Jay Wright says he will miss Villanova senior Mouphtaou Yarou
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - He played his last game like so many of the others, with all-out fury, unending hustle with an undying spirit.
This was it for Villanova 6-foot-10, 250-pound senior Mouphtaou Yarou, who ended his career with another strong effort, scoring 17 points and grabbing eight rebounds during the Wildcats' 78-71 loss to North Carolina in a second-round NCAA South Regional game at the Sprint Center.
During his time at Villanova, Yarou was as respected as much for his genial personality and leadership as he was for his game. All aspects have received high marks.
"Mouph is one of my favorite guys to coach," Villanova coach Jay Wright said.
And a player admired for overcoming obstacles.
"As a freshman he was diagnosed with Hepatitis B and I had a talk with him telling him that if he couldn't play, he would still stay on scholarship at Villanova," Wright said.
Yarou obviously did play and very well, being part of three NCAA tournament teams, but his contributions went beyond.
"He has always given so much to the university and the student body," Wright said.
Yarou finished his career with 1,068 points, 836 rebounds and 101 blocked shots.
"I learned a lot just playing for Villanova," Yarou said, showing true emotion while realizing this was his last game as a Wildcat. "I met a lot of great people and coach Wright helped me a lot through ups and downs."
Villanova finished this season 20-14, but the Wildcats weren't expected to be vastly improved from the 13-19 squad of 2011-2012.
"I have had three great years, but this year was the best," said Yarou, who is originally from Benin, a country in West Africa. "We lost to Columbia, won against some tougher teams and the locker room was great. We were brothers and I really enjoyed it."
And while the NCAA experience will help Villanova enter next season with heightened expectations, Wright will miss coaching Yarou.
"He has gotten so much better and I think he is one of best forwards in the country," Wright said. "He can rebound and shoot with anybody and depends on the perimeter and the post."
And Wright, who has coached his share of outstanding individuals, added one final comment on his senior.
"As a coach you have guys that come a long way," Wright said. "He has come so far as a player and a man."
Contact Marc Narducci at email@example.com. Follow @sjnard on Twitter.