The impact Bryan Antoine will have on Villanova

Villanova St Johns Basketball
Villanova head coach Jay Wright, right, talks to Bryan Antoine during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against St. John’s Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020, in New York. Villanova won 79-59. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Bryan Antoine went through a tough freshman season. He had shoulder surgery before the year started and the recovering process kept him out of the lineup for the majority of games ahead. Antoine is an elite prospect, one that can score at will from anywhere on the floor. He has great ball handling skills that can allow him to make an impact at both guard positions, and he is an active defender. The expectations of this Villanova team only regressed because of the impact that Antoine wasn’t able to give.

Villanova needed that scorer, that killer after now-NBA player Donte Divincenzo departed. Antoine has that. Against Middle Tennessee, Antoine played 19 minutes and showed a glimpse of his great potential. He scored nine points with two assists and one steal, shooting 4-for-6 from the field and draining a long-range shot. He scored over 2,000 career points for Ranney high school and wasn’t ranked lower than 20 by any recruiting site.

The big question is what position will Antoine play? Some think small forward where you could see a 6-7 222 Jermaine Samuels playing power forward. That would allow Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, if he returns, or Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree to play the center position.

Then you have his natural guard position. While Antoine was recovering from his injury, freshman guard Justin Moore was making a name for himself. Moore averaged 11.3 points a game and shot 39% from long range. Antoine and Moore will end up being arguably the best shooting guard battle this program has seen. Villanova will also have great depth at the guard position next season with transfer Caleb Daniels and sharpshooting 2019 Pennsylvania prospect Chris Arcidiacono.

Antoine will play both guard and small forward his length and athleticism will allow him too. No matter if he starts or comes off the bench Antoine will get starters minutes. He has had a chance to sit back and learn the Villanova system and works extremely hard off the court. He will be a key part of taking this Villanova team to the next level. With the type of talent Villanova has at guard this unit has a chance to be really special.

Will Antoine start at shooting guard next to Collin Gillespie? That could form a frontcourt of Jermaine Samuels at small forward, Cole Swider or Jeremiah Robinson-Earl power forward and Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree at center. Or will Antoine play off the bench in the “sixth starter” role? Could Jay Wright go to a smaller starting line up with Antoine playing small forward> However he is used on the court, he will make a big impact.

Photo credit: AP Photo/Frank Franklin II