Stokes Offers Up Big East Pledge

BRONX, N.Y. - This one was like a horse race that went back and forth. However, at the end of the day, it was Villanova that crossed the finish line first in its bid to land Corey Stokes. Jay Wright's putting together the pieces of another deep backcourt.

The St. Benedict's shooting guard (, No. 34) told that he has committed to Villanova.

``My father's from Pittsburgh and I just felt more comfortable with the Villanova situation than the one at UConn," Stokes said. "The UConn guys are really good guys and it's not like they did anything wrong."

The 6-foot-5, 190-pound Stokes is one of the top shooting guards in the country. Despite being off on Friday night at the Rumble in the Bronx, Stokes is a terrific outside shooter and has also improved his ability to get to the basket.

Stokes is a huge coup for Villanova and coach Jay Wright, who watched as standout guards Randy Foye and Allen Ray graduated – and fellow backcourt star Kyle Lowry declared for the draft and is leaning towards keeping his name in for the June 28 NBA Draft. The Wildcats recently added McDonald's All-American guard Scottie Reynolds, a one-time Oklahoma signee. The addition of Stokes could give ‘Nova another prolific backcourt in 2007 with Reynolds, Stokes and St. Patrick's (N.J.) rising senior point guard Corey Fisher (, No. 41). Malcolm Grant is expected to spend this season at Winchendon (Mass.) this season, eventually giving them the 4-guard look they played with this season.

``I just felt more comfortable with the whole staff at Villanova and got a better feel from them," Stokes added. "I like the way they play their guards. They give them a lot of freedom and I like the whole system."

``At Villanova, you really get a chance, as a guard, to show off your skills a little more," Stokes continued.

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