Villanova basketball: Who has to step up next season?

As I have noted in some of my previous articles related to Villanova basketball, the Wildcats head into next season returning a great deal of experience as they only lost two seniors from last year’s roster. The Wildcats’ experience will definitely play into their favor early in the season when they face young, inexperienced teams.

Although Villanova is bringing back most of the same players from the last season, they are still going to need players to step up and fill the void left but James Bell and Tony Chennault. Ryan Arcidiacono and Darrun Hillard are two players that come to mind that will be looked to become more leaders on and off the court next season. an

Here is a profile of both Chennault and Bell’s role on the team.Tony Chennault

Tony Chennault transferred to Villanova from Wake Forest after his sophomore season to be closer to home and be with his mother who had been very ill. Chennault attended Neumann-Goretti High School in Philadelphia, and he played like most Philadelphia guards have been known to play, tough and smart. At Villanova, Chennault could be described as player who brought toughness, experience, and defensive tenacity to the Wildcats’ backcourt. He knew his role and was an excellent backup to Arcidiacono at the point guard position. The Wildcats are going to miss Chennault and everything he brought to the team.

Freshman Phil Booth is the front runner to become the Wildcats’ new backup point guard heading into the season. Although Booth has yet to play a collegiate game at Villanova, he is the most talented point guard on the roster behind Arcidiacono.

Booth had a tremendous High School Career at Mount St. Joesph in Baltimore, Maryland. Booth is a solid, fundamentally sound guard with the ability to shoot the ball from the outside. He should fit nicely into the Jay Wright’s system once he gets comfortable in it and ultimately will be a solid backup to Arcidiacono.

James BellOut of the two seniors lost to graduation, James Bell will be the tougher one to replace for obvious reasons. Not only was Bell Villanova’s best overall player last season, he was also the team’s leader. Bell enhanced his game significantly during his time at Villanova, as he improved in just about every statistical category every season which is a credit to his outstanding work ethic. Bell will be missed next season, but with Bell’s departure comes the opportunity for other players to see more playing time and have more of a role on the team.

Darrun Hilliard is the guy who will likely be look towards to make up for the loss of Bell. By that I mean he will be looked upon to take more shots and pull down more rebounds.  Last year Hilliard had his best season yet as a Wildcat, averaging 14.4 points per game which was second on the team behind only Bell. Hilliard will also be asked to be more of a vocal leader now the he is a senior and his more reasonability on and off the court. If Hilliard can build off the season he had last year, Villanova should be in good shape to have another successful season next year.