For those of you frequent readers of the My 2 Sense blog, you know by now that I coach youth basketball. For the last 15 years, I have roamed the sidelines guiding my teams through wins and losses.
When I first began, I thought the key was to have a dominant big man. That was until we played our first few games, and then I found out what I truly needed was a POINT GUARD! A guy who could not only feed the big man, but run my offense (numerous sets), quarterback our defense, and hopefully, have that innate ability to just make a play when the game was on the line. Yes, that is a lot to ask for, but I was lucky enough to have one of “those guys” a few years ago. He was not someone that would dazzle you while watching lay-up lines, and was not even our best athlete. However, he knew the offense from all five positions, ALWAYS made the extra pass to an open teammate, drove to the basket when the opportunity presented itself, and flat out knocked down outside shots when given the chance. Best of all, my point guard had a knack for making “thee pivotal play” when our games hung in the balance. Quite simply, when the rock was in his hands, my mind was at ease. Why do I bring this up you ask? Because when I watch the Villanova Wildcats play, I see the look of calm in coach Jay Wright’s eyes when he stands next to “his guy”, point guard Ryan Arcidiacono. He provides everything I just described for his Villanova team, and they would not be playing this weekend without him.
Arcidiacono – pronounced Archid-ee-ock-aknow, hails from Langhorne, PA, where he grew up a die-hard Nova fan. I guess he didn’t really have a choice in that regard, because both of his parents are graduates of the college. From the moment he stepped on campus, Coach Wright gave Ryan the keys to the car. He started every game as a freshman and lead the team in minutes played (34) and assists. Although never truly being the best player on his roster, Ryan had “it”, and Wright knew it. His numbers do not blow you away, he averaged 12 points, 4 assists, and 3 rebounds per game this season. Yet, he is shooting 38% from three-point range, and an extremely coach-friendly, 83% from the free throw line. Want an example of just how important he is to what Nova does, in Saturday’s Elite Eight upset of Kansas, everything they did down the stretch was funneled through…ARCH! He has what Bill Raftery affectionately refers to as “onions”, because more often than not, he will make the winning play in the final seconds to close out a V for Villanova’s victory!
So, when the first national semi-final of this weekend’s Final Four tips off, I know you will be keying in on Oklahoma’s, brilliant Buddy Hield. He is averaging 29.3 points per game this March, and is in shooting range the minute he emerges from the Sooners’ locker room. Please do me a favor, and keep your eye on #15 in blue on Saturday as well. It will be hard not to, as he will have the ball in his hands much of the game. I do not know whether he will be having a good or bad game throughout, but I do know that if it is a close one, Ryan Arcidiacono’s fingerprints will be all over it come crunch time. That you can count on!
And that is My 2 Sense for this week. I hope you enjoy the last few days of college basketball season, and as always, thanks for stopping by.