New leaders ready to drive Villanova

When most college basketball teams lose their best player — one of the best in their school’s history — they usually take a step down. But that’s not the case for Villanova.

Despite losing four-year star Scottie Reynolds, the Wildcats enter the 2010-11 season as a top-15 team in the nation. There is no lapse for this team.

Along with Reynolds, Villanova also graduated Reggie Redding. But with experienced seniors Corey Fisher, Corey Stokes and Antonio Pena leading the way, as well as promising young players like Maalik Wayns, Dominic Cheek and Mouphtaou Yarou, the future is bright.

“We lost Scottie and Reggie Redding, but we have a lot of talent,” said Stokes. “All through the offseason we worked hard to replace those guys and I think we’ll do a great job this year.

“Me, Antonio [Pena] and Corey Fisher are really gonna step up this year as leaders on the team.”

For the first time in a while, ’Nova coach Jay Wright has some big men at his disposal. With Pena, Yarou, Maurice Sutton and freshman Jayvaughn Pinkston all expected to earn significant playing time, Wright will turn to a bigger lineup.

“I think our best team is Antonio Pena playing facing the basket and Mouph [Yarou] playing inside,” said Wright. “That’s really what we want to do.”

No matter what lineup Wright throws out there, there’s no doubt Villanova will again be among the top teams in the Big East.