Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sumpter at Clippers camp

Curtis Sumpter has officially been signed by the Los Angeles Clippers, and is attending training camp.  He is not guaranteed a roster spot, so he will have to use his time at training camp to prove his worth.  The Clippers currently have Al Thornton and Ricky Davis at the small forward position, where Sumpter will most likely be playing.  Steve Novak and former Wildcat Tim Thomas can also play small forward, meaning that the Clippers don't have a dire need at Curtis' position.  The chances of him making the team may be slim, but I wish him the best of luck.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Weekly Player Evaluation: Dwayne Anderson

Player: Dwayne Anderson

2007-2008 Key Stats: 6.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.5 steals, 50.3 FG%

2007-2008 Review: At the beginning of last season Dwayne Anderson was named one of the four team captains, which at the time I thought was a curious decision considering his lack of playing time during his first two seasons at Villanova.  It remained a curious decision throughout the first half of the season, as Dwayne played limited minutes off the bench.  However, all that changed on February 9 at the Pavilion.  In an attempt to halt the team’s five game losing streak Jay Wright inserted Dwayne Anderson into the starting lineup for the first time in his career.  Anderson showed flashes of what he could do, specifically in an early season game against Hartford.  Villanova was struggling to pull away from an opponent they were expected to blow out.  Midway through the second half Dwayne Anderson entered and was a complete game-changer.  He hustled for steals, dove for loose balls, and was relentless on defense.  I thought after that game, he would be rewarded with more playing time, but he would have to wait a little longer.  When Jay Wright finally called on him to start against Seton Hall, in a game Villanova desperately needed, Dwayne delivered once again.  He had 13 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, a blocked shot, and to top it all off he hit the game-winning three-pointer with 13 seconds left.  Anderson remained a constant in the starting lineup for the rest of the season, and he continued to deliver every night.  Perhaps his best game of the season was on March 8 at Providence.  He had 17 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 steals.  Dwayne was the key to the team’s turnaround, which is why I named him the MVP for the second half of the season.  In the end I realized why he was named a team captain.

2008-2009 Preview: Dwayne’s great play was a surprise last year, but the difference this year is that the fans and coaches will expect it from him.  He will be under more pressure because of that, but I think he will be able to handle it.  Anderson’s strengths are not in scoring, which is ok because the team is loaded with offensive weapons.  For the team to be successful, Dwayne needs to continue doing all the unheralded things he did last year such as rebounds, steals, blocks, hustle plays, and knocking down the occasional three-pointer.  As a senior captain, he will probably be in the starting five, and based on last season’s performance, he will deserve it.  Hopefully he will use his position of leadership to pass on his hardwork and unselfish attitude to the younger players on the team.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Weekly Player Evaluation: Scottie Reynolds

Player: Scottie Reynolds

2007-2008 Key Stats: 32.5 minutes, 15.9 points, 3.2 assists, 3.1 rebounds, 1.5 steals, 38.3 3PT%

2007-2008 Review: No Wildcat had higher expectations last season than the reigning Big East Freshmen of the year, Scottie Reynolds.  When all was said and done, he did a fantastic job handling the pressure and fulfilling those expectations.  He scored in double digits in all but six games, highlighted by a 32 point outburst at Cincinnati, a 27 points/ 9 assists game at Temple, and a 25 points/ 8 rebounds/ 5 assists game in the NCAA Tournament versus Siena.  However, Scottie did experience a fair share of struggles during the season.  As the leading scorer and the face of the team, Reynolds took a brunt of the blame for the losses during the team’s slump in the middle of the season.  He also had to adjust to being the main focus of opposing defenses.  Jay Wright tried to start Corey Fisher at point guard and move Reynolds off the ball, and it seemed to work for a while, but Scottie was more comfortable with the ball in his hands.  Once he moved back to the point, Scottie played much better and carried the team to the NCAA Tournament.

2008-2009 Preview: Scottie is expected to be the leading scorer once again this season.  He should have a better grasp of what his role is.  He will probably spend time playing point guard and shooting guard, but I suspect he will play a majority of the time at the point (with Fisher backing him up).  I project Scottie to have a slight increase in points and assists this year, possibly 18 ppg and 4 apg. At season's end he may seriously be contemplating a jump to the NBA.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Weekly Player Evaluation: Corey Stokes

Player: Corey Stokes

2007-2008 Key Stats: 6.4 points, 2.4 rebounds, 88.1 FT%

2007-2008 Review: As a highly touted freshmen and McDonald’s All-American, Corey Stokes had a disappointing start to the season.  Stokes was a high school superstar, but he had difficulty adjusting to the college game.  He didn’t reach double figures in scoring until midway through the season.  In February he seemed to have figured it out, and by the end of the season he joined the starting five and was one of the best players on the team.  He averaged 12 points per game over the last twelve games, and scored a season-high 20 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament versus Siena.

2008-2009 Preview: Stokes should be a starter this season, possibly at the shooting guard or small forward position.  I will expect him to pick up right where he left off at the end of last season.  He is the best three-point shooter on the team, and with NBA range, he is one player who definitely won’t have trouble adjusting to the newly extended three-point line.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he is the second leading scorer on the team behind Scottie Reynolds this season.  

