Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Tweets 2010

This is an updated version of last year's post.

I searched across the far-reaches of the interweb and Twitterland to find out what everybody in the Nova basketball community is thankful for this Thanksgiving.*

Klow7: @AaronBrooks Thanks for faking that injury so I can start.

randyfoye: I'm thankful that I have a front-row seat to watch the Blake Griffin Show.

Dante33: Thank God I don't have the injury luck of @Greg_Oden.

TimThomas: @sportsguy33 Thanks for the kind words and support from your columns.

SReynolds1: @Italy Thanks, but no thanks...

MouphTheProof: @JamesNaismith Thanks for inventing a game that can take me from Africa to America.

BringThePena: Thanks to Strength Coach Lon Record for continuing to make me even more of a beast this year.

FisherPrice: Thanks to all the NYC streetballers who taught me my moves. (All 105 of you...)

DomCheek: @CoachBobHurley Thanks for helping me get to Villanova.

Stokes24: Thanks to my bro for making these songs.

MoSutton: Thanks to my family for giving me good basketball genes and a 6'11 frame.

iArm34: Thanks @KDthunderup for the high school memories.

WaynsWorld: @jameernelson, @Klow7 Thanks for teaching me how to play like a Philly guard, and @FisherPrice and @SReynolds1 for teaching me how to play like a Villanova guard.

WootenForNova: Thanks for a blow-out @Lafayette so I could get onto the stat sheet with one rebound.

JVPinkston: Thanks to my coaches, my teammates, and all of Nova Nation for supporting me through this tough time.

DOuano4: Thank you student section for going wild anytime I touch the ball.

JayWright: @RollieMass Thank you for teaching me everything I know.

*By searching across the interweb, I meant completely make this up myself.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

It's Wayns' World, We're Just Living In It

Villanova is already three games into the 2010-2011 season, and not surprisingly, the Cats are undefeated following wins over Bucknell (68-52), Marist (84-47), and Boston University (82-66). What is surprising is the superb play of sophomore guard Maalik Wayns. Everyone was expecting Wayns to take a leap in production in his second year, but this has been a Grand Canyon sized leap. Maalik’s been the best player on the floor for the Wildcats, which is really saying something considering his backcourt-mate is a preseason top 50 candidate for the Wooden Award, Corey Fisher. Fisher hasn’t scored 105 points yet, but it’s not like he has been disappointing either. After all, Fisher Price is leading the team in scoring at 16.7 points per game.

In the words of Yoda, speaking about Rajon Rondo, “Scoring a great point guard does not make.” Don’t get me wrong, Wayns does plenty of scoring too, averaging a team second-best 14.7 points per game, but it’s his assists (7.3 per game) and rebounding (5.7 per game) that have been most impressive. Wayns looks like a legitimate threat to record Nova’s first triple-double since Jason Fraser’s 22 points, 15 rebounds, 11 broken bones game in 2003. Most recently, Wayns put up a Rondoian stat line of 12 points, 6 rebounds, and 12 assists against BU. Yet unlike Rondo, Wayns can actually shoot too. In three games, Wayns has already made double the amount of 3-pointers (4) that Rondo has made in 11 games this season (2).

It’s not all about statistics, however; just ask the Baseball Writers Association of America. Maalik Wayns has an uncanny ability to control the game with his speed. I’ve never seen a player fly by defenders with such ease, while driving coast to coast for a lay-up. It's natural to want to compare this great Villanova point guard from Philly to the last great Villanova point guard from Philly, Kyle Lowry. Lowry relentlessly went at bigger defenders trying to draw contact when driving to the basket, but Wayns is so fast that he drives past defenders to get to the basket for uncontested lay-ups. Because of his speed, passing, and shooting, Wayns’ game most resembles Ty Lawson of the Denver Nuggets, who just so happens to have an NCAA Championship to his name.

