Big East: Super Nova

By - October 25, 2006

That Villanova would be without All-American guards Randy Foye and Allan Ray for the 2006-07 season was never any surprise to supporters of the program. But since rough-and-tumble guard Kyle Lowry left school following his sophomore season for the NBA draft last June, Nova Nation has been somewhat uneasy about the team’s immediate future.

Will Sheridan, one of two starters returning to the Main Line and the “other guy” in last year’s vaunted four-guard offense, has one message for the Villanova faithful: Fear not.

Twelve months ago, the Wildcats lost Curtis Sumpter -- a Preseason Big East Player of the Year candidate that was widely considered Villanova’s most important contributor -- to a knee injury during the first week of practice. Rather than pack it in, Jay Wright’s team would circle the wagons and establish a school record for most victories in a season on its way to the first No. 1 seed in program history and an Elite Eight appearance.

“When Curt went down, we saw a chance to be a better team. We would have loved to have him, but we persevered and adjusted and eventually we got it done,” Sheridan said. “This year it’s the same thing: We lost three guys to the NBA and we have to adjust and win every game we can.”

Last season, Sheridan was the only forward in a starting lineup that included Foye, Lowry, Ray and 6-foot-2 guard Mike Nardi. This year, the emphasis will shift to the frontcourt as Sumpter returns alongside 6-foot-8 sophomore Dante Cunningham and 6-foot-7 sophomore Shane Clark.

“Last year we had a four-guard offense just because they were the five best and most experienced players to put on the court,” Sheridan said. “This year it’s the same thing -- the five most experienced players on the court. I think it will be more conventional but a little different. Big guys will have to guard smaller guys but we’ll have some advantages as well. I think it will work out.”

As for Sumpter, who was the only Villanova player named to the Preseason All-Big East team, the Brooklynite insisted that his recovery was complete.

“I’m 100 percent. I’m the same Curtis. It’s been a long time but I’m back,” Sumpter said. “It feels good to practice every day. It definitely feels good.”

Posted by at 03:38 PM on October 25, 2006

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