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BECB Roundtable: Should the Villanova Wildcats pursue Jahvon Quinerly?

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This has been a hot topic all week long.

Kelly Kline | Under Armour

Ever since Jahvon Quinerly decommitted from Arizona Thursday evening, everyone has been wondering what’s next for the five-star 2018 guard from New Jersey.

Quinerly initially committed to Arizona over Villanova back in August, and it looked like Jay Wright and the Wildcats were going to have to look elsewhere in the class of 2018.

Then, however, Quinerly was rumored to be one of the players named in the FBI’s college basketball corruption investigation. Arizona’s Book Richardson was one of the coaches named, and Quinerly has gotten a lawyer in the weeks since.

With all that in mind, we turn to the question on everyone’s mind.


Should the Villanova Wildcats pursue Jahvon Quinerly?

Sam Newberry: Absolutely. An elite point guard like Quinerly doesn’t just re-open their recruitment all the time. The question marks surrounding Quinerly (did he or family take money, etc.) might be red flags to some, but as of right now he’s clean, and I don’t think Villanova should risk letting him go if he ends up having done nothing wrong.

If he has, you take a small hit for going after a risky player (in hindsight), but hindsight is 20/20 for everyone. At worst, you get teased for recruiting a player that ends up being ineligible (and your program is still clean) and your program is no worse for it on the court. At best, you get the heir apparent to Jalen Brunson (who at least has a chance of choosing to leave for the NBA after this season) and an elite level talent. I see the benefits far outweighing the rewards and am totally on board for Jay Wright shooting his shot on this one.

Chris Grenham: No. As of now, the Big East remains clean in this train wreck of a situation. Sure, taking Quinerly wouldn’t really harm Villanova. Worst case, he’s ineligible and never steps onto the court for the Wildcats. But does Wright want any sort of stain on a program that’s been unbelievably successful over the last few years? I get that the violations wouldn’t be on Nova, but just having your name associated with the scandal might not be a great look for the program. It’s not like they desperately need Quinerly.

There’s a lot of pros and cons here, but I’ll stick with simplicity. Bottom line, just stay out of this mess. Yes he’s an incredible talent, nobody is doubting that, but just stay away and don’t get involved.

Robert O’Neill: Yes. It’s obviously a tough (unprecedented, arguably) situation, but at the end of the day, Jahvon Quinerly makes the Villanova Wildcats a better basketball team. That’s the bottom line. Is it possible that Quinerly will be ruled ineligible? Sure. But that puts Jay Wright and the Villanova Wildcats in the same situation they’re in right now. If Quinerly is *not* found ineligible, it makes the Wildcats one of the five best teams in the nation in 2018. Additionally, if Quinerly is found ineligible it would be Arizona’s coaching staff dealing with the sanctions and repercussions. The NCAA wouldn’t be able to punish Wright and Villanova for violations committed by another program. It’s a low risk, high reward situation.

If Jalen Brunson departs for the NBA this season, which looks at least somewhat likely, Villanova’s point guard situation is a bit murky and questionable. While I have full faith in Wright to make due with what he’s got, getting an added bonus that you had previously thought you wouldn’t be getting would be incredibly significant.

Chris Novak: It is interesting. On one hand, the situation around Quinerly is obviously murky. You don’t know if he’s going to be eligible to play college basketball. He could wind up overseas. But five-star point guards don’t grow up on trees, right? And the 2018 class in the state of New Jersey is probably the best that it’s ever been in the Garden State. Quinerly leads that pack, so opportunities like this might not come so often for the school located in not so far away Philadelphia.

Their situation makes it even more murky, too. We don’t know if Jalen Brunson is going to be around. If he’s not, then Villanova will enter 2018 with a very thin backcourt. Phil Booth could have eligibility of course, but that would only put them at four scholarship players (Booth, Donte DiVincenzo, Collin Gillespie and 2018 commit Brandon Slater).

Shying away from Jahvon Quinerly may be the ‘right’ thing to do if you believe that he’s likely not to suit up. Given that the FBI did the NCAA’s job, basically, it’s hard to believe he’ll skate by without some form of punishment. It is nothing if not tempting though given their situation. Whether or not Jay Wright and the ‘Nova staff resists or gives in is the question. But to me? It’s very low risk, high reward.