In addition to the dynamic backcourt duo of Fisher and Wayns, the rest of the Wildcats supporting cast has looked good as well. The seniors are doing what we expected of them; Corey Stokes (10.3 ppg) is draining open threes (6 of 18 so far) and Antonio Pena is scoring (10 ppg) and rebounding (7 rpg) in the post. Mouphtaou Yarou still looks raw, but he’s been able to simply overpower smaller opponents with his size, strength, and athleticism, to the tune of 8.3 points, 6 rebounds, and almost 2 blocks per game. The real test will come next week when Nova faces UCLA in the semifinals of the NIT. Dominic Cheek (9 ppg) just might be the Big East Sixth Man of the Year. Cheek scored 15 points off the bench against Marist, and he has displayed a drastically improved jump shot (.444 3P%) so far this season. Maurice Sutton had a monster game against Marist (13 points, 9 rebounds, 2 blocks), but it’s more realistic to expect something closer to the 2 points and 3 rebounds he averaged in the other two games. Sutton had similarly strong games against the smaller mid-major teams early last season, but his production later tailed off during Big East play. Isaiah Armwood’s opportunities are limited (2.7 ppg, 2.3 rpg), but Wayns and Fisher have set him up for some open dunks under the basket, and Armwood knows how to finish strong. With Pinkston sidelined, the team only goes eight deep right now, which is actually a more suitable rotation size than the eleven man carousel of players Jay Wright had to juggle last season. Although, now it is more crucial that these top eight stay healthy all season, and if they do, this team can really go places.

Friday, November 12, 2010

I Immediately Regret This Decision

Villanova freshman JayVaughn Pinkston has been charged with two counts of simple assault and harassment after a fight at a frat party last weekend. Pinkston will be still practice with the team, but he will be sitting out of games for now, while the school reviews the case. This is terrible news for both JayVaughn and the school, and hopefully it's just an isolated incident of immaturity, and he learns from his mistake. Anyway, let's take a look at the reports "Fire Joe Morgan style" to try to make sense of the situation.

"As a result of the fight, which broke out about 3:30 a.m..."
There's his first mistake. Everybody knows nothing good happens at 3:30 in the morning.

"Pinkston was charged by Upper Merion Township Police Thursday for his part in a fracas at the Sigma Phi Epsilon House."
Well, James Naismith was a former "SigEp", so I'll give Pinkston the benefit of the doubt and assume he was there to brush up on his basketball history. Plus how bad can a "fracas" be?

""[He] started bleeding a lot. It turned into a whole brawl. . . . Someone hit [the second frat brother] and he went unconscious."
Okay, apparently a fracas is pretty bad, but surely there was a good reason why Pinkston became so angry.

"Pinkston was locked inside a room with a female..."
Still searching for a reason to be angry...

Pinkston "
had to break down the door to escape."
Now he sounds like an action movie star. Though I'm still not sure why he was in such a rush to get out of there.

"...he was locked inside of the house's laundry room..."
Okay, say no more. Frat house... dirty laundry... Being locked in with that smell is enough to drive any man to violence.

"Pinkston and his friends were waiting for a ride outside the house."
Good idea JayVaughn. It was a stupid college frat boy prank. Just forget it and get out of there.

""[The first frat brother] was taunting him [about the laundry room], said it was disrespectful and then Jayvaughn turned around and punched [him] in the face," the witness said... The co-ed said that Pinkston was provoked by the jealous fraternity brother."
Come on, this frat boy kind of had it coming. However, because Pinkston is a big college basketball star, an incident like this is going to draw national news attention. If Pinkston was a regular student, maybe a fight like this is dismissed as drunk college kids acting stupid, and both parties forget about it. Fair or not, student-athletes like Pinkston live under a microscope, and they have to realize that their actions have consequences.

"Police said a man was taken to Bryn Mawr Hospital, and that an assault report had been filed."
Then there's also the fact that JayVaughn is 6-foot-7 and a former boxer. If he hits someone, they're going down.

"I think I came here with some toughness," says Pinkston"
You can say that again.

""Before I played basketball," he says, "I used to box." For a period of four years, between the ages of seven and 11, Pinkston dabbled in competitive boxing in junior Golden Gloves tournaments. Even at that point in his life, he was gifted with a dose of size and power. In particular, he recalls his first match just before he turned eight years of age. "I knocked a kid out," he recalls."

Yeah... apparently that frat brother missed this Nova Notebook article last month.

"I'll watch (boxing) once in a blue," he says, "but not much more than that."
Local weather reports indicate the moon was Villanova blue that night.

"Jay Wright added,JayVaughn is very aware of the seriousness of this matter and how it could impact the team. He understands there is a great lesson to be learned here.”"
Let's hope he learned his lesson and can get back on the court as soon as possible. After all, JayVaughn is still just an 18 year-old kid, and we've all made our share of mistakes as teenagers.