The defending national champions landed one of the top graduate transfers on the market this past Tuesday as the University of Albany’s Joe Cremo, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard out of Scotia, New York, announced his commitment to play for the Wildcats for his senior year.
Cremo was arguably the best player in the America East Conference last season after averaging 17.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game, while also nailing 76 three-pointers at a 46% clip. Cremo had also been considering Kansas, Texas and Creighton before announcing his decision to become a Wildcat.
While the annual transfer flock in college basketball is populated with hundreds of players innocuously moving from one school to another, the Villanova Wildcats landed a player in Joe Cremo that may very well turn out to be an exception. Unlike the majority of transfers, Cremo will be eligible to play immediately due to his graduate transfer status and is undeniably an impactful addition for Jay Wright’s program. Considering the mild state of influx in which the Wildcat roster currently finds itself, Cremo provides the kind of veteran presence that could prove vital during this upcoming season.
He’ll join a Villanova team that won the national title but lost Jalen Brunson and Mikal Bridges early to the NBA, and could lose Donte DiVincenzo and Omari Spellman. Both declared for the NBA draft, but haven’t decided whether they will sign with an agent and forgo their remaining college eligibility. If both Spellman and DiVincenzo decide to strike while the iron is hot and turn pro, Jay Wright and the Wildcats will have just two returning starters in Phil Booth and Eric Paschall.
Just two weeks after local Abington High School product Eric Dixon pledged his allegiance to the Wildcats, Villanova added on to their 2019 recruiting class on Wednesday when four-star guard Justin Moore announced his decision to commit to the reigning national champs. The 6-foot-4 combo guard checks in as the No. 58 ranked player in the country according to the 247Sports Composite, and gives head coach Jay Wright the exact type of guard he loves and knows how to utilize so well. Moore, a Washington, D.C. native, chose Villanova over offers from Louisville, Maryland, Virginia, Notre Dame and Wake Forest.
Currently attending DeMatha Catholic High, Moore is a prototypical combo-guard, and fills a big need on the roster with Phil Booth exhausting his eligibility after next season and Donte DiVincenzo’s status still up in the air. Moore currently plays for Team Takeover on the Nike EYBL AAU circuit.
The following is a recent scouting report courtesy of 247Sports…
Justin Moore has a good combination of size and skill that he uses to be a very productive basketball player. He is a very good shooter with three-point range. Moore has the toughness of both mind and body that it takes to compete for rebounds in the lane from the guard position and the length to block some shots as a guard. In his second game of the opening weekend of Nike EYBL 2018, he made a crucial blocked shot and steal and contributed buckets in the closing two minutes of regulation to help Takeover race back from a double-figure deficit to force overtime. Moore plays the game at a nice pace and contributes at both ends of the court.
The 6-foot-7, 260-pound junior forward, a four-star prospect ranked 114th nationally in the 2019 recruiting class according to 247Sports, gave an oral commitment to Villanova University on Tuesday, April 16, during a news conference in the Abington High School auditorium. Dixon, a Willow Grove native, chose the Wildcats over Virginia, Seton Hall and Louisville.
An inside-outside scoring threat, Dixon averaged 24 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 1.5 blocked shots last season as Abington went 24-6, earned its third PIAA District 1 title in four seasons, and reached the Class 6A state quarterfinals.
Dixon becomes the third Southeastern Pennsylvania player to commit to Villanova in the last two years. Guard Collin Gillespie (Archbishop Wood) and forward Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree (Neumann-Goretti) were freshman reserves on this year’s squad.
When it comes to the subject of college basketball “royalty”, the most commonly named schools one may reference would probably consist of North Carolina, Kentucky, Kansas, Duke…perhaps UCLA if it was 1972…the point is, Villanova would more than likely be further down on the list, if it was on the list at all. This is no longer the case. There is no more doubting the head coach. No more doubting the system or the culture or the core values in which they believe and religiously adhere to. There is no more doubting Villanova basketball.
By winning their second national championship in three years after overpowering the Michigan Wolverines on April 2nd at the Alamodome, the Villanova Wildcats have become the gold-standard in the college basketball world. They are the preeminent program in the country, and head coach Jay Wright has no intention of shutting down his well-oiled machine anytime soon. The Villanova Wildcats have indeed reached “royalty” status.
