Profile: Gary Buchanan

Liam Murphy

No one shoots the three ball like him, and no one can touch him when it comes to shooting free throws.

Senior Gary Buchanan returns to Villanova for his senior season this year, and the St. Louis, native wants to go out with a bang. The preseason All Big East Second Team member and Villanova have not made the NCAA tournament since Buchanan arrived on the Main Line, and he wants to change that. “I really just want to make the tournament at least once while I am here,” he said. “I think that would be a great way to go out as a senior.”

The Wildcats’ leader in scoring (17.8) last season, Buchanan has quite a resume while wearing a blue and white uniform. A member of the Big East All- Rookie Team his rookie season and a Honorable Mention All Big East Player last season, Buchanan has been sidelined through most of this year’s preseason. An early injury to his non-shooting thumb, which has since healed, and a knee injury have kept him on the sidelines. “My knee is on great pace. I should be back soon and hopefully I can get back to my regular form,” he said. Last season Buchanan led the team in minutes played, with 1,124.

Buchanan is coming off a junior season that was the best of his career so far. Besides leading the Cats in scoring and minutes played, he was also named to the All Big Five second team. He also took home the Sy Kaselmen Free Throw Award for the second year in a row, his percentage just slightly lower then his ridiculous .942 a year earlier. Who can forget his two huge triples at the end of the UCLA game, or when he hit a career high seven three-pointers on his way to a 28-point performance in a romping of St. Joe’s? Buchanan also recorded a career high 34 points in a 77-75 victory at Virginia Tech.

This will be Buchanan’s second year as one of the captains for Villanova, working last year with Brooks Sales and this time around with seniors Ricky Wright and Andrew Sullivan. Assistant coach Joe Jones believes that Buchanan is essential to the success of Villanova basketball. “I think that when we get Gary Buchanan back on the floor he’ll really help us,” he said.

Being a captain includes leading a highly regarded freshman class. “I just tell the guys that this is different from high school,” Buchanan said.

“They have to come out and play there game, and when it is time for them to take jump shots take them, but when it’s not to go in there and swing the ball around, get everyone the ball and play our game to help us win.”

Buchanan stresses that Villanova basketball is about the team, and not the individual players. “It’s not like your high school team where you go out there individually and win games for the team. You need everyone to win games for the team.”

Along with one of the nation’s best recruiting classes, Buchanan and the Wildcats have been receiving quite a bit of media attention over the past several months. Playing in the national spotlight is nothing new for the three-year starter in one of the nation’s toughest conferences. “Right now we are trying not to worry what is going on around us as a team. We just try to stay focused,” he said. Buchanan says that there are other things you play for more important than the national spotlight. “You have to go out there and play for Villanova and for Villanova fans. You have to go out there and play for your heart.”

This past summer was one of the more memorable ones for Buchanan. At a summer camp, he had the honor of guarding the man himself, Michael Jordan. Buchanan knows that not too many people can say they went up against the greatest player of all time. “I learned more then anything that you never know when you are going to have that type of opportunity in life. I also learned that you have to take advantages of those opportunities.”

Jordan scored on him twice with low post moves, and Buchanan fouled him on his third try. “I wasn’t going to let you get me a third time,” Buchanan told Jordan.

“I like that,” responded the six-time NBA champion.

Buchanan and the Wildcats will start their season tonight against Marquette in New York City. This Wildcat team is ready to start their season and show everyone just how good they are. “On paper this is definitely the best team I have been on since I have been here. I try to stay humble about things like that though. I just try to go out there and win,” said Buchanan. He will have that opportunity tonight at Madison Square Garden.