What’s to Like (and What’s Not) from Thursday’s Blue/White Scrimmage


Courtesy of Villanova Athletics

What’s to Like (and What’s Not) from Thursday’s Blue/White Scrimmage

Mike Keeley

Yes, for those of you with money on this – Jay Wright did refer to Chris Arcidiacono as Ryan post-scrimmage, before hanging his head and sighing at what he had just done to the poor kid. But jokes aside, just like that, the Blue and White scrimmage has come. Besides the obvious positive that all players who participated got out unscathed (Collin Gillespie broke his nose pre-scrimmage), here are three positive and negative takeaways from Thursday night. 

Teams –

Blue: Chris Arcidiacono, Justin Moore, Jermaine Samuels, Eric Dixon, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl

White: Caleb Daniels, Saddiq Bey, Brandon Slater, Cole Swider, Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree

Pro: Saddiq Bey was given a lot of responsibility to initiate team white’s offense, and looked pretty good doing it. The sophomore forward took turns with Caleb Daniels bringing the ball up the floor and was effective when given the responsibility. Multiple times, Bey was able to create his own shot and then knock it down. On other occasions, he showed the ability to find various teammates for open looks.

Con: There really is no point guard. While the debate about junior Collin Gillespie’s true position rages on, with him out of the lineup – as he was Thursday night – there truly is no “point guard” on this roster. Wright lauded the efforts of Moore as he named him Gillespie’s replacement for the upcoming scrimmage against the University of Southern California, but even he admitted Moore is more of a “combo guard,” much like Gillespie and Phil Booth before him.

Pro: Jermaine Samuels looks like he might take another leap his junior season. After developing into an off again, on again complementary offensive weapon for the Wildcats the second half of last season, Samuels showed, on Thursday night, an ability to put the ball on the floor and distribute that we have not seen from him before.

Con: Justin Moore and Brandon Slater were both quiet. Both underclassmen were hyped up as potential breakout performers at Thursday morning’s Big East Media Day, but, besides flashes, neither showed the crowd at the Pavilion much to back up what the upperclassmen had said about them.

Pro: Cole Swider started to hit threes. After a start to the scrimmage plagued by turnovers, fouls and bad shots, the sophomore knocked down a number of jumpers – a promising sign after a freshman campaign where the man recruited for his sharpshooting abilities suffered injuries that stopped him from ever getting into his shooting groove.

Con: Caleb Daniels is ineligible to play this season. Besides his scrimmage teammate Bey, Daniels was by far the most impressive player on the floor Thursday evening. Now, that probably should have been expected – he’s a junior, he’s new to us, and his position as a guard is one likely to provide those wow reaction moments. But don’t let the hype die down, when he is ready to play in the 2020-21 season, everyone is going to wonder what could have been this year, including Jay Wright, who joked after the scrimmage about making another effort to get him a waiver.