Wednesday, August 18, 2010

10 Reasons Playing in Italy is Good for Scottie Reynolds

Scottie Reynolds has decided to take his talents to Italy, and surprisingly, he didn’t need a one-hour special on ESPN to announce it. After going undrafted, Reynolds had a good showing with the Suns in the NBA Summer League, despite not being fully healthy at the time. Scottie averaged 10 points and 5 assists over three games, scoring 16 in his first game and dishing out 9 dimes in his second game. Reynolds was invited to training camp to try to earn a spot on the team, but he and his agents jumped at an offer to play for Prima Veroli of the Italian League Second Division. (The team name is being incorrectly reported as “Prima Verdi” by the US media. Someone with poor eyesight must have mistaken the “ol” for a “d”.) It’s not the dream destination for an AP First Team All-American, but this might not be a bad thing for Reynolds and the Villanova basketball program for the following reasons:

1. C.R.E.A.M.
In the words of the Wu-Tang Clan, "Cash rules everything around me." Lee Melchioni, one of Reynolds’ agents, said, "The offer is something that blew us out of the water." I don’t know the exact figures, but Scottie is presumably making a lot more than the minimum non-guaranteed contracts that are usually offered to undrafted free agents in the NBA.

2. Fine Food and Wine

Scottie will be on a steady diet of some of the world’s best pizza, pasta, and fine wine… On second thought, maybe that’s not the healthiest choice for a professional athlete.

3. Follow the Brandon Jennings Model

Sure, it’s a completely different situation, but Jennings did make the successful transition from Italy to the NBA. Jennings went from averaging 5.5 points per game in Italy, to averaging 15.5 in the NBA, scoring 55 points in one game, and making the All-Rookie First Team. Despite Jennings’ hype and talent, he still couldn’t average more than 15 minutes a game for Lottomatica Roma, which attests to the high-caliber of play in Italy as well as their disdain for entitled Americans. So Scottie will need to play hard and earn the respect of his Italian coaches and teammates.

4. Beautiful Women and Beautiful Beaches
Hmm… maybe I’ll follow Scottie to Italy and start blogging about Prima Veroli.

5. The World's Game

If basketball doesn’t work out, Scottie can take up Italy’s most popular sport, soccer. I could see him heading in some goals as a striker. Or he could just become of a fan of AC Milan, as long as he brings a gas mask to the games.

6. EuroTrip!

With Reggie Redding playing in Cyprus, he and Scottie can now recreate the plot of EuroTrip and backpack across Europe together, blasting the song “Scotty Doesn’t Know” along the way. Just be careful that the trip doesn’t suddenly turn into the movie Hostel.

7. The History

There’s the leaning tower of Pisa in Tuscany, the Colosseum in Rome, the gondolas in Venice, and the Vatican. Plus there's plenty of churches and cathedrals, so Scottie won't have to worry about being late for Sunday afternoon games.

8. Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Donatello
I’m talking about the famous artists, although it would be pretty cool if the Ninja Turtles were hiding out somewhere in the hills of Tuscany. Scottie can see firsthand the Sistine Chapel, the statue of David, and many other masterpieces located in the art museums of Italy.

9. Family Reunion

Two other prominent members of the Villanova basketball family currently play in Italy, Allan Ray and Mike Nardi. Scottie will be competing against his former backcourt mate from 2006-07, as Nardi plays for Nuova Pallacanestro Pavia in the same league. A-Ray plays in the top division, however, and after sitting out the 2009–10 season to recover from knee surgery, he has signed with Sutor Montegranaro for the 2010-11 season.

10. Clooney Knows Best

If superstar actor and Jay Wright doppelganger George Clooney owns a villa on Lake Como in Lombardy, you know Italy is the place to be.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Farewell to King

After initially deciding to leave the basketball team but stay at the University, Taylor King has announced his intentions to leave Villanova for good and transfer to USC. Rather than speculating on why King has left two different prestigious institutions (Villanova and Mater Dei High School) and Duke on equivocal terms, let’s search deep within the archives of Nova News to take a look back at the highlights of TK’s short stint as a Wildcat.

April 2008 - King announces he will transfer from Duke to Villanova, stating, “It just couldn't be a better fit for me... I asked blunt questions, but I wanted everything they offered. They la
id down their game plan for me and I couldn't resist.”

March 2009 - King was forced to sit out the entire 2008-2009 season after transferring, and he could not travel with the team, but that didn’t stop him from paying his own way to Boston and cheering on his teammates from the stands as they beat his former team, Duke, and then Pitt, to advance to the Final Four.

November 16, 2009 - After his debut against Farliegh Dickinson...
“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.”

November 17, 2009 - After only his second game with Villanova, I was firmly on the Taylor King bandwagon.
“Taylor King - Plays like a madman... I love it. He grabbed three rebounds in less than a minute after entering the game, then drained a three. He also made the Dwayne Anderson signature dive from behind steal. 14 points and 7 rebounds in the game... you can can see he's already turning into a crowd favorite.”

