Sunday, May 30, 2010

Villanova Players by The Number: 21 is for Harold Pressley

Forward 1982-1986
A starting forward on the 1985 National Championship team, Harold Pressley was the team's best interior scorer not named Ed Pinckney.  Pressley came to Villanova  from the state of Connecticu as a heralded recruit (McDonald's All-American) and left after having one of the finer careers a Villanova player has ever had.  According to my dad (who is over 50) Harold Pressley had one of the greatest senior years in Villanova History and judging from my cursory examination of stats I can't argue with him.  In essence, Harold Pressley was a rich man's Dante Cunningham, except he didn't have the responsibilities as a center that Dante did. 

Friday, May 28, 2010

Villanova Players by The Number: 20 is for Alvin Williams

Guard, 1993-1997
The one thing that bothers me about the spite toward Steve Lappas is the failure to recognize some of the great players Villanova has ever had.  Alvin Williams falls into the category of underappreciated Villanova stars.  A point guard from Germantown Academy, Alvin was the floor general of the most exciting Villanova team in history, dishing the ball to the likes of Kerry Kittles, Eric Eberz, Jason Lawson and Chuck Kornegay.  After the graduation of Kittles and EberzWilliams became the focal point of the offense in the 1996-97 season pairing with Tim Thomas to form a formidable offensive duo.  During his senior season, he averaged over 17 points a game while running the point (with some help from John Celestand.)  When I think of Alvin, I remember his smile and his ability to take control on the floor.  The combination of his ability and determination makes his long and prosperous NBA career (which ended in 2007) not surprising at all to someone who saw him play as much as I did.  Until someone changes my mind, Alvin will always be one of my top 5 favorite Wildcats.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Hey Mike Lupica, Go Eat a Dick

While I was browsing the intergoogle recently, I stumbled across an article written last week by (douchenozzle) New York Daily News columnist Mike Lupica about Dr. Anthony Galea.  It's interesting how someone whose magnum opus is a book about how Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa (both of whom were undeniably juicing) saved baseball in 1998 is such a loud and annoying mouthpiece against performance enhancing drugs.  While I agree with you that it's suspicious that all these athletes would see a doctor with obvious connections to drugs, I don't see why you think that the public needs your input to draw their own conclusions regarding Tiger Woods' visits to Galea.  Just because you have a job at a (failing) newspaper and a shitty sunday morning show on ESPN doesn't mean that you're above everyone else.  If you want to write about performance enhancing drugs once a week, start covering cycling.  In the meantime Mike Lupica, go sit on a fat one.

Villanova Players by The Number: 15 is for Malik Allen

Forward/Center, 1996-2000
Perhaps Villanova's last good "big man," Malik Allen turned a good but not great Main Line career into one of the better NBA careers an ex-Villanova player has had in recent memory.  In the nicest way possible, Malik was a project when he came to Villanova, but to his credit he worked his ass off and will live comfortably for the rest of his life because of it.  It's just unfortunate for Malik's sake that he had to play for Steve Lappas..

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Villanova Players by The Number: 14 is for Allan Ray

Guard, 2002-2006
A gifted scorer, Allan Ray was the only player from the Villanova class of 2006 to score more than 2,000 points.  Unfortunately, A-Ray will probably be remembered for the phantom travel against UNC in 2005 and nearly having his eye poked out by Carl Krauser in the 2006 Big East Tournament

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Villanova Players by The Number: 13 is for John Celestand

Guard, 1995-1999
A point guard from Piscataway, New Jersey, John Celestand was initially buried on the depth chart behind Kerry Kittles and Alvin Williams his freshman season.  After his freshman season, Celestand turned into a very good player.  He scored 1227 points in 124 games and averaged over 3.5 assists per game in each of his final three seasons on the Main Line.  After his career, he was drafted in the second round (30th overall) by the Lakers in the 1999 NBA Draft.  He only spent one season in the NBA but during that time, he won a championship.  Now retired from basketball, he is currently a college basketball television commentator and journalist.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Villanova Players by The Number: 12 is for Mike Nardi

Note the tattoo
Guard, 2003-2007
A scrappy guard from North Jersey, Mike Nardi was the second New Jersey player of the year signed by Villanova in as many years.  His contributions were overshadowed because he was never the showcase of the offense but those four guard offenses would not have worked if it wasn't for Nardi.  Mike Nardi is one of those perplexing cases of a very good player who Villanova fans gave a hard time.  Perhaps it was his tattoo that he looked like he got in prison or his chinstrap beard or the fact that his game wasn't "white" enough.  I will always appreciate Nardi's contribution, especially his hand in the development of Scottie Reynolds.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Villanova Players by the Number: 11 is for Paul Arizin

White Chocolate
Forward, 1946-1950
If you take professional success into account, there is no doubt that Paul Arizin is the greatest player in Villanova history.  An incredible story, Arizin went from not even being able to make his high school team to being recognized as one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history.  Discovered by coach Al Severance while shooting baskets on campus as a freshman, Arizin matured into collegiate player of the year in 1950.  Perhaps what Arizin is most famous for has nothing to do with any numbers, but for perfecting the jump shot, a staple of the game since he played.  While Villanova doesn't "retire numbers" it is safe to say that Paul Arizin's #11 will never be worn again by a player at Villanova. 

