Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Dante's Peaking, Scottie's Plateauing

Seeing as I was at the Flyers game last night, I expected to miss the first half of the Villanova-Texas game at the Garden. However, thanks to Stephen Curry going bananas late, when I walked in my front door a little after 10, the Nova game had just started.

My first impressions from the game: What the hell has gotten into Dante Cunningham? All the sudden, the man is a beast. Currently, he leads Villanova in scoring at 18 points a game, rebounding at over 8 an game and blocks with 10 overall. He's third in steals, shooting an insane 58 percent from the field, 77 percent from the stripe and has easily been the most dominant Wildcat this season.

Last night, he was a one-man show for Villanova, scoring a team-high 23 points on 9 of 14 shooting, nabbing a game-high 12 rebounds and notching 2 steals and 2 blocks. Most impressive, however, has been Dante's game as a whole. For the past three seasons, Cunningham has been a big contributor for the Wildcats, but mostly as a rebounding beast and strong defender. All the sudden, he has an extremely reliable jump shot, tremendous post moves and can score with the best of them.

He must have been hanging with Thaddeus Young this summer, because no player has improved his game more than Dante. It's remarkable to see. The guy is just playing out of his mind, and he works equally as hard on both ends of the floor. Without him last night, Nova loses by 30, not 9.

And that brings me to Scottie Reynolds. Scottie is a very good player. He was a highly touted recruit, and everyone lauded Nova for landing him after he backed out of his verbal commitment to Oklahoma. Since day one, he's been a factor for the Wildcats.

The thing is, Scottie is now in his third year at Villanova. He started out as a good player and has continued to be a good player. What he hasn't become is a great player. In fact, I'd argue, he really hasn't even gotten much better since he stepped foot on the Main Line.

Unlike Cunningham, who has taken steps every year and now has become quite possibly the most improved player in the nation thus far, Reynolds is what Reynolds has always been: a very talented point guard who is a streaky shooter and questionable decision maker from time to time. One possession he'll run the offense to perfection. The next he'll shoot an ill-advised three. And while he certainly helps the Wildcats and usually gets them going, he hasn't figured out to harness all his talents yet.

Last night, he was awful. Just 2 of 7 from the field with 10 points and four turnovers. He gave Dante no help. The same can be said for Corey Fisher. In fact, the only player to aid Dante at all was Corey Stokes in first half, but even he cooled in the second. Somewhere along the way here, Scottie is going to have to take his game to the next level. A player who has been starting since his freshman year should be miles ahead from where he was then in his junior year. Reynolds isn't.

On another note, I don't understand Reggie Redding. Well, actually, I understand Redding. He's a gunner. A straight-up gunner. Personally, he reminds me of Willie Green, and not in a good way. What I'm trying to say is, I think Reggie Redding stinks. He takes awful shots all the time, and really, he's just an average shooter. Get him off the floor.

On the flip side, A.J. Abrams is a sniper. Just a flat-out great shooter.

Last night, he killed Villanova, especially in the second half. Give him just a millisecond, and he'll kill you. His range is unconscionable. He scored a game-high 26 points and put the dagger in Nova's heart with a couple big threes down the stretch.

If it wasn't for Curry, we might be talking about Abrams as the best shooter in the country. But Stephen Curry, he is not. After going ice cold most of the game, Curry went off down the stretch, scoring 13 of Davidson's last 15 points to eke out a win. He's must-see TV whenever takes the floor. Make sure to peep him every chance you get.

No comments:

Post a Comment