We’re not used to talking Villanova basketball in August, but that was the topic of discussion today on the Main Line as the men’s basketball team prepared for its upcoming trip to Europe.
The Wildcats leave Sunday and will play five games, including two in Paris (Aug. 9-10) and three at EuroJam 2011 in Amsterdam (Aug. 12-14). Villanova will face the national teams of Israel, the Netherlands, and Georgia at EuroJam 2011.
This should be a good test for the Wildcats who are without senior leaders on the court this season. Coach Jay Wright was looking forward to seeing how his juniors and sophomores have improved since the team exited the NCAA tournament in the first round this past March.
“Playing against national teams, many of whom have adult and professional players, will show us what improvements have been made, and what still needs work,” he said.
Junior guard Maalik Wayns is looking forward to heading overseas to play against the competition there, as is sophomore James Bell who recently competed overseas in for the U.S. in the U-19 tournament. Bell is excited to be playing the upcoming set of games with the guys he’ll be playing alongside for the next three years at Villanova.
JayVaughn Pinkston, who missed almost the entire 2010-11 season for an off-campus altercation, is looking forward to putting the last eight months behind him. After working eight hours a day to pay his rent and pass the time, he’s readjusting to a college class schedule and just wants to do what he has to do to be a good teammate.
Villanova will have a much different look this year. Gone are guards Corey Fisher, Corey Stokes, and forward Antonio Pena (who showed up today with Mike Nardi, Dwayne Anderson, and others to scrimmage the current Wildcats).
The Cats welcome back Pinkston along with a bevy of talented freshman including Marcus Kennedy, Tyrone Johnson, Achraf Yacoubou, and Darrun Hilliard.
It will be interesting to see if Jay Wright will implement more offensive plays for this young team that is vastly different (in size and skill set) from his guard heavy teams of the past. This trip overseas will help the players and the coaching staff see exactly what to expect for the upcoming season.
To view a full photo gallery and video of today’s practice…