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28 August 2008

New highlight video showcases last season

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
8/28/2008 11:05:00 AM
The Villanova basketball highlight honcho Sean Donovan is back with his biggest and baddest video yet. Named "Runnin' Wild" for its musical track, Sean's new video chronicles the entire 2007-2008 season, from the pre-conference games to the NCAA tournament.

There is only one way to watch this monster: in 720p HD. (Warning! 166 mb). On that version, the video is so pristine you can see individuals react to Dante Cunningham's game-winning put-back against LSU.

You can also watch the highlight video in the embedded YouTube player below.

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25 August 2008

Yarou to commit to 'Nova

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
8/25/2008 12:34:00 PM
Mouphtaou Yarou will commit to Villanova for the class of 2009, according to Jeff Goodman of Fox Sports.

Yarou is a 6'-9'' power forward whose stock soared this summer after a successful run with the AAU DC Blue Devils. Rivals has Yarou ranked as the #14 overall player for 2009, and the fifth-best power forward in his class.

Yarou is a rising senior at Massanutten Military School in Woodstock, Va. Capitol Hoops identified Yarou as a rising star as early as this May.

According to Capitol Hoops, Yarou does not yet speak English, so Villanova may have to find a translator if that is in fact the case.

Obviously, getting a top-15 overall player for next year is a huge grab for Villanova. If Yarou lives up to expectations, he could be one of the best Villanova big men in recent memory.

The 2009-2010 class is shaping up to be a good one for Villanova. Maalik Wayns will be the team's point guard of the future, and Taylor King, a forward who transferred from Duke, will regain his eligibility. Isaiah Armwood, another forward, has also committed to Villanova for 2009.

The shooting guard Dominic Cheek remains Villanova's top recruiting priority for 2009-2010, but it is interesting to note that Yarou, who gets much less press, was actually rated a higher prospect by some services for that class.

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Malcolm Grant: the Let's Go Nova interview

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
8/25/2008 02:22:00 AM

Malcolm Grant remains a popular player in Nova Nation even after his decision to transfer to Miami this spring.

After Grant's heroics on the basketball court last winter, questions about his benching and transfer have lingered to this day in the Villanova fan community.

Grant agreed to answer a series of questions for Let's Go Nova about his decision to attend Villanova, his season on the basketball court, his playing-time issues, and his transfer to Miami.

Grant's answers in this interview are overwhelmingly positive. There are clearly no hard feelings, and he remains a part of the Villanova basketball family. It's great to see Grant remain positive as he switches gears in his basketball career.

One of the biggest revelations below is Grant's confirmation that his benching had nothing to do with injuries, academics, or disciplinary reasons. Instead, says Grant, it was purely a basketball decision by Jay Wright.

Based on this offensive efficiency analysis by GreyCat showing Grant was by far the best offensive player of the four freshmen, I can only conclude that Wright's decision was flat-out wrong.

But that's water under the bridge. Villanova eventually found success, and Malcolm has found a welcoming new home at Miami and the ACC.

"Read more" below for the full interview. Thanks to Malcolm taking the time to participate and for his thoughtful answers

LGN: You prepped for a year to attend Villanova. What was it about the program and school that led you to wait a year to enroll rather than to play somewhere else immediately?

MG: I went to prep school because I was excited about the year 'Nova just had with Randy and those guys, so when I saw what I was becoming a part of, it was worth the wait.

LGN: Your performance in the 21-point comeback against LSU cemented your status as a Villanova fan favorite. When you checked into the game before the 8-minute timeout, what was on your mind? Trailing by 15 with under three minutes to play, did you still believe the team could come back? And was that last-second shot really a pass to Dante Cunningham to win the game, as others have speculated?

MG: Actually, when I checked in I said to myself we have nothing to lose, I'm going all out, and thanks to God I was able to have a spectacular performance. And no, the last shot wasn't a pass to Dante, actually I was fouled (smiling) but all joking aside, it was a great followup by Dante.

LGN: Did your mid-season benching have anything to do with injuries, academics, disciplinary reasons, or was it just a decision made by Jay Wright?

MG: My mid-season benching had nothing to do with injuries, academics. Nothing of that nature. It was a decision that Coach Wright made and he felt it was best for the team.

LGN: What was the catalyst that turned the team around, from its mid-winter struggles to its place on the NCAA bubble in March?

MG: I think it was when we had a meeting and everybody admitted their frustrations, and we were asked to sacrifice for the better of the team until the end of the season.

LGN: On Selection Sunday, how sure were you and your teammates that Villanova would make the field of 65? Was it a shock to be selected, or were you confident?

MG: I was confident, as well as others. I think some of the older guys were nervous that we weren't going to make it, but we proved we belonged once we started playing.

LGN: How did it feel to go to the Sweet Sixteen as a freshman? Were you thrilled just to be there, or were you a little disappointed you were not allowed to contribute more on the court, especially considering that without your performance in the LSU game, Villanova would have been in the NIT?

MG: It was a great experience to advance to the Sweet Sixteen as a freshman. I will never forget it. Just seeing that crowd and that arena and the media was crazy. [laughs].

LGN: After the season, you decided to transfer to Miami. Was playing time the only reason you left, or were there other disagreements? Did the coaching staff try to convince you to stay, or was it mutually agreed?

MG: The only reason I transferred was because of playing time, nothing else. I still love Villanova and the team and the coaching staff.

LGN: How do you like Miami so far? Do you think the ACC will be more suited to your run-and-gun style? How do you plan to keep focused as you wait another year to gain eligibility?

