Scottie Reynolds received yet another impressive distinction today when he was named first team All-America by the Associated Press. He is the first Villanova player to be given this honor since Randy Foye in 2006. Joining him on the team were John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Evan Turner and Wesley Johnson.
Reynolds averaged a career-best 18.2 points per game this season and shot 45.7 percent from the field.
He is the fourth Wildcat ever to be named to the team, joining Foye, Kerry Kittles and Paul Arizin.
The postseason honors continue to roll in for Reynolds. The latest is being honored as a First Team All-American. The guard-heavy team (no player is taller than 6’7″) also features Big East Player of the Year Wesley Johnson.
Sherron Collins, Kansas (G, 5-11, 205, Sr., Chicago, Ill.)
Wesley Johnson, Syracuse (F, 6-7, 205, Jr., Corsicana, Texas)
Scottie Reynolds, Villanova (G, 6-2, 190, Sr., Herndon, Va.)
Evan Turner, Ohio State (G/F, 6-7, 205, Jr., Chicago, Ill.)
John Wall, Kentucky (G, 6-4, 195, Fr., Raleigh, N.C.)
Cole Aldrich, Kansas (C, 6-11, 245, Jr., Bloomington, Ind.)
James Anderson, Oklahoma State (G, 6-6, 210, Jr., Junction City, Ark.)
DeMarcus Cousins, Kentucky (F, 6-11, 260, Fr., Mobile, Ala.)
Luke Harangody, Notre Dame (F, 6-8, 246, Sr., Schererville, Ind.)
Jon Scheyer, Duke (G, 6-5, 190, Sr., Northbrook, Ill.)
When Scottie Reynolds was named the only unanimous selection to all-Big East first team, it seemed like it would suggest that he was the favorite to be named Villanova’s third Big East Player of the Year in school history. Apparently not.
The news broke on Tuesday that it was Syracuse’s Wesley Johnson, and not Reynolds, who would be taking home this year’s award. There’s a strong case that can be made for Johnson, and there’s no doubt that both could wind up as first team All-Americans. However, there is a better case for Reynolds, and here it is:
1) Scottie paid his dues
For four years Reynolds has become one of the faces of the Big East. He burst onto the scene his freshman year with a 40-point game in a win at UConn. His legend grew when he led a 12th-seeded Villanova team to the Sweet 16 as a sophomore. In the Elite Eight during his junior year, he hit the shot that made him a national name.
When the season is over Reynolds should be Villanova’s all-time leading scorer and one of the most memorable players in the school’s and the conference’s history.
Wesley Johnson, quite simply, is not.
It’s no knock on him, but the facts are that Johnson is essentially a one-and-done for Syracuse. He is a transfer from Iowa State that will most likely be headed to the NBA next season. Syracuse and the Big East are just a stop on Johnson’s path, not a home like Villanova and the conference are for Reynolds.
To me the situation is a lot like the 2002-’03 Player of the Year race. That year Syracuse forward Carmelo Anthony took the nation by storm as he averaged 22.2 points per game and 10 rebounds per game en route to an NCAA title.
While Anthony won a lot that season, one thing he didn’t win was Big East Player of the Year. That went to Big East lifer Troy Bell, the senior guard from Boston College who averaged 25.2 points per game. He was a better scorer than Reynolds was, but they were very similar players. Bell got the nod not just because of his stats, but likely also because of his career.
2) Reynolds was better than Johnson in Big East play
Overall this season Reynolds has averaged 18.8 points per game while Johnson is at 15.7. The disparity becomes much greater in Big East games. Reynolds was third in the Big East in scoring during conference play, elevating his scoring average to 19.9 ppg. Johnson’s scoring dipped to 14.8 ppg, good for only 16th in the conference.
Johnson cracked the 20-point mark three times during Big East games. Reynolds did it in nine games.
In his final nine games, Johnson scored more than 16 points just once. Reynolds scored at least 16 in every game.
There’s obviously more to a game than scoring, and Johnson clearly contributes more as a rebounder, averaging 8.5 per game. As a scorer, though, Reynolds was dominant and Johnson was run-of-the-mill in conference play.
Also, it’s true that Johnson suffered form a hand injury down the stretch and that hampered his play. However, Notre Dame’s Luke Harangody missed five games this season with a bone bruise, but his numbers are equally, if not more impressive than Johnson’s, so why not give it to him. And if you think Reynolds is 100 percent healthy after an 18-game Big East schedule, you are mistaken.
3) Reynolds is more important to his team
When Villanova was on the ropes against Louisville, Reynolds scored 30 points in the second half. When the Wildcats needed some one to hit a shot to beat Marquette, Reynolds threw the ball between his legs and then hit a running jumper. When his team needed a lift in the second half, he gave them one each game.
Reynolds is the best player on Villanova, and he has to be every game. It’s not the same for Johnson.
Johnson has surely had some memorable performances (the 20-point, 19-rebound performance against Seton Hall sticks out), but when he contributed less at the end of the season, it was okay. Andy Rautins, Rick Jackson and Arinze Onuaku could carry the load too.
Outside of the occasional dominant performance from Corey Fisher, Reynolds always carries the load. There is no player that means more to his team in the Big East than Reynolds.
