Cheek leaving Villanova for the NBA Draft

Cheek leaving Villanova for the NBA Draft
April 12, 2012, 5:15 pm
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Villanova junior guard Dominic Cheek, who ranked 20th out of 24 Big East players in three-point shooting this past season, announced Thursday hes leaving the school and making himself available for the NBA draft.Cheek is Villanovas second starting junior guard to leave Villanova with a year of eligibility remaining. Maalik Wayns, who ranked 22nd in the Big East in three-point shooting, announced last month hes leaving the school.Cheek shot 57 for 178 from three this past year (32 percent) and Wayns shot 45 for 151 (30 percent), both among the bottom five in the conference among those who took at least 150 threes.With Cheek and Wayns out of the program, Villanova returns only one full-time starter from last year, 6-10 pivot Mouphtaou Yarou.Cheek, a former McDonalds All-America at storied St. Anthonys in Jersey City, never panned out at Villanova and finished his career on the Main Line with 742 points in 97 games, a 7.7 per game average. In his one year as a starter, he averaged 12.5 points per game, but shot below 40 percent from the field, made only 57 of 178 threes and had more turnovers (50) than assists (43).Cheek scored 10 or fewer points in 15 of Villanovas 32 games this past year, and in two Big East tournament games, he shot 1-for-9 and 0-for-4 from three and scored just six total points.Cheek averaged 23 points in Novas first three games this past season -- vs. Monmouth, Delaware and La Salle -- then averaged 11.5 the rest of the year.I appreciate all the help I have gotten from my teammates, coaches and friends during my time at Villanova, Cheek said in a statement released by Villanova. At this point in my life, I feel this is the best decision for me and my family. I am excited to get started with the process of pursuing my dream of playing in the NBA.As of now, Cheek does not project to be selected in the NBAs two-round draft, but he will have the chance to improve his stock in various pre-draft camps and all-star games. Hell have a much better chance trying to find a job in Europe or elsewhere overseas, at least right off the bat, than in the NBA.We support Dominic in his decision, Villanova coach Jay Wright said in a statement. We will assist him as he goes through the process of preparing for the draft and his professional career.With Cheek and Wayns out of the program, Villanova has only eight players back from last years team, including five who were freshmen. The only returning upperclassmen are Yarou (11.3 points, 8.2 rebounds) and forwards James Bell (7.0 points, 3.8 rebounds) and Maurice Sutton (3.6 points, 3.1 rebounds). Yarou and Sutton will be the programs only seniors, and Bell is the only junior.Also back are rising sophomores JayVaughn Pinkston (9.6 ppg, 5.2 rbg), Darrun Hilliard (4.8, 2.4), Ty Johnson (3.3, 2.0 assists), Markus Kennedy (3.0, 4.4 rebounds) and Achraf Yacoubou (2.2 points per game).Villanova will also add incoming freshmen point guard Ryan Arcidiacono of Neshaminy High, who is likely to start alongside Johnson in the backcourt, and 6-9 Daniel Ochefu of Westtown School.Villanova missed the NCAA tournament this past season for the first time since 2004 and went 13-19, missing all postseason play for the first time since 1999.E-mail Reuben Frank at rfrank@comcastsportsnet.com