just 102 points and is a 21.5 year old junior.

Final Word: Scottie Reynolds is as fast and wild as a fairground ride. Corey Fisher can play just as speedy. If there is any control whatsoever demonstrated by these elite guards, Villanova will be impossible to defend on the break.

–Andrew Force


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