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Villanova Basketball Preview: Guards

Once known as Guard U, Villanova has seen its wealth of talent at the guard position diminish over the past few seasons.  With the loss of Maalik Wayns and Dominic Cheek, Jay Wright finds himself with an unexperienced but deep frontcourt.  Sean Burke tackles part two of Khandyman Sports’ Villanova preview as he breaks down the guards.

Starters

PG Ryan Arcidiacono, Freshman

Once the Big East figures out how to pronounce his name, they will be very afraid of the sharpshooting freshman.  Arcdiacono averaged 20.3 points as a junior at Neshaminy two years ago, but a broken back held him out of his senior year.  The 6-3 guard out of Langhorne, PA will most likely start at point guard for Jay Wright after the transfer of Ty Johnson.  The fans will learn quickly if the 7th ranked point guard in the nation will be a boom or a bust.

SG Tony Chennault, Junior

After transfering to the Main Line from Wake Forest, Chennault will immediately be allowed to play due to an exception made by the NCAA.  The 6-2 guard will start at shooting guard, but no one would be surprised if he took the point when Arcidiacono is resting or struggling.  He averaged 9.0 points per game at WF, and his production should increase this year as he steps into a greater role with the Cats.  Chennault, along with Arcidiacono, will be expected to pick up the slack left by Wayns and Cheek as far as scoring is concerned.  If they can hit their shots and open up things down low, these Cats could pull off an upset or two.  Expect 12 points and 5 assists each game from Chennault.

Bench Players 

PG Darrun Hilliard, Sophomore

Hilliard averaged 4.8 points in 18.1 minutes per game last season, and is looking to build on a decent freshman year.  He will likely be the first or second guard off the bench, depending on how much Wright likes newcomer Mislav Brzoja.  The 6-6 sophomore is tall for his position, which obviously makes his jump shot more difficult to block.  Hilliard should see improvement from last year, and average at least 6 points as a sub.

James Bell goes up for a shot as a sophomore last season.

SG/SF James Bell, Junior

He is listed as a guard on the roster, but Bell plays the small forward position for the Wildcats.  That starting spot is occupied by sophomore JayVaughn Pinkston, but Bell is his first backup.  If Pinkston, Mouphtaou Yarou, or Maurice Sutton need a break, Bell will most likely enter the game and become a third guard.  His .361 three-pointer percentage makes him an asset, but his 7.0 points per game will need to increase in is junior year if he is to be relied on.  Also, it would be nice if he lowered his turnover rate to less than 1 per game, compared to 1.3 as a sophomore.

SG Mislav Brzoja, Freshman

Brzoja comes to the Wildcats from Croatia looking to soothe their three-point shooting woes.  According to philly.com, he averaged 15.0 points, 1.9 assists, and 2.3 steals in the European u-18 championships while leading his country to victory.  He also shot 34% from downtown in the tourney.  Look for Brzoja to challenge Hilliard for the first guard spot off the bench.

SG Archaf Yacoubou, Sophomore

After occupying a deep bench position last season, Yacoubou will certaintly look to make more of an impact in 2012-13.  He average 2.2 points per game in 10.6 minutes last season, but expect him to improve.  Look for the sophomore to play at least half the game and put in more than 5 points per contest.

G Nick McMahon, Junior

McMahon played just two minutes last season, and they came in the first game of the year where the Cats blew out Monmouth.  In those two minutes, the only stat he produced was one turnover.  2012-13 should be no different, and I would be shocked to see McMahon in the game that the Cats are up by less than 25 points.

G Henry Lowe, Freshman

Unless Lowe shocks Jay Wright in practice, the walk-on should not see the court in 2012-13.  Give him a year or two to develop.

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Categories: CBB, Villanova

Author:Sean Burke

Sean Burke is a Villanova beat writer for Khandyman Sports and also contributes to the Eagles section. Sean currently resides in Glen Mills, PA.

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