Jay Wright is still in a way having open auditions for his Villanova rotation. Nine games in, the Wildcats are still looking to mix and match with a young team.
A person who could be earning some minutes is 6-foot-4 sophomore guard Achraf Yacoubou, who had a career-high 13 points in Saturday's 68-55 win over Penn before a crowd of 6,413 at the Palestra.
Yacoubou shot 4 for 7 from the field, 2 for 5 from beyond the arc and made all three free throws in 25 effective minutes.
His previous career high in points was nine during this year's opener against University of District of Columbia and the most he had played was 18 minutes in a victory over Marshall.
"This really helps my confidence and shows if I keep listening to everything coach says and pay attention to details, I will be good," Yacoubou said.
Last season Yacoubou played in 26 games, making three starts and averaging 10.6 minutes a game.
"Last year as a freshman he struggled a little bit and he has been getting better every day and you see it in practice and we used him a lot today," Wright said. "Nobody on our team is surprised, he is a player who just needs consistency."
Then pausing, Wright added, "That is what our team is like."
Now 5-4, Villanova has a lot of competition for players just to get on the floor. Wright has made playing time open and if people produce their minutes will increase.
It's interesting that Yacoubou's 25 mintues were not many fewer than he had accumulated in the previous four games (29).
So even though it was a team the Wildcats were supposed to beat, Penn showed its character by playing extremely hard and making a game out of it. The Quakers were within six points with under nine minutes left.
So Yacoubou's minutes came in a competitive situation. He came through and it will be interesting to see if that warrants some extra time in Tuesday's Big Five clash against visiting St. Joseph's.