Jay Wright (A+):
Ever since he came to Villanova at the beginning of the millennium, Wright has established himself as one of the best coaches in the nation and in Villanova basketball history. Thus, he has had many successful seasons, and yet, I still believe that this is the best coaching job he has completed of his career. Coming into the season, the Wildcats had extremely small expectations after a season in which they finished seventh in the final season of the Big East. These low expectations were shown in the preseason conference rankings in which the Cats were only expected to finish fourth this season in the "New Big East."
However, Wright led his team to success beyond what anyone would have imagined. The Cats won their first outright Big East regular season championship since 1982, earned a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, and finished No. 13 in the final Coaches Poll of the year. What's most impressive about all of this is that Wright was able to lead his team to all this success despite a team that has little to no NBA talent on it. If the Wildcats would've been able to hold on to win the Big East Tournament, I think that Wright could've made a strong case for National Coach of the Year, and for his ability to lead this team beyond any and all expectations, Wright easily earns an A+ in my book.
Darrun Hilliard (A):
Despite finishing second on the team in scoring, the case could be made that Hilliard was the most consistent offensive threat for Villanova all season, and especially down the stretch. The junior forward reached double figures in all but four games this season, the most games in double digits of any player on this season's team. Down the stretch of the season was also when Hilliard was at his best.
During the last 14 games of the campaign, Hilliard averaged a team high 15.2 points, as he took over the team's offensive reigns in February and into March. Throughout the entire season, Hilliard showed how dynamic of a scorer he has developed into, shooting 48.6 percent from the field, ranking third on the team, and 41.4 percent from the perimeter, which was the best on the team.
James Bell (A-):
Bell was one of the most improved players, and he could not have picked a better season to do it: his senior year. Bell used an incredible middle part of the season to lead the team in scoring with 14.4 points per game. He also was able to tie for the team leading in rebounding as well (6.1 rebounds per game) which displayed his outrageous athleticism at the shooting guard position.
This allowed him to become the first Wildcat to be named All-Big East first team since Scottie Reynolds in 2010. The only thing that keeps Bell from earning a solid A is his play over the latter section of the season, when he just could not seem to find his offensive rhythm at all. Over his final eight games he averaged a mere 9.0 points per game on only 30.0 percent shooting from the field. This includes two games where he shot a combined 0-11 from the field.
JayVaughn Pinkston (A-):
Going into this season, it was widely believed that Pinkston would be the main contributor for 'Nova on offense, and through the first third of the season, that was very much the case.
Over the first 14 games of the season, Pinkston reached double figures scoring 12 times, and reached the 20-point threshold on five occasions as well. After that, he continued to remain extremely consistent, only scoring single digits three times the rest of the way. But he just did not seem to explode offensively like he did earlier in the season.
There were many games where he would put up double-digit point totals, but it would be a very quiet performance and he wouldn't have that noticeable of an effect on the overall game. This was very much due to the offensive emergence of players like Bell and Hilliard, but with Pinkston returning next season, it will continue to give the Cats some added muscle inside.
Ryan Arcidiacono (B+):
After a successful freshman season in which he emerged as the point guard of the future for Villanova, Arcidiacono followed it up with an even better sophomore season. Despite having a decreased point production, going down to 9.9 points per game from 11.9 points per game in his freshman season, he showed an overall better ability to be the pure point guard that Villanova has lacked since the departure of Reynolds. The most telltale sign of this improvement was his ability to cut down on his turnovers all year. As a whole, Arcidiacono cut his turnover total in half this past season (1.4 turnovers per game) as he showed more patience and leadership and less of an inclination to force plays in the offense.
Daniel Ochefu (B):
Sometimes overshadowed by Pinkston, Ochefu became the forgotten man in the middle for Villanova. The best part of Ochefu's game is his ability to pass out of the post when he doesn't shoot, a lot to do with a throwback to his high school days when he played point guard. He didn't really put up many shot attempts, but when he did, he was extremely effective.
He led the team in shooting percentage at nearly 60.0 percent from the field to go along with a team-leading 6.1 rebounds per game. He did only average 5.7 points per game, but again that comes from his small amount of shot attempts. With Bell graduating though, there are many more attempts to go around, so look for Ochefu's scoring average to drastically increase in 2014-15.
Josh Hart (B):
Hart was Villanova's top guy to come off the bench, and with the departure of Bell, he should look to slide in perfectly into the starting lineup next season. Hart was named to All-Freshman team in the Big East this season, and even though he never started, he had the ability to step up and score when others could not. The best example of this was in the upset loss to Seton Hall in the Big East Tournament.
In that game, Hart stepped up to lead the team with 18 points on 62.5 percent shooting from the field, and was key to the Wildcats' comeback to even force the game into overtime. The one place where Hart struggled mightily and needs to improve is from the charity stripe. Last season he shot only 67.7 percent from the free throw line, and next season as a starting shooting guard, that just won't cut it, especially in crunch time of a close game.
Dylan Ennis (B-):
While his brother Tyler was making national headlines at Syracuse, Dylan Ennis was making a name for himself for the Wildcats. He didn't get any minutes in the first few games, but exploded for 14 points against both USC and Kansas at the Battle 4 Atlantis to cement himself in the Villanova rotation.
The main problem with Ennis is he was very boom or bust. He will come off the bench one day and put up 15 points, but then fail to score at all the next four games. He needs to work on his scoring consistency, especially if he wants to take over the role of sixth man on next season's team.
Kris Jenkins (C):
Jenkins is another one of the freshman who gained key experience this past season and will be thrust into a much larger role next season. Jenkins really became a key cog in the Wildcats' machine near the end of the season, when his minutes and production increased on a consistent basis. Over his last seven games, he averaged 7.3 points per game, over three points higher than his overall season average.
During that stretch he played double-digit minutes in every single game. This is a direct result of Jay Wright beginning to show much more trust in Jenkins' ability to perform when called upon, hinting upon a possible increase in importance that will probably be seen in the 2014-15 campaign.
Tony Chennault (D):
Chennault never really panned out how the Villanova coaching staff expected him to after transferring from Wake Forest, and the 2013-14 season was a prime example of that. Chennault recorded his worst scoring average of his career, putting up just 2.7 points per game in his senior season. And unfortunately he just never seemed to be able to get going offensively.
In the end, the success of the team was a whole really hurt Chennault, because as other players unexpectedly stepped up and filled unexpected roles, Chennault continued to drop lower and lower in the rotation. By the end of the season, he was getting little to no playing time in key game situations, and his offensive numbers took a major hit as result.