November 23, 2009 - He was able to laugh it off afterwards since Nova won the game, but this is a nominee for King’s most embarrassing moment as a Wildcat. (There’s more).
“Yes, Taylor King actually did airball a free throw. His 3-point shooting (0-4) was off also, but he brings a lot more to the game than just shooting. He had 9 points, 11 rebounds, 2 steals, an assist, and he could have had a double-double if he made that free throw. He also showed off his hops with a nice one-handed slam.”

December 3, 2009 - King dazzled the Pavilion crowd in a win over Drexel, but had some harsh words for the fans after the game.
“Taylor King had a big game off the bench with 16 points and 5 rebounds. He was feeling it from downtown, hitting 4 threes. He also had another Dwayne-Anderson-signature-dive-from-behind-steal, sending the crowd into a frenzy. Although, he made a curious statement after the game: "I heard the crowd a little bit and I like that. I don't feed off the crowd, though. I hear them but I am only playing for my coaches and teammates." I'd like to think he is playing for his fellow students and the fans as well.”

December 10, 2009 - This might have been King’s best game and proudest moment at Villanova, although it also involved the second nominee for most embarrassing moment.
“Taylor King delivered the dagger to kill the Hawk with a deep 3-pointer at the 1:31 mark, to put Villanova up by seven… Taylor King played his best game as a Wildcat with 20 points and 9 rebounds in his sixth man role. King showed great perseverance in this game. He missed all four of his 3-point attempts in the first half, yet remained confident in his lefty stroke and made all four of his shots from downtown in the second half. King had an embarrassing moment on a break-away when he was rejected by the rim and missed the dunk. However, he returned to the game aggressive, looking to make up for it, and he did.”

January 3, 2010 - My New Year’s prediction for King was slightly off...
“Game Thoughts: King had an average game (6 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists), though he continues to impress with his rebounding ability.
New Year's Resolution: To stay patient on offense and let the guards create open shots. He is not as effective at creating his own shot off the dribble.
2010 Prediction: King will score 24 points against Duke in the NCAA Tournament, and two rounds earlier Villanova will beat Miami despite a heroic 37-point outburst from Malcolm Grant.”

January 7, 2010 - DePaul post-game interviews will never be the same now that Jerry Wainwright’s been fired. Here’s what he said about King, “he has range that might start back in Piscataway. He is insane.”

January 10, 2010 - I nominate this for scariest moment of his career.
“Taylor King layed on the floor in pain for several minutes after busting his head and shoulder.”

January 24, 2010 - I guess I’ll have to recast this show…
“Monday 10:00 PM
"Saved by the Bell: The College Years II (The New New Class)"
A reboot of the sequel to the hit series. Featuring Taylor King as California beach bum Zack Morris, Antonio Pena as muscle-bound A.C. Slater, Maurice Sutton as the wacky Screech Powers, and Ed Pinckney as the former sports star who returns to school as an R.A.”

February 9, 2010 - King proved he was more than just a soft outside shooter.
“It was like a game within a game watching Taylor King and ...pause for spell check... Deniz Kilicli battle in the post. King was ice cold shooting the ball (0-6), but he pulled down 8 rebounds and blocked 3 shots.”

February 22, 2010 - This is when the wheels on the Taylor King bandwagon started to fall off…
“Taylor King has failed to score in double figures for 10 straight games. His 3-point shot has been off, which may be the result of tired legs. The 6'6 King has been forced to play out of position at power forward against players much bigger and stronger, yet he has held his own on the boards (5.8 rpg).”

February 25, 2010 - If basketball doesn’t work out for King, I’ve got the Olympic sport for him…
“Taylor King - Snowboard Halfpipe
King is from Huntington Beach, California, so he probably knows how to surf, which will make for an easy transition to the snow. He just needs to grow his hair out to fit in with Shaun White.”

March 9, 2010 - The beginning of the end?
“Taylor King might be out for the rest of the season. That hurts, but luckily Nova has the depth to deal with it.”

March 11, 2010 - He sat out Nova’s Round 1 game in the BET, then…
“13:00 - Taylor King is in! I don't know why he was out, but I'm glad he's back. (Note: King would leave the game after two minutes and never return. So never mind that unfounded excitement.)”

March 18, 2010 - In King’s last hurrah, he helped Nova avoid a first round upset in the NCAA Tournament.
“With a fresh haircut, King rediscovered his lefty stroke to score 10 points off the bench, his first time reaching double digits since early January. However, he only played 15 minutes. Jay Wright made some odd choices with his rotation today. At least King seems to be past whatever personal issues he was battling, which is a good sign.”

King's final per-game stats for the season: 7.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 0.6 assists, 0.5 blocks, 0.7 steals, .421 FG%, .364 3P%, .738 FT%.