Arch’s Arrival

by Jeremy Bauman / @JBauman13

Last weekend at the Mary Kline Classic event at the Pennington School in central New Jersey, SLAM was able to catch up with one of the best 2012 lead guards in the nation.

Ryan Arcidiacono, a 6-3 guard from Langhorne, PA, has distance for weeks combined with an extremely unselfish attitude and willingness to get his teammates involved on the hardwood. Just try to get him to talk about himself, and the guard smoothly transitions to what he really cares about—getting his teammates involved and winning games.

“As a point guard, if you’re a pass-first point guard, that’s everything you can dream for as a big man,” explained fellow Nova 2012 recruit, forward Daniel Ochefu. “I know that if he passes the ball to me in the paint I can always kick it back out and he’s going to knock down the three, so that’s always a good look right there.”

From the moment “Arch” steps on campus—particularly on the hardwood—he’s going to be a popular guy; continuing the tradition of having excellent floor generals at the Philadelphia school shouldn’t be a problem, and if attitude is any indication of how the team will do during his four years under Jay Wright, the Wildcats faithful should be in for some more exciting basketball.

SLAM: What do you think of the event?

Ryan Arcidiacono: It’s all for a good cause. It’s a shame that his mother died from cancer, but having Jessica talk, seeing all the players coming from Boston and everywhere, it’s a great event and a fun game.

SLAM: Are you doing any recruiting for Villanova?

RA: Ahh, I mean I’m trying to talk to a few guys here. I was really hoping for Allerik Freeman to be here, but I don’t think he’s here. That’s who coach told me to recruit because he came on an official visit with me, so I was hoping to talk to him. I’m definitely going to talk to some of these younger kids just to get Nova in their head and to get them thinking about it.

SLAM: I’m sure Jay Wright wouldn’t be too upset with you talking to Wayne Selden or Jermaine Lawrence and trying to get them to come…

RA: Absolutely not—any of these kids, I’m sure he wouldn’t be too mad, for sure.

SLAM: Talk about this summer—you have the Team USA U18 Camp that you’re headed to.

RA: June 4-12 I’m trying out for the USA team and if I make it then I get to go to Brazil. If I get cut then I’ll head to school in June and if I make the team then I’ll head to school in July.

SLAM: As a player, you don’t plan on getting cut…

RA: Nah, nah. I’m planning on making the team, but if for some reason I do get cut at least I have a scholarship to go play at Villanova. It’s kind of a win-win situation but you’d always like to make the team.

SLAM: Who’s your main competition over there. Who are you competing with for a spot?

RA: I’m not really sure who’s going to be there. I think James Robinson (DeMatha, MD), the Harrison twins—Andrew and Aaron (Fort Bend Travis, TX), Nate Britt (Gonzaga College Prep, MD) and a couple of other kids, too.

SLAM: Who is the best point guard that you’ve seen? Who is your top competition?

RA: There are so many kids that are out there—I mean, I’ve played against so many top kids in the whole country. There’s a level that everyone’s at, but it’s just a matter of who gets to the top and that’s what I’m trying to do. Some of the kids are really good. There is going to be some tough competition at the USA tryout.

SLAM: What are your goals for when you arrive at Villanova and beyond? I’m sure you’re striving to play in the NBA eventually.

RA: I just have to get to school first and do whatever Coach Wright needs me to do—just help win games. I’m not really worried about my stats or anything like that. I honestly just want to win games and get to the NCAA Tournament because that’s where magic happens.

SLAM: Growing up watching guys like Mike Nardi, Curtis Sumpter, Allan Ray, Kyle Lowry… The list goes on with Villanova guards from the past decade, which impacted you tremendously, I’m sure.

RA: Absolutely. Just the way they play their guards—I’m really excited for this upcoming year, I’m excited for everything. We have a ton of solid big men – not as many guards this year—but I’m just excited to get out there and play and represent Villanova in the right way.

SLAM: They had a losing year this past year, so you guys have a little pressure on you heading into the season.

RA: Yeah, a little pressure! Everyone’s doubting us a little bit saying we’re not the best team in Philly, but we just have to go out there and try to prove it to everyone and hopefully have a better record than last year. We just need to improve as a team on and off the court.

SLAM: As a shooter, what percentages do you expect to shoot from the 3-point line, the free throw line, etc.?

RA: Hopefully I shoot really well—38 percent, 40 percent from three and maybe in like the 80s at the free throw line. I’m just hoping to lead the team. Whether it’s Tyrone Johnson or me or anyone else bringing the ball up the court, hopefully I can just get my teammates involved. I’m not really worried about what I shoot—I’m just hoping to get everybody involved.

SLAM: You don’t mess with Twitter or Facebook too much. Talk about why you don’t really utilize the social networking sites in this day and age when so many other players are using this stuff left and right.

RA: It was just never really my thing. I never really got into it, I don’t really want to get into it. I pretty much want it to be out of sight, out of mind. I want to get to Villanova, concentrate on my academics, do well in school and do well on the court.

SLAM: What about Philly cheesesteaks? If you don’t hit up Geno’s, which one do you hit up?

RA: I’m honestly never down in the city. There are great cheesesteaks everywhere in Philly, so around my way, it’s easy to get a good cheesesteak.