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VUSports Season Preview: Reynolds & Painter

In the final "players" segment of our season preview, we take a detailed look at Darryl Reynolds and Dylan Painter ...

Darryl Reynolds (6-8, 225 lbs, Senior, Forward)

Reynolds made significant strides in progressing from a bit player as a Frosh and Soph into a rotation player that logged 42.7% of minutes last season.  His ability to rebound and defend multiple positions off the bench played a role in the Cats climb to #1 in the AP poll and march through the NCAA Tournament.

Most famously, he capped a three-game stretch of games in which he filled in for an injured Daniel Ochefu by posting 19 points and 10 rebounds at Providence to help ‘Nova secure a significant win.  After that confidence-building, break-out game he was able to consistently provide quality minutes off the bench and even on the largest stages he showed no fear taking the open scoring opportunities when he had them.

On offense, Reynolds scores primarily by finishing at the rim - as evidenced by his shot chart from last season:


His next FG attempt will be the 100th of his Villanova career - he has made 65-99 (.657) of his shots so far - all of which have been from two-point range.  He made some mid-range jumpers (at Providence for example) and has shown some ability in that aspect of the game but it remains to be seen if he can add that as a consistent weapon in his scoring arsenal.  Credit Reynolds with making a huge leap over his career as a free-throw shooter.  He shot 3-10 (.300) as a Frosh, 8-20 (.400) as a Soph and last year found his groove from the stripe, shooting 47-65 (.723).  This is significant because it keeps teams from just hammering him and forcing him to earn points from the line.

Reynolds has reduced his turnover rate over his career and improved his ORtg from 61.7 as a Frosh to a solid 119.6 last season.  This indicates that he is taking good shots, valuing the ball, and finding teammates with passes out of the post.

All that said, the bread & butter of his offensive game is punishing the rim:

Here are a couple highlights questions from VUSports’ Big East Media day conversation with Darryl Reynolds in NY:

VUSports: What is your biggest personal goal for this season?

Darryl Reynolds: To get that much better at defending several positions.  For me, something that isn’t necessarily charted across the board or highly touted is your ability to change peoples shots and as a quote unquote “big guy” get out on the perimeter and defend someone who you would think would blow right past me or have me at a disadvantage completely.  My goal has always been to be one of the best defensive players, if not the best defensive player, on the floor.  My personal goal is to become that much better at defending these great guards in our league and making sure that I can do that for our team.  When you have big guys, like Daniel and I showed last year, that can, just like our guards can vice versa get under there and frustrate post players and be tough, get out there and be mobile enough to defend these guards it gives your team an advantage.

VUSports: Do you see your passing ability improving to the point where you can take that up another notch this season - Daniel was noted for his passing ability and that really helped the offense?

Darryl Reynolds: I have heard from my coaching staff that I am making good decisions out of the post and that is really what it is about.  Everyone thinks that the post is about who can score or who can do this but it is about decisions.  It is this game slowed down its slowest point.  In the post it is about decisions and pace.  I want to make sure I make the best decisions out of there and sometimes the best decision is a pass.  I always remember the Providence game - I am scoring, I’m scoring, I’m scoring, it’s great … for me one of the best moments was - I get it in the post, I’m dribbling, I’m dribbling, they go to help down and they leave Kris Jenkins wide open and I had the peace of mind to see him and get the ball right out of my hand - nothing fancy, nothing to shiny - just get the ball right to him and he makes the shot.  Those types of plays, they deflate teams.  when you have guys that are all over the court just making the right decisions.  I have to practice what I preach which is just giving it up to the next guy.

The development of Reynolds has been interesting to follow over the years - he has strength, athleticism, shot-blocking ability and is a willing defender.  Even if he adds little to his game this year he will serve as a valuable rotation player and respectable starter.  If he surprises with another bump upwards, he will be able to keep defenses honest, dean a defender guard him, and help spread the floor for the Cats’ wealth of other scoring options.

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Dylan Painter (6-10, 215 lbs, Freshman, Forward)

Shortly after the Cats got a commitment from Painter, on the heels of a commitment from Omari Spellman, it began to look as if the plan would be to red-shirt Painter for the 2016-17 season and have him spend a year getting stronger, refining his skills and learning the system.  Once it was announced that the NCAA would require Spellman to sit out this season, that plan became far less likely to be executed and it appears that Painter could, if ready, be thrust into a role where he will be expected to play something on the order of 5-10 minutes a game at the 5 spot.

Painter comes to ‘Nova with good strength (he has worked hard to refine his upper body in particular over the last year), a good skill package and some mobility as some of the positive traits to his game.

VUSports asked Coach Jay Wright for his early take on Painter’s game and Coach had this to say: “I really believe Painter's jump-shot may be his most effective way of scoring.  He could be a great three-point shooter.  He has great technique and great size which makes it easier for him to get off his shot.  He has been working out with us this summer and he can shoot the ball - I really think that is going to be his weapon.  Defensively, I think initially Painter will struggle the most on the perimeter but be good in the post.”

Kris Jenkins had this to say about the young, big: “He plays hard.  He focuses on defense and rebounding and more importantly has an open mind to get better - which is great for any freshman coming in.” while Darryl Reynolds chimed in with this assessment “Dylan is a very, for a Freshman, composed player.  I guess that is the best way to put it.  He is very under control.  In some ways you expect a freshman to get sped up and make certain mistakes - now I am not saying he doesn’t make mistakes, all of us do - I am a Senior and I still make mistakes, but he takes his demeanor off the court on to the court - which is very confident and he knows what he has and what he doesn’t have and he plays to his strengths

Here is a segment of the VUSports Media Day Interview with Painter in which he describes how he is adjusting his game to compete in college:

VUSports: Now that you have begun to see what it is really like, what has been the biggest adjustment for you as a Freshman?

Dylan Painter: The speed and physicality of the game has definitely been hard to adjust to.  When I first got here in the summer, everything was going so fast but throughout the fall and the practices it is starting to get slower day-by-day.  I am able to adjust a little bit better every day and that is what you have got to do.  

VUSports: Have you found it tougher to adjust to what Jay Wright wants you to do offensively or defensively?

Dylan Painter: The defensive end is definitely harder.  Offense is not that much of an adjustment.  It is a little bit faster, there is a little more screens and different options that you have got to go through but defensively all the concepts and the speed of the game are just harder.  Also, guarding ball screens is something I never really had to do.  I have been improving on it a lot but that is tough.

VUSports: Now when there are switches you are out on the perimeter guarding is that proving difficult?

Dylan Painter: Yeah it has.  In the summer, there was no chance but as we have been going on it is getting a little bit better.  Everybody is seeing my improvement and I am seeing a little bit of it myself but I have got to get a lot better at it.  

VUSports: Speaking further about the game starting to slow down for you - do you find that when you get that entry pass now you are more likely to feel your defender and look to score instead of looking pass first as you were at the beginning?

Dylan Painter:  Yeah.  I have been watching film a lot with the coaches to see where my passing options were, where the doubles come from … so I know if I am one-on-one I am confident I can score but my problem is when the doubles come I have got to learn where the open guy is - usually it is opposite and I have got to be able to make that pass

Lastly, here is a look back at some Senior year highlights of Painter (if you have yet to see what he brings to the table): 

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