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Villanova Players by the Number: 10 is for Corey Fisher

Guard 2007-Present
Corey Fisher came to Villanova with understandably high expectations after a great prep career at St. Patrick's HS in Elizabeth, New Jersey.  While he's only been around for three years, he's already scored over 1,000 points and is climbing up the all time assists mark.  Armed with an explosive ability to drive and a vastly improved perimeter game, Fish has become the best true point guard Villanova has had since Alvin Williams graduated.  Next season, when he's out of Scottie Reynolds' big shadow I fully expect him to lead the team in scoring.    

Monday, May 10, 2010

Villanova Players By the Number: 5 is for Ricky Wright

That's about what I remember from The Lappas Era
Forward: 1999-2003
A crossover between the Jay Wright and Steve Lappas era, Ricky Wright played at a time that most Villanova fans want to forget, but statistically speaking, he was a very good player.  Ricky scored 1221 career points, grabbed 731 rebounds and blocked 75 shots.  Although his teams never made it to the NCAA tournament, that was more a function of program instability than anything.  Ricky Wright had Archie Manning disease as he was a good player on some bad teams.  Fuck you Michael Bradley.

Schools Should Commit to the Big East or Leave

Recent chatter revolving college sports has been all about conference realignment.  Syracuse, UConnRutgers, Notre Dame, West Virginia and Pitt have all been linked to a move to the Big Ten.  Ever since the ACC raided the Big East and walked away with Miami, Virginia Tech and BC the Big East has been incredibly vulnerable to another of these raids.  Because they are the smallest BCS conference with the least demographic interest in college football, the Big East will basically have to sit and watch while a larger conference completely destroys it.  If the conference is to survive, there must be a commitment from schools that are being courted by the Big Ten that they will stay in the Big East.  If there is not a commitment from the football schools, the Big East will rapidly die.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Villanova Players By The Number: 4 is For Dwight Wilbur

Guard 1982-1986
If you ever want to stump someone, ask them who the starting five of the 1985 National Championship game was.  More likely than not, people will guess Harold Jensen over Dwight WilburWilbur is the forgotten man from that team due to Rollie Massimino riding Jensen's hot hand during the NCAA Tournament.  He was a decent player and was obviously overshadowed by the fact that he played on the same court as some of the greatest players in Villanova history.  Nobody is going to score a lot of points when they have to compete with Ed Pinckney, Dwayne McClain, Gary McClain and Harold Pressley, but Wilbur did his job and did it admirably.

Matt Szczur Donates Bone Marrow

This is no new story, but Matt Szczur has finally donated bone marrow to a one year old leukemia patient.  Judging by how well he does everything else, I'm sure he kicked ass at donating bone marrow.  Mr. Szczur, I have one request for you: please donate your time this coming fall to the Villanova football team.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Villanova Players By The Number: 3 is For Tim Thomas

Forward, 1996-1997
Arguably the most heralded recruit in Villanova history, Tim Thomas had one of the greatest freshman seasons in school history.   With the size of a Big Man and the inside-out game of a wing, Thomas had an NBA caliber game by the time he stepped on campus.  Whenever you talk about Tim Thomas, the 800 pound gorilla in the room is the fact that Steve Lappas hired Thomas' High School coach to the Villanova staff and the fact that Tim left after his freshman year.  Steve Lappas "Sold his Soul" to get Tim Thomas and he most likely lost his job because of the gamble he took to land Thomas.  If you have the recruiting infrastructure in place to take a one and done player it is fine but Lappas was unable to replace Thomas' production and was forced to fall on his sword because of it.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Villanova Players By The Number: 2 is For Randy Foye

Guard, 2002-2006
The best player on the greatest recruiting class in Villanova history, Randy Foye cemented himself as perhaps the most clutch individual player in the history of the school with an EPIC performance against Boston College in the regional semifinals of the 2006 NCAA Tournament.  When all was said and done, Randy ended up with 1966 points on the Main Line which is currently ninth all time in school history. 

Perhaps the greatest thing about Randy Foye is the fact that he has triumphed over adversity as he went from an orphan who was being raised by his grandmother in Newark to an NBA starter.  The Foundation that he started nearly immediately after he graduated from Villanova gives us fans a reason to be proud regardless of his success on the hardwood.