Over the course of Villanova's championship run, Darryl Reynolds played an important role off the bench. With Tim Delaney undergoing hip surgery, Reynolds found himself backing up senior Daniel Ochefu and logging double digit minutes in 38 out of the Wildcats' 40 games last season. So with Ochefu out of the picture, one would assume that Reynolds is a sure fire starter for the Cats this year, right?
With Tim Delaney returning from injury and five-star prospect Omari Spellman entering the mix, Villanova's frontcourt suddenly becomes a bit of a logjam. This is obviously a nice problem for Jay Wright and his staff to deal with, but at the same time it creates an interesting spot for Reynolds entering his senior season.
When Ochefu missed three games in the middle of the season due to injury, Wright turned to Reynolds to step up and he did just that. Averaging around 11 rebounds, 9 points, and 32 minutes a game across that span, the 6'8 junior proved his worth to his team and Villanova fans alike. The highlight of Ochefu's absence and Reynolds' season came on February 6against Providence. Entering the Dunkin Donuts Center to face the 11th-ranked Friars was a tall task, but Reynolds responded in a big way. Posting 19 points and 10 rebounds in 36 minutes, it was now clear that Reynolds had found a home in the Wildcat rotation.
Depending on Delaney's health and how Spellman's freshman campaign comes along, expect Reynolds to play a role similar to the one he played this past season. Don't be surprised however if he manages to snag a spot in the starting five, as Jay Wright may look towards Reynolds to provide a veteran presence. His solid perimeter defense will give a different look to Villanova's frontcourt compared to Ochefu's big presence underneath. Look for Wright to use Reynolds' flexibilty at power forward to his advantage, especially when defending against a stretch four. The combination of Spellman, Delaney, and Reynolds is one that Villanova fans should look forward to and opposing teams should dread.
Prior to last season, Reynolds had never played more than 9 minutes in an in-conference game nor averaged more than 1.4 PPG. To say he's trending upward would be an understatement. His stat line might not drop jaws, but Reynolds' role is crucial if the Wildcats want to return to glory next spring.