The Villanova basketball team will likely start the season having seven players seeing significant playing time. Later on in the season, freshmen Phil Booth and Makil Bridges could see their playing time increase when they have shown they have a better grasp of the playbook.
Here is a positional breakdown of how minutes will be divided up for every player.
Junior Ryan Arcidiacono returns as the teams starting point guard. He led the team in minutes played and assists per game as he averaged 32 minutes per game last year and 4 assists per game . He was an ALL-BIG EAST honorable mention his sophomore season.
The wildcats will be without back up point guard Tony Chennault this year since he graduated. This means that someone is going to have to step up and make up for the 15 minutes per game he played. Chennault appeared in all 34 games last season. He was a tough, hard-nosed point guard who left it all on the floor every time out.
Incoming freshman Phil Booth will likely be the back up point guard as the only other point guard on the team, Henry Lowe, appeared in only eight games last season. Hopefully Booth is able to understand the playbook quickly so he is not a liability when he is called to give Arcidiacono a breather.
The shooting guard position is one of deeper positions on the Villanova team. As of right now, it is unclear who the team’s starting shooting guard is come opening night. With the departure of James Bell, it appears that Darrun Hilliard will move from the shooting guard position which he played all of last year to small forward. This leaves the team without a starting shooting guard. Villanova has a couple candidates who are more than capable to start at the position.
The first candidate is Dylan Ennis who appeared in 30 games as a reserve for the Wildcats last season. Ennis is an explosive scoring guard who averaged 5.2 points per outing is his first year of action with Villanova. Heading into summer camp, Ennis has a fair shot at being named the team’s starting shooting guard.
The other player who is fighting to win the starting job is Josh Hart. Hart was named to the BIG EAST All-Rookie team last as he average 7.8 points and 4.0 rebounds per outing in his first season with the Wildcats. Hart was a pleasant surprise last year for Villanova as not many people were expecting him to put up the numbers he did. Like Ennis, he is a fair chance at being named the starting shooting guard.
Villanova’s second leading scorer from a season ago Darrun Hilliard will make the move to small forward after he primarily played his first three seasons at the shooting guard position. There is not much difference between the small forward and shooting guard position anymore so this should not be a difficult transition for him to make.
One of the more intriguing backup position battles will be at the small forward position between returning sophomore Kris Jenkins and incoming freshman Makil Bridges. Jenkins appeared in all 34 games last season as a reserve. He averaged 4.1 points per game and shot nearly 40 percent from the 3-point line. Jenkins should start the season as the backup depending on how quickly Bridges progresses.
JayVaugh Pinkston returns as teams starting power forward. Pinkston had a stellar junior season that saw him average 14. 1 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. The power forward position is not one of great depth for the Wildcats as backup Darryl Reynolds only appeared in 20 games last season averaging 1.0 rebound per contest. Reynolds is expected to have more of a role with the team this year. The Wildcats need him to contribute off the bench.
The BIG EAST most improved player from a year ago is back and ready for his junior season. Daniel Ochefu had an outstanding sophomore year that saw him make serious improvements to his game. He led the team in rebounding at 6.4 rebounds per game as well as blocked shots with 55 on the season. He started every game but one last season.
The center position has the least amount of depth on the team as they do not have another true center on the roster besides Ochefu. This is why it is even more important for backup power Reynolds to have more an impact this year.