Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Absence of Corey Stokes

Villanova pulled out a victory at Depaul earlier today in overtime, in a game that should never be close, but a lot of the score had to do with a player that didn't see any time on the court. Corey Stokes is a knock down shooter and his turf toe injury has really affected the team's play in the past three games.  Sure Corey Fisher is probably the best player on the team, as shown by his 34 points against Depaul, but Corey Stokes could be the most important due to the lack of depth.

Corey Fisher and Maalik Wayns are both capable of running the offense, although most will argue Fisher is much better at it.  They are both similar players, in that they both like to get to the hoop and drive the lane.  When Stokes is healthy, Fisher and Wayns can drive to the hoop and if a help defender comes to meet them near the hoop, they can kick it out to Stokes, who rarely misses an open three pointer.  Stokes' defender doesn't leave his side usually, giving Wayns and Fisher more space in the paint, making it easier to score and/or get to the line. With Stokes out, Fisher and Wayns are met at the hoop and have nowhere to go with the ball.  Dominic Cheek and James Bell are not as capable of perimeter shooting as Stokes, giving Fisher and Wayns a tough time on offense.

Villanova scores 66.7 points per game without Stokes, while they score 75 points per game with him in the lineup.  The offense runs more smoothly with him there, giving them the opportunity to score an easy three by just handing the ball off to #24.  Stokes says he will be back for the game vs. Syracuse on Monday, which will be key for Villanova as they look to shake off a rusty few weeks by getting a win against a quality opponent.

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