Reynolds does-it-all for Villanova. He is the face of the program, and in many ways this year’s face of the Big East. Even without winning Player of the Year, he will be remembered within the conference much more often than Johnson will be. In many ways, he represented what the Big East was all about.
Scottie Reynolds, Corey Fisher and Maalik Wayns all find themselves honored by the league. With Reynolds being the only unanimous selection, it would suggest he is the favorite for Big East player of the year.
ALL-BIG EAST FIRST TEAM
Greg Monroe, Georgetown, C, So., 6-11, 247, New Orleans, La.
Luke Harangody, Notre Dame, F, Sr., 6-8, 255, Schererville, Ind.
Dominique Jones, USF, G, Jr., 6-4, 205, Lake Wales, Fla.
Wes Johnson, Syracuse, F, Jr., 6-7, 205, Corsicana, Texas
Scottie Reynolds, Villanova, G, Sr., 6-2, 190, Herndon, Va. *
Da’Sean Butler, West Virginia, F, Sr., 6-7, 225, Newark, N.J.
ALL-BIG EAST SECOND TEAM
Austin Freeman, Georgetown, G, Jr., 6-4, 237, Mitchelville, Md.
Lazar Hayward, Marquette, F, Sr., 6-6, 225, Buffalo, N.Y.
Ashton Gibbs, Pittsburgh, G, So., 6-2, 190, Scotch Plains, N.J.
Jeremy Hazell, Seton Hall, G, Jr., 6-5, 185, Bronx, N.Y.
Andy Rautins, Syracuse, G, Sr., 6-5, 195, Jamesville, N.Y.
ALL-BIG EAST THIRD TEAM
Jerome Dyson, Connecticut, G, Sr., 6-3, 190, Potomac, Md.
Kemba Walker, Connecticut, G, So., 6-1, 172, Bronx, N.Y.
Samardo Samuels, Louisville, F, So., 6-9, 260, Trelawny, Jamaica
Corey Fisher, Villanova, G, Jr., 6-1, 200, Bronx, N.Y.
Devin Ebanks, West Virginia, F, So., 6-9, 210, Long Island City, N.Y.
BIG EAST HONORABLE MENTION
Jimmy Butler, Marquette, F, Jr., 6-6, 215, Tomball, Texas
Tim Abromaitis, Notre Dame, F, Jr., 6-8, 232, Unionville, Conn.
Jamine Peterson, Providence, F, So., 6-6, 230, Brooklyn, N.Y.
BIG EAST ALL-ROOKIE TEAM
Lance Stephenson, Cincinnati, G, Fr., 6-5, 210, Brooklyn, N.Y. *
Alex Oriakhi, Connecticut, F/C, Fr., 6-9, 240, Lowell, Mass.
Vincent Council, Providence, G, Fr., 6-2, 180, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Dane Miller, Rutgers, F, Fr., 6-7, 210, Henrietta, N.Y. *
Brandon Triche, Syracuse, G, Fr., 6-4, 198, Jamesville, N.Y.
Maalik Wayns, Villanova, G, Fr., 6-1, 185, Philadelphia, Pa.
* unanimous selection
The USBWA announced its 16 finalists for the Oscar Robertson Trophy, given to its player of the year. Among those finalists is Scottie Reynolds. So far this season Reynolds is averaging career-highs in points per game (18.9), field goal percentage (48.8) and 3-point percentage (40.2). While statistics tell part of the story, it is his ability come up big in crunch time that has gained him the most recognition.
This is the second straight season a Wildcat has been a finalist for the award. Last season it was Dante Cunningham.
The complete list of finalists is below:
Cole Aldrich, F, Kansas (6-11, 245, Jr., Bloomington, Minn.)
James Anderson, G, Oklahoma State (6-6, 210, Jr., Junction City, Ark.)
Sherron Collins, G, Kansas (5-11, 205, Sr., Chicago, Ill.)
DeMarcus Cousins, F, Kentucky (6-11, 260, Fr., Mobile, Ala.)
Devan Downey, G, South Carolina (5-9, 170, Sr., Chester, S.C.)
Jimmer Fredette, G, BYU (6-2, 195, Jr., Glens Falls, N.Y.)
Luke Harangody, F, Notre Dame (6-8, 246, Sr., Schererville, Ind.)
Robbie Hummel, F, Purdue (6-8, 208, Jr., Valparaiso, Ind.)
Damion James, G/F, Texas (6-7, 225, Sr., Nacogdoches, Texas)
Wesley Johnson, F, Syracuse (6-7, 205, Jr., Corsicana, Texas)
Dominique Jones, G, South Florida (6-4, 215, Jr., Lake Wales, Fla.)
Greg Monroe, C, Georgetown (6-11, 247, So., New Orleans, La.)
Scottie Reynolds, G, Villanova (6-2, 190, Se., Herndon, Va.)
Jon Scheyer, G, Duke (6-5, 190, Sr., Northbrook, Ill.)
Evan Turner, G/F, Ohio State (6-7, 205, So., Chicago, Ill.)
John Wall, G, Kentucky (6-4, 195, Fr., Raleigh, N.C.)