MG: I love Miami. It's beautiful down here -- really, really hot, and I have to get used to it, but other than that it's beautiful. I love it. I think the ACC will be a great fit for me. I can't wait to play again and show the world that I'm more than just a scorer. I'm going to work extremely hard, as I'm doing right now, so I'm really excited to get back out there.

LGN: Are you still in touch with any of the players or staff at Villanova? Will you follow the Wildcats' season?

MG: Yes, I still talk to almost everyone, except for a few. But I speak with Antonio a lot. Dwayne a.k.a. Weezy F [laughs], Reggie a.k.a. Double R, Shane, and some others. I still speak with the staff. Congrats to my man BG! [Ed. note: Villanova assistant coach Brett Gunning took a job with the Rockets.] Coach West e-mails me to check on me, and I saw Coach Chambers at an AAU tournament. So yeah, I stay in touch.

LGN: What are you goals for your career at Miami and beyond?

MG: My goals for Miami is to transform this school into a consistent elite team. I want to hopefully win a national championship and God willing, play in the NBA one day.

I just want to say thanks for the interview. I still love 'Nova to death. I will be rooting for you guys. All my friends, I love you guys. All the alumni and my teachers, I love y'all too. Peace!

LGN: Thank you, Malcolm.

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22 August 2008

Friday poll: starting lineup

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
8/22/2008 04:11:00 PM
This week's poll asks you to pick your preferred starting lineup for 2008-2009. Please choose exactly five players in the poll below. At the end of the week, we will list the top five vote-getters. This is not exactly scientific, but enjoy.

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Wayns to play live on ESPNU tonight

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
8/22/2008 03:27:00 PM

Maalik Wayns, a top high-school point guard and Villanova signee for the class of 2009-2010, will play on national television tonight in the Boost Mobile Elite 24 exhibition.

The game will air live from Rucker Park, Harlem, New York on ESPNU tonight at 8 p.m., and will re-air on ESPN2 at midnight on Tuesday, Aug. 26 (late night after Monday).

Wayns, playing for a team called The Goat, will face Villanova's top recruiting priority, the guard Dominic Cheek, who will suit up for the opposing squad Skip to my Lou. The full roster includes several other high-profile high school stars.

New York locals can attend the game tonight for free. Rucker Park opens at 6 p.m. and admission is free, but first-come, first-served.

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21 August 2008

Gunning leaves 'Nova for NBA

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
8/21/2008 07:16:00 PM

Villanova assistant coach Brett Gunning will leave the team to take a job with the Houston Rockets of the NBA, according to a press release issued by Villanova University today.

Gunning, who was named associate head coach in 2005, arrived with head coach Jay Wright to Villanova in 2001. Gunning had also served under Wright at Hofstra, and was an undergraduate at Villanova from 1990 to 1992 while Wright assisted head coach Rollie Massimino.

Gunning will join the Rockets as director of player development.

"It's always been a dream of mine to coach in the NBA and this was an exciting opportunity that I couldn't pass up," said Gunning. "It wasn't an easy decision to leave Villanova, but I will always be grateful for the time spent here and the many great people I got to know."

Wright cited Gunning as a key component of the program's recent success. Gunning helped recruit and develop former Villanova stars Kyle Lowry, Allan Ray, and Randy Foye.

"Brett has been an integral part of our Villanova basketball family over the last seven years and an important part of our success," said Wright.

"He is one of the game's bright young coaches and made a great impact on our program. We will miss him, but it's always exciting when a member of our staff has the chance to pursue their dream, and this opportunity in Houston allows Brett to do that. He'll always be a Wildcat to us, though."

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15 August 2008

Friday poll: game attendance

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
8/15/2008 12:31:00 PM
This week's poll asks how many Villanova games (home and away) you plan to attend this upcoming season.

You may vote in the Flash poll below, or in the right sidebar on any Let's Go Nova page.

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01 August 2008

'Nova faces Texas at MSG in Dec.

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
8/01/2008 12:05:00 AM
Villanova will head to Madison Square Garden in New York on December 9 this season to face the University of Texas in the Jimmy V Men's Basketball Classic, according to a press release from Texas.

The Jimmy V benefit has featured four elite programs in a doubleheader at the Garden each year since 1995. This will be Villanova's first appearance in the prestigious event. Texas last played in the Jimmy V in 2003, losing to Arizona.

The other two teams for the event have not yet been announced. Tickets go on sale in September, according to the V Foundation for Cancer Research.

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Friday poll: Who don't you like?

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
8/01/2008 12:00:00 AM
If you're at this site, Villanova might be your favorite college basketball team. This week's poll asks which team you like the least.

Do you dislike one of Villanova's Big East rivals like Georgetown, Syracuse, or Pitt? Maybe you can't stand Coach K's Duke or John Calipari's Memphis. Or maybe you reserve your bile and vitriol for the Holy War against St. Joseph's in the Big 5.

Whichever team you dislike the most, vote in the Flash poll below or in the right sidebar on any Let's Go Nova page. Feel free to explain your choice in the comments section of this thread.

Last week's poll dealt with reader demographics. The largest voting group in this poll were people who attended Villanova in the 2000s, at 27 percent. The second biggest group (24 percent) attended Villanova in the 1980s or earlier, so apparently there is now Internet access at the old folks home. One in five voters is currently a Villanova student, and 14 percent of voters didn't attend Villanova.

Check back next Friday for this week's results and a new question.

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