Villanova Basketball Preview: Checking in on the National Champions


By Jack Woodard, Staff Writer


It will certainly be hard for the Villanova Wildcats to have a better season than last year when they gave the school its second national championship, the first since 1985.  The Wildcats have lost two stars from last year’s team in Daniel Ochefu and Ryan Arcidiacono.  They also lost Henry Lowe, Patrick Farrell, and Kevin Rafferty,  three of their walk-on players who came into the game when the team was up by a lot. 

Despite the losses suffered, the team also gained more players.  The team recruited Eric Paschall, a redshirt sophomore transfer from Fordham, Donte DiVincenzo, and Tim Delaney. Both of these sophomores are returning from injuries that ended their seasons last year.  Two freshmen, Dylan Painter and Omari Spellman, also joined the squad. However, Spellman will be suspended this year.  The team is led by seniors Kris Jenkins and Josh Hart.  During the offseason, there were worries that the two may go to the NBA, but they chose to stay for their final year at Villanova.  Darryl Reynolds, who is also a senior, will have big shoes to fill at center, as he is taking over for Daniel Ocehfu.  This team certainly has the talent to live up to the expectations, but the question is if they will be able to do so.

 The bar has been raised even higher for Villanova for this season after an outstanding NCAA Tournament last year, ending with the Kris Jenkins buzzer-beater against North Carolina in the National Championship.

 “The expectations for the players are very high, because of the great season last year.  This can either be good as players to play harder or bad in response to having a lot of pressure put on them. This team may even be better than last year, I think it’s going to be a good season,” said Villanova basketball fan, freshman, Patrick Orapello.  

 The season will start against Lafayette at the Pavilion.  Six days later, the Wildcats will be in the Gildan Charleston Classic.  Fans should expect wins in this early season tournament, as Villanova has won these in-season tournaments for the past 3 seasons.  Villanova will have some tough games on their schedule when they face Notre Dame and Virginia.  Every Big East game will be a battle and the Big Five opponents can’t be overlooked either.  It will be a large task to accomplish what last year’s team did, but this year’s Wildcats team is predicted to do even better.  Only time will tell.