Villanova basketball at a glance

Posted: November 08, 2013

It all comes down to: Can they get by without Mouphtaou Yarou? He was perhaps their most important player at the end of last season. Now they have a bunch of guys who have had their moments both ways. Those learning curves need to keep expanding. Transfer guard Dylan Ennis, who was expected to be a factor, is probably out at least until mid-December with a broken bone in his shooting hand. How much that impacts his growth, and perhaps even some of the other perimeter players, we'll find out.

Shouldering the load: Guard Ryan Arcidiacono got the most minutes on the team last season as a freshman. Maybe too many. That doesn't figure to change, even when Ennis becomes part of the equation. And in the post, 6-7

JayVaughn Pinkston is going to be counted on to fill much of the Yarou void.

Particularly if Daniel Ochefu doesn't learn how to stay out of foul trouble. Because other than freshman Kris Jenkins, who's only 6-6 himself, there aren't many frontcourt options.

Key stretches: There's at least a couple. But we'll go Jan. 25 at Marquette followed by Jan. 27 at Georgetown. They were the top two picks in the preseason poll. Two of the final three games are at home with those guys, sandwiched around a trip to Xavier. And maybe even at Creighton and Providence in 3 days in mid-February.

Quote of note: "In college basketball, you can never have enough guards," coach Jay Wright said. "We feel like all the guards are ready to play and can play our way. I think we're a lot more comfortable in how we're playing . . . And if they're not good enough you don't have too many."

Bottom line: The Wildcats got to the NCAA Tournament last March because they beat three top five teams, all in South Philly, and nationally ranked Marquette on the Main Line. They don't figure to get those kind of opportunities again. They were picked to finish fifth in the new 10-team Big East, which sounds about right. Like most seasons, their postseason fate likely will hinge on a handful of games . Now it becomes a matter of progression. They've shown they can be a good team. This time Wright's looking for more.

Class: Senior

Position: Guard

Height/weight: 6-6, 220

Hometown: Orlando, Fla.

High school: Montverde Academy

Stats: Averaged 8.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.1 steals; shot 73.7 percent at the foul line and 36.4 on three-pointers.

Career highlights: Returning captain, started every game last season, team was 11-2 when he scored at least 10 points ... Made two pivotal treys in overtime last November in a come-from-behind, 89-81 win over Purdue at Madison Square Garden in which he finished with 15 points and eight rebounds ... A former resident of Plainfield, N.J., as a freshman he had a career-high 21 in a three-point win at nearby Seton Hall. He went 7-for-9 from the floor, including 4 of 6 from the arc.

What they’re saying: “He’s got a great sense of purpose, and a great desire to prove himself,” coach Jay Wright said. “I really like where his head is. He doesn’t have to prove anything to me, but I think he believes he does [to himself]. I really think he’s capable of having a big-time year, in a lot of ways. We’re really counting on him.”

What he’s saying: “Coming in, I was probably highly touted. I’ve had some struggles, had some injuries. I feel like everyone’s race is different. I feel like I’m in a good spot. Many people might not expect me to be where I am, but it is what it is. I’m running my race at my pace. I have a lot more to give. I just want to keep getting better, be there for my teammates. I know things these younger guys wouldn’t. I want to be the person who makes sure everyone’s in the right spot, doing the right things. I want to be a good leader, be that coach on the floor.”

Something you didn’t know about Bell: “When I’m not with my team or family or close friends, I’m quiet, reserved. I like video games. I’m a big 2K guy. If I’m not practicing or doing school work or in the gym, I’m probably sleeping or playing that. It kind of just came out. I’m pretty good, though. I’m not bragging, but I don’t lose much. I’ve lost a couple of times, to JayVaughn [Pinkston], Dylan [Ennis]. I get a rematch when I can. I can’t stop until I win. They know that.

“And I like Bahama Breeze. That’s probably my favorite place to eat. My favorite’s pasta, shrimp. I keep it simple. But it’s really good.”

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