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Weekly Player Evaluation: Casiem Drummond

Player: Casiem Drummond

2007-2008 Key Stats: 4.9 points, 4.5 rebounds, 0.6 blocks, 52.4 FG%

2007-2008 Review: Casiem had a solid start to the season, and I thought it was going to be a breakout year for the young big man.  He was a beast on the glass and in the paint, averaging 8.5 rebounds and 1 block per game over the first seven games.  He had a monster game against NC State in which he grabbed 17 boards.  However, he suffered a stress fracture in his foot in early December, and was never the same since.  He played significant minutes in only six of the last twenty-seven games and had fourteen D.N.P.’s.  I think the loss of Drummond was a major cause of the slump Villanova experienced midseason.  He was the starting center and the team’s only real inside presence, and it took a while for the young Wildcats to figure out how to play without him. 

2008-2009 Preview: After the long off-season Drummond should be back to 100% this year.  He will be a key player and might begin the season as the starting center.  When healthy, Casiem is a legitimate double-double threat in points and rebounds.  At 6’10, 275 lbs. Drummond is the only true center on the team.  The team learned how to play without him last season, but I think it will be a major asset to have him on the floor because of his rebounding, shot-blocking, and overall defensive presence.  

Saturday, September 6, 2008

A closer look at the schedule

Villanova opens the 2008-2009 season versus Albany at the Pavilion. Bilal Benn will make his return to the Pavilion in Villanova's opening game of the Philly Classic against Niagara. Villanova won't face a real threat until the final round of the Philly Classic when they will play either Penn State or Rhode Island. As usual the Wildcats will playfour Big 5 games, with the biggest tests coming from Temple and St. Joseph's, teams that both made the NCAA Tournament last season. The highlight of the non-conference schedule is Texas, at Madison Square Garden as a part of the Jimmy V Classic. Villanova will play a total of eighteen Big East games, with home-and-homes against Marquette, Syracuse, and Providence.

My early season prediction is that Villanova goes undefeated in non-conference play and 12-6 in the Big East to finish 25-6 on season, making their fifth straight NCAA Tournament appearance.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

2008-2009 Schedule Released


Nov. 6 (Thursday) NORTHWOOD (exh. at WS)

Nov. 14 (Friday) ALBANY

Nov. 17 (Monday) FORDHAM

Nov. 19 (Wednesday) NIAGARA (Philly Classic)

Nov. 25 (Tuesday) MONMOUTH (Philly Classic)

Nov. 28 (Friday) vs.Towson (Philly Classic at Palestra)

Nov. 29 (Saturday) vs. Penn State or Rhode Island (Philly Classic at Palestra)

Dec. 2 (Tuesday) at Penn+

Dec. 4 (Thursday) HOUSTON BAPTIST

Dec. 9 (Tuesday) vs. Texas (Madison Square Garden-ESPN)

Dec. 11 (Thursday) SAINT JOSEPH'S+ (ESPN2)

Dec. 14 (Sunday) at La Salle+

Dec. 22 (Monday) NAVY

Dec. 29 (Monday) TEMPLE+

Jan. 1 (Thursday) at Marquette* (ESPN)

Jan. 6 (Tuesday) at Seton Hall*

Jan. 10 (Saturday) LOUISVILLE*(WC - ESPN)

Jan. 18 (Sunday) ST. JOHN'S*

Jan. 21 (Wednesday) at Connecticut*(ESPN)

Jan. 24 (Saturday) at USF*

Jan. 28 (Wednesday) PITTSBURGH* (WS)

Feb. 1 (Sunday) CINCINNATI*

Feb. 4 (Wednesday) at Providence*

Feb. 7 (Saturday) SYRACUSE* (WC - ESPN)

Feb. 10(Tuesday) MARQUETTE*(ESPN2)

Feb. 13(Friday) at West Virginia*(ESPN)

Feb. 19 (Thursday) RUTGERS* (ESPN or ESPN2)

Feb. 22(Sunday) at Syracuse* (CBS)

Feb. 25 (Wednesday) at DePaul*

Feb. 28 (Saturday) GEORGETOWN*(WC-ESPN)

Mar. 2 (Monday) at Notre Dame* (ESPN)

Mar. 5 (Thursday) PROVIDENCE*(ESPN or ESPN2)

Mar. 10-14 (Tues.-Sat.) Big East Tournament (ESPN/ESPN2)

HOME GAMES IN CAPS played at The Pavilion unless otherwise noted

* Denotes BIG EAST Conference game

+ Denotes Philadelphia Big Five game

WC - Game played at Wachovia Center WS - Game played at Wachovia Spectrum

1 - Philly Classic. Early round games at the Pavilion. Nov. 28-29 at Palestra, Philadelphia, Pa.

2 - Jimmy V Classic, Madison Square Garden, New York City.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Randy Foye Interview

Here's an audio interview with Randy Foye on Timberwolves.com. Foye spent his offseason improving his point guard skills by watching tape of Tony Parker and Chris Paul. He also had very good things to say about new teammates Mike Miller and Kevin Love. Despite the team's poor record last season, Randy has high hopes for 2008-2009.