Brandon Slater (6-5, 185, Class of 2018, ‘Nova Verbal)
Slater continues to stand-out for things other than scoring ability. He doesn’t take off plays, he aggressively pursues loose balls and rebounds and he works hard on defense. His length, quickness and jumping ability make him a disruptive defender whether out at the top of a press or roaming the back line of a zone looking to jump passing lanes or block shots as a help defender. Slater already appears bought into a lot of what Coach Wright emphasizes about playing Villanova basketball. He doesn’t seem to care about getting his shots - he is more than happy to make the extra pass, set the screen, and help the team to get the best shot possible. When he does see a driving lane, he willingly attacks the rim, elevates and relishes contact. Slater has a decent FT shooting stroke but is an inconsistent shooter from mid-to-long range. Wildcat fans will enjoy the way he plays. Hopefully, his offensive game will continue to round out as he develops.
Jalen Smith (6-9, 200, Class of 2018)
“Sticks” did not play on Sunday after suffering a head injury on Saturday evening when his head impacted the floor. The Cats remain in good shape with Smith and could use a skilled, mobile 5-man should Omari Spellman leave for the NBA after his first season of action at Villanova.
Bryce Wills (6-5, 170, Class of 2018)
Wills “comes advertised” as having an advanced skill set for a player his size - and he does have a nice handle, passing ability and decent form on his jumper. He didn’t aggressively look for his own shot over two games observed by VUSports this weekend. He is a good athlete but doesn’t have crazy speed to use to attack off the dribble. Instead he uses his size, handle and ability to pick his spots to be effective as a driver of the basketball. He is a good FT shooter when he gets to the line.
Cormac Ryan (6-5, 175, Class of 2018)
He is a solid, all-around guard prospect who should become a quality performer at the collegiate level. He has good size and length and good athleticism. He has very good court vision and a solid shot - allowing him to create for himself and teammates. He could play some 1, some combo, some 2 - he has that versatility. In the past VUSports compared him to Kevin Pritchard - maybe he could also be viewed as Chris Ford without the mustard. At this point in time, though Villanova has offered Ryan a ‘ship, the mutual interest level is not at a peak.
Kofi Cockburn (6-11, 250, Class of 2019)
Big bodied, physical and tough. Cockburn doesn’t play like the type of 5-man that Jay Wright seems to prefer (more mobile, more face-the-basket game, more passing from the low post) but he plays hard, occupies a lot of space in the paint, vacuums up rebounds and generally finishes well around the bucket.
Cole Swider (6-7, 215, Class of 2018)
After knocking down his fourth three-ball in a row, this particular one from beyond NBA range, Swider turned toward some of the BABC parents in attendance and exclaimed “nailed it, I am feeling it now”. BABC needed a win and as a team they stepped up shooting the ball and ran away with a win over Mokan Elite to secure a spot at Peach Jam. Swider played a huge role in the win with his deep shooting and leadership. With the size to shoot over people and a sweet shooting stroke, Swider has truly emerged as a three-point shooting weapon this spring in EYBL. He has been putting up big numbers - especially in the games where he is “feeling it” from range. But, that isn’t the only way he scores. Swider is skilled at reading the defense and taking the baseline path to the rim if the defense is over-playing his three-ball. With a decent handle for his size, Swider can get to the bucket and convert or get fouled. In this night-cap game he had an impressive one-handed, jam in transition where he took a couple power dribbles to get the angle on the defender and then pounded home the dunk. Swider has trimmed his list to eight schools (Villanova, Michigan, Syracuse, Miami(FL), Indiana, Creighton, Xavier, and Providence). He has visited Villanova twice, one recent, and is looking to set up another visit to the Main Line. The Cats are interested in adding a scoring, three-point shooting wing to the mix with Jermaine Samuels and Brandon Slater and Swider could be the man.