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Columnists | Message Board  | Daily Dribble

By Paul Elkins

January 10th


Randy Foye: Player of the Year?


In the midst of the hoopla surrounding the media-created two-man competition for college basketball player of the year, it has been hard for anyone to even utter another name alongside Duke's J. J. Redick and Gonzaga's Adam Morrison.  But before the college basketball world eliminates everyone but the two great white hopes from consideration, dare I suggest a third player (gasp!) who might be worth a look.

Randy Foye, the rock-solid 6'4" combo guard on the nation's third-ranked Villanova Wildcats, has been nothing short of spectacular in leading his team to a 10-1 mark through eleven games.  Foye is the centerpiece of an uptempo guard-oriented offense that has trailed in the second half of one game all season, this past Sunday's close lose to West Virginia.  While +40-point performances against ranked-teams - Redick against Texas, and Morrison against Michigan State and Washington - have grabbed more headlines and SportsCenter airtime for the two frontrunners, the remarkably productive and well-rounded efforts of Foye have been just as impressive in my estimation.

While he may lack the panache (and trashy 'stache) of Morrison, or the moxie of Redick, he does not lack the numbers of his more publicized counterparts.  He isn't quite the scorer, at 21.0 points per game, as is Morrison (27.8 ppg) or Redick (25.3 ppg), but his rebounding (5.6 per game, compared to 6.1 for Morrison, and 1.7 for Reddick), assists (3.8 per game, compared to 1.9 for Morrison, and 2.2 for Reddick), and three-point proficiency (2.8 makes per game, compared to 1.8 for Morrison, and 3.7 for Reddick) all stack up favorably.  Additionally, Villanova Coach Jay Wright touts Foye as his team's best defender, a claim both Coaches Krzyzewski at Duke and Few at Gonzaga would be hard-pressed to stake about their respective stars.

Not unlike Morrison and Reddick, Foye shines brightest in big games.  Last year, as Villanova proved the toughest obstacle in the NCAA tournament for eventual national champion North Carolina, Foye scored a then-career-high 28 points being guarded by the likes of current NBA guards Raymond Felton and Rashad McCants in the Wildcats' one-point loss.  This season, against then-fifth-ranked Oklahoma, he dropped a career-high 32 points on 14-of-21 shooting in delivering the Sooners their first defeat.  In last week's big conference road victory, he had 24 points and 9 rebounds at ninth-ranked Louisville.

Also, Foye, more effectively than either Morrison or Redick, contributes in other ways on the rare occasion when his shot is off.  Last season, as he made only 3 of 15 shots against St. Joseph's, but he harrassed sharp-shooter Pat Carroll into a 4-of-19 shooting performance.  This season, as Foye struggled to a 4-of-13 shooting effort against Temple, he contributed 10 rebounds and 9 assists.

While Villanova may not have played a pre-conference schedule as difficult as those of Duke and Gonzaga, if Villanova's winning ways continue throughout Big East play, and Foye continues on his current track, don't be surprised if Randy Foye grabs the last headline.





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