Bell turning into real leader for Villanova

James Bell arrived on the Main Line with lofty credentials.

But for one reason or another, he kept getting sidetracked on the way to becoming to a standout at Villanova.

Bell came to Villanova as a two-time high school player of the year. By the fall of 2010-11, he had surgery on the tibia of both legs. Since his freshman year, there have been ups and downs, some stretches of good basketball. In between, there have been plenty of subpar performances.

Now as a junior, Bell is thriving. Against rival Saint Joseph’s, he knocked down the game-winning, 3-pointer with two free throws to seal the 65-61 win. It wasn’t just the points — it was also his defensive tenacity and leadership qualities which have been much more evident.

Remember, it was Bell’s two 3-pointers in overtime that helped the Wildcats upset Purdue earlier this season.

“This kid’s got guts,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said. “He really does. He does all of the little things for our team. He’s a leader for our team. He’s got a lot of guts, man. I just love having him on our side.”

Even with the huge shots Bell has made, the 6-foot-6 guard refuses to get overconfident.

“It’s a big feeling, but like coach already said, highs can’t be too highs and lows can’t be too low,” Bell said. “We had to get a stop on the other end and I was worried about getting back.”

Saved by the Bell

Bell poured in 14 in Villanova’s 75-65 win over Delaware.

Next up is a road game at Monmouth (Dec. 22).

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