By Kevin McGuire

Name: Ryan Arcidiacono
University: Villanova University
Year: Junior
Height: 6′-3″
Weight: 195 lb.
Hometown: Langhorne, Pa
Position: Guard

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Villanova’s run in the NCAA Tournament may have ended before many around Nova Nation would have liked, but the future of the program remains bright. Next season should see Villanova every bit of a threat in the Big East and the Wildcats could be a dangerous team once again depending on the match-ups. One player that should be expected to lead the team next season will be Ryan Arcidiacono, who is set to return for his senior season.

Villanova runs in Arcidiacono’s family. His parents both attended the university and his father, Joe, played football for the school from 1976-1980. Ryan has done well in establishing his own Villanova legacy though.

After missing the 2011-2012 season as he recovered from back surgery, Arcidiacono quickly made a name for himself the following season buy earning multiple Big East Rookie of the Week honors and becoming the first Villanova freshman since Scottie Reynolds to score 25 points in a game. He led the team in minutes played and assists in his first season on the court and played his way to a unanimous spot on the Big East All-Rookie team. Along the way, the young guard was voted a team captain, earning the title of leader early on. And he was just getting started.

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Arcidiacono followed up his debut season with another fantastic season in 2013-2014. He earned Honorable Mention All-Big East and second team All Big Five while averaging 31.1 minutes per game and leading the team with 118 assists and committing just 48 turnovers through the year. Arcidiacono took on a larger role as a regular starter, earning the starting nod in 17 of 18 Big East conference games.

This past season the growth of Arcidiacono continued as he earned First Team All Big East honors, joining teammate Darrun Hilliard. Arcidiacono averaged 10.7 points and 3.6 assists per game and was viewed as the team’s floor leader. At the end of Villanova’s regular season, Arcidiacono was third in the conference in assist/turnover ratio, showing his ability to protect the basketball while running Villanova’s guard-heavy and balanced offense.

Like many players on Villanova’s roster, Arcidiacono buys into the team philosophy of spreading the ball around to create scoring opportunities. Against a good number of teams, Villanova’s guard approach works, and Arcidiacono is a big reason why. But as the NCAA tournament showed, Villanova can be challenged by a big presence under the basket. This is something that will be out of Arcidiacono’s control, but the mission will still be the same when it comes time to start up a brand new season in November.

The one thing Arcidiacono and Villanova have not managed to do though is advance past the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats have been bounced form the tournament in the first weekend each of the past three years. Going into his senior season, if there is one thing Arcidiacono needs to do before moving on form the Wildcats, it is lead his team to the Sweet 16.

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Kevin McGuire is a Philadelphia area sports writer covering the Philadelphia Eagles and college football. McGuire is a member of the FWAA and National Football Foundation. Follow McGuire on Twitter @KevinOnCFB. His work can be found on Examiner.com.