With game one in the books, we have a clearer picture of what we've got with this team. The first two words that come to mind after watching the win over Farliegh Dickinson are youth and depth. All five freshmen played in the game, with Mouph Yarou, Dom Cheek, and Maalik Wayns logging major minutes. The youth showed early as the Wildcats had a rough time in the first half, trailing at times and leading by only one at halftime. However, Nova's depth overpowered FDU in the second half en route to the 84-61 blowout everyone was expecting. With a team that goes ten-deep (and eleven-deep when Redding returns) Jay Wright tinkered with several different lineups, including one with all three point guards playing together, a bigger lineup with one point guard and four players 6'5+ in height, and an all-freshman lineup. It's clear at this point that even Jay isn't entirely sure what he has with this team yet, and the lineups will continue to shuffle with frequency until he figures it out. Another thing to keep in mind is that preseason ranks mean nothing. Yes, Villanova is ranked very high in the polls and they have a lot of expectations, but Notre Dame was ranked in the preseason top ten last year and failed to even make the NCAA Tournament.
Without further adieu let's take a look at a player-by-player assessment of the first game...
The Starting Five
PG - Corey Fisher - Picked up right where he left off last season, and looked like the best player on the floor with a balanced game of 13 points, 4 assists, and 4 rebounds.
SG - Scottie Reynolds - Struggled mightily shooting the ball (2-10 fg, 0-4 3pt) and got himself into foul trouble. This is not the way he wanted to begin his senior campaign.
SF - Corey Stokes - Caught fire from downtown (5-10 3pt) in the second half to finish with a game-high 20 points.
PF - Antonio Pena - Had a near double-double (9 pts, 10 reb), dished out 3 assists, and picked up only one personal foul in 32 minutes. Pena's strong play might have been the most encouraging outcome of the game.
C - Mouphtaou Yarou - Looked like a man out there... wait, bad choice of words. 6 points, 3 rebounds and a block aren't the most overwhelming stats, but he showed a nice touch from the midrange. He's obviously still very raw, but with his size and athleticism his future looks promising.
Taylor King - We knew he could shoot the ball, but King really impressed me with his rebounding (7) and tenacity. He actually reminded me of Dwayne Anderson, which is a pleasant surprise.
Dominic Cheek - He's certainly not shy to shoot. After missing the first shot of his college career, he came right back and made the next to lead the freshmen in scoring with 8.
Casiem Drummond - Looked like he lost a lot of weight this year-- what's that? Oh, right. That was Maalik Wayns sporting the #5 jersey. Wayns has that "Kyle Lowry-like" ability to drive to the basket. He had 6 points and a couple of assists.
Maurice Sutton - Looked better than I expected. He had a block and a monstrous put-back slam.
Isaiah Armwood - Was the odd man out of the rotation, only playing one minute.