Efforts from Sheridan complete ‘Nova

Santo Caruso

It would be a waste of ink for me to talk about my trip to Chicago to see the DePaul game after the events of Monday, despite my roommate’s pleas for me to do a running diary from the trip.

(I still may do the diary for the sake of closure on several issues, including the Indiana turnpike being the greatest road in American history, the state of Pennsylvania doing everything in its power to kill us on the way back and whether or not truckers pulled over on the side of major roads are drinking or sleeping.

The big news in Villanova basketball is obviously how “Psychic Santo” predicted the UConn win (the line, the winner, by how much, and I was off on the final score by three points. I had Villanova 72, UConn 67).

And just so you know, my editor gave me that nickname. I don’t play that game, and the above paragraph is intended to be dripping in sarcasm like Rudy Gay’s sweat while he stands at the foul line.

Seriously, the win was huge, rushing the court was a disgrace and the way it played out gives me the chance to talk about a player everyone has been sleeping on until now.

Will Sheridan is from Bear, Del. He likes Kanye West and his favorite movie is “Cheaper by the Dozen.” To class, he has been known to wear a suit jacket, tie, vest and sneakers and he finally gave the Wildcats the one thing they truly lacked:

A nasty streak.

Those who know Sheridan, at least from classes, have never seen that. He is funny, intelligent and a little strange at times, but nothing would lead you to think that underneath the surface is someone else: the type of guy who will throw down on the best front court in the country, despite the fact that they had been swatting shots like Adam Sandler in “Billy Madison.”

The type of guy who might hang on the rim a little, drop down and give a primal scream in front of the cameras behind the net. The type of guy who plays so physical down low you’d think he was wearing a helmet and shoulder pads.

If you had told me the refs would let the game get as rough as it did, I would have said the Huskies were going to rout little ‘Nova. And they almost did.

Dante Cunningham is going to have nightmares of Gay and Josh Boone, and I think the fans sitting courtside had a double double, from catching blocked shots and passing it back to the ref.

But Bump responded. A little home cooking kept Sheridan out of foul trouble, let ‘Nova pick up a few charges and let some hand checking go. In the second half, with Allan Ray torching the UConvicts from outside, Sheridan settled right in his spot along the baseline where he has been hitting since he came to the Main Line three years ago. He set the Huskies up perfectly, one shot from 15, another from 12, another from 16 and then, just as he steps back to about 18, the player guarding him dashes out to block the shot. Sheridan ducks him, takes advantage of a perfect box-out screen from Jason Fraser (which probably should have been flagged for holding and penalized ten yards) and takes off with what became the signature play of one of the best regular season college basketball games I’ve seen in years.

And that is what we get now from Sheridan. We have Kyle Lowry, six feet of pure heart, Allan Ray, a gunner with ice in his veins, Randy Foye, probably the smartest star athlete I have encountered and a hard nosed defender that no one wants to face, but no cockiness, none of that Allen Iverson swagger, like when he stepped over Tyrone Lue and looked at the fallen defender.

I hope Sheridan can keep this up, and I don’t mean a double-double every game or sinking baseline jumpers like he was Elvin Hayes. I mean grabbing a rebound and clearing out with reckless abandon. I mean shedding an image of softness that our forwards carry, with all the focus on how tough our guards are. I mean what my football coach called “playing like ABO, like you hate the other team, like they have everything you want and you’ll never have it if you don’t take it.”

Maybe those closer to Sheridan than I (I’ve only had two classes with him, and I’ve probably spoken to him twice, if that), will say that isn’t how he is. I’m sure he is just a cool confident guy, and basketball just brings out the “Bear” in him. But after what he showed me on Monday, if I see him at the bar, I’ll buy him a drink and steer clear.