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Big East Player Profile: Villanova’s Ryan Arcidiacono

The reigning Co-Big East player of the year will be the leader of the Wildcats this season. As a senior, “The Arch” looks to help lead Nova to new heights.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

In his first three seasons at Villanova, Ryan Arcidiacono did almost everything that a player can do in college. He won conference titles, a conference player of the year award and has played in four NCAA Tournament games. The senior now looks to check one last thing off his college basketball bucket list. He tries to lead his school on a deep run in the big dance.

Arcidiacono’s impact on Villanova during his three seasons has been vital to the team’s success. The guard brings sharp shooting, ball handling and leadership on the court, in addition to coming up big in the clutch when the Wildcats have needed it.

As a freshman, "Arch" fit in right away in head coach Jay Wright’s guard friendly system. He averaged 11.9 points, 3.5 assists and 2.1 rebounds a game during that season. Right away, he showed the program that he was a keeper and as Arcidiacono’s career went on the point guard’s role on the team grew.

For the most part, Arcidiacono’s offensive numbers have been steady, but what has developed significantly has been his ability defensively, ball handling and efficiency.

Arch, to this point, has averaged 1.1 steals per game during every season he has played at Nova, but his ability to stay with stronger offensive players and keep them in front of him has gotten better. Overall, Arcidiacono’s has gotten stronger, faster and more agile during his time at Villanova.

Many freshmen struggle with turnovers when they first enter the ranks of college basketball and Arcidiacono is no exception. However, not every player can work their way out of it and Arch has done just that.

Freshman year, Arcidiacono averaged 3.5 assists, but committed 2.8 turnovers per game, which is knocking on the door of averaging an assist for every turnover. Last season, Arch averaged 3.6 assists, but only 1.3 turnovers. That has made Arch more of a threat and Villanova a tougher team to defeat.

Arcidiacono makes a big impact shooting the three pointer too and his percentage has also developed. During his junior year it was clear that Arch was looking to take better shots instead of the first look that came his way. Arch’s three-point shooting percentage has gone up five points from freshman to junior year. The same can be said for his overall shooting percentage.

As Arcidiacono matures as a player, his flair for the dramatic has grown too. In the Big East Tournament semifinals, it was Arcidiacono who drove to the basket in the final seconds with the game tied against Providence. The guard would get fouled and hit both free throws in a 63-61 win. Villanova would go on to win the tournament.

To get better this summer, Arch played for the Italian National "Experimental Basketball Team" after playing with Italy’s National "B" team last summer. This experience will allow Arcidiacono to develop physically and his intangibles as he prepares to lead a younger Nova squad.

This is the last season that we will see Arcidiacono with Villanova, which is why his influence on this team’s younger guards is vital for this season and the future of Nova basketball.

Guards Jalen Brunson, Donte DiVincenzo and others will be looking to Arcidiacono for guidance throughout the season. The experience and lessons that Arch can share with the younger and talented guards could be vital in not only their development, but the success of the team moving forward.

Of course, teams around the country need to be on the lookout for Villanova once again this season and one of the biggest reasons to be afraid of the Wildcats is the fact that Arcidiacono can make a huge impact in any game that he will play this season. He is critical to the Wildcats reaching the second weekend in March.