Villanova targets transfers to replace departed Wayns, Cheek
(Note: This article, minus the pictures, appeared in the 5/1 edition of The Villanova Times.)
With junior guards Maalik Wayns and Dominic Cheek gone for the NBA Draft, the Villanova men’s basketball team had two big holes to fill for next season.
Fortunately, their departures also vacated two athletic scholarships, which Coach Jay Wright is using to lure players looking to transfer from other schools. (Under NCAA rules, a basketball team can have, at most, 12 scholarship players at a time.)
As first reported by Mike Kern of philly.com on April 24, Wright has thus far succeeded in bringing in one transfer, Dylan Ennis of Rice University.
Ennis, a 6’2” rising-sophomore point guard, started for Rice last season and notched 8.5 points and 4.1 assists per game, shooting 35.4 percent from three-point land (29 of 82). Ennis was an effective distributor, assisting 30.9 percent of his teammates’ made shots while he was on the court, good for 94th in the country, according to Ken Pomeroy’s database. In comparison, Wayns had an assist rate of 32.5 percent per Pomeroy.
According to Kern’s reporting, Ennis was not unhappy at Rice, he simply wanted to be closer to home:
“Rice did nothing wrong,” said Ennis, whose other finalist was Cincinnati. “But the flight from Houston to Toronto is long. This way my family will have an opportunity to see a lot more games. They can drive down on weekends, and my brothers can just take a bus. That’s big for me.”
One of those brothers, Tyler, is a basketball player as well, a senior point guard at St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark. Tyler is considering Villanova as a possible college destination, in addition to a litany of other schools. Dylan told Kern that he doesn’t think his decision will affect Tyler’s.
“We’re two separate players,” he said. “It’s his decision. If we play together, that’s great. But we like to compete. So maybe we’ll play against each other.”
Under NCAA rules, transfer players must usually sit out one year before they can play with their new team, but because Ennis has familial reasons for moving he can apply for a hardship waiver. According to Kern, he is considering just that, but the NCAA will likely not approve the waiver, meaning that the soonest Wildcat fans could see Ennis in uniform is the 2013-14 season. From there, he will still have three years of NCAA eligibility.
Another player considering Villanova, Tony Chennault of Wake Forest, is much more likely to contribute immediately. Chennault, a 6’2” rising-junior guard, wants to be closer to his mother, who has health issues, according to another report by Kern. The NCAA is much more likely to grant a waiver in cases of illness, as they did when
Scott Machado Lamont Jones transferred from Arizona to Iona before last season.
Chennault’s decision to come to Villanova is not official (he is also considering St. Joseph’s), but Kern says sources indicate the move is imminent.
If he does indeed become a Wildcat, Chennault will be in the mix for starting point guard with Ty Johnson, Darrun Hilliard and possibly four-star recruit Ryan Arcidiacono of Neshaminy High School. With Ennis on the active roster no later than the 2013-14 season, Villanova looks primed to return to the guard-heavy formula that brought so much success in the mid-to-late 2000s.