After cutting down the nets in 2016, more than a few doubters lingered, wondering if the title won on a buzzer-beater was more a fluke than a system of substance. Their performance during the 2017 season, however, from November through the title game on April 2nd, silenced the naysayers.
The Wildcats ran roughshod over the NCAA Tournament field, defeating each opponent that stood in their way by double-digits. They became the eighth program in the history of college basketball to win two titles in three years, and the first since the Florida Gators went back-to-back a decade ago. Jay Wright is now part of an elite fraternity of coaches with multiple NCAA championships that includes Kentucky’s Adolph Rupp, UCLA’s John Wooden, North Carolina’s Dean Smith and Mike Krzyzewski of Duke. You could say worse company could be had.
The 70,000 fans inside San Antonio’s Alamodome on Saturday night were anticipating what most national semifinal games turn out to be – a back-and-forth, heavyweight clash between two blue-blood college basketball programs. What they witnessed instead was an offensive performance that reached a historic level of proficiency, turning the opposing team into nothing more than a fly on a windshield along the way.
The Villanova Wildcats drained 18 three-point baskets en-route to a 95-79 victory over the Kansas Jayhawks, setting a new NCAA record for made threes in a Final Four game. A little less than four minutes before halftime, the Wildcats tied the existing record after nailing their 13th trey, and 61 seconds into the second half, they broke it with their 14th. The only thing standing in the way now of a second national championship in three years for Jay Wright and Villanova are the 3rd-seeded Michigan Wolverines, whom they will face on Monday night.
Villanova showcased their seemingly limitless shooting range and machine-like offense early and often, stunning the Jayhawks by converting 6 of their first 10 attempts from beyond the arc, all accompanied by an assist, to take a 22-4 lead before the game was seven minutes old. National Player of the Year Jalen Brunson scored 13 points in the first half while Omari Spellman and Eric Paschall added eight points apiece, with Spellman also contributing nine rebounds.
As the second half began, Kansas applied pressure onto the perimeter more aggressively to try and slow down the long-range Wildcat onslaught. As soon as they did, however, ‘Nova recognized the gaps in the paint and began to drive the lane. During one stretch, the Jayhawks were down by 15 points, scored on five straight possessions, only to then find themselves down by 17. That, in a nutshell, is how the night went for Kansas.
After Villanova’s first round opponent, the 16th-seeded Radford Highlanders, nailed a quick three-pointer and then forced a Wildcat turnover on the very first two possessions of the game, fans of the small Virginia school might have momentarily allowed themselves to wonder if maybe the impossible could be accomplished. About 90 seconds of game time later, however, those same fans quickly realized those thoughts were nothing more than delusions of grandeur.
The Wildcats completely manhandled the Highlanders at both ends of the court, eventually defeating the by a more than comfortable 26 points, 87-61. Aside from those first two possessions, Radford was never really in the game at any point.
Villanova’s second round opponent, however, will more than likely put up a more spirited fight than the Highlanders could muster. The 9th-seeded Alabama Crimson Tide, coming off their first round victory over 8th-seeded Virginia Tech, boast a top-20 ranked defense according to kenpom. They also roster the extremely talented Collin Sexton, a freshman phenom guard that appears to be headed to the NBA as a potential lottery pick after this tournament is over.
“Unique circumstance” would be a way of putting it lightly when describing Jahvon Quinerly’s recruitment process over the past twelve months. The 6-foot, 170-pound point guard out of Jersey City’s Hudson Catholic High School announced his verbal commitment to Villanova University this past Wednesday via his personal Instagram account. Quinerly, a Hackensack, New Jersey native, is ranked as the No. 5 point guard and 26th overall prospect among the nation’s top 100 high school recruits according to ESPN.
Once part of head coach Sean Miller and Arizona’s loaded 2018 recruiting class that had been ranked as high as second in the country, Quinerly de-committed and reopened his recruitment this past October after the FBI conducted an extensive investigation into the underbelly of the college basketball world. Among numerous other indictments handed down, the investigation led to the arrest and firing of former Arizona assistant Emmanuel “Book” Richardson, the man most responsible for recruiting Jahvon Quinerly to the school’s Tucson, Arizona campus. What has become increasingly clear as the discovery portion of the probe comes to a close is that the amplitude of potential NCAA rules violations uncovered throughout college basketball is wide enough to fundamentally and indelibly alter the sport.