- Dana O'Neil, ESPN Senior Writer
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Since his August arrest for possession of a "small amount" of marijuana, Villanova guard Reggie Redding has been able to lay low.
But with the Wildcats' season just around the corner, there's nowhere left to hide and so, the senior and one-time team captain is talking for the first time about how difficult the past two months have been.
"It's been so hard," said Redding, who had to watch while Villanova celebrated the hanging of its Final Four banner on Friday night and hosted an intrasquad scrimmage on Saturday. "As a senior you want to go out with a bang and do every little thing that comes along with your senior year, so watching them out there [over the weekend] was brutal, but I know I have lot more to do at Villanova. I'm trying to remember that."
Redding was arrested in mid-August after Radnor (Pa.) Township police, investigating a car accident on the Villanova campus, discovered marijuana in his parked car. The university allowed Redding to stay enrolled in school and practice with the team, but he cannot participate in any public team functions or games until Dec. 19.
Stripped of his captaincy, he will miss 10 games, including the Wildcats' November trip to Puerto Rico.
Redding made no excuses for his actions, instead labeling his decision a "disappointment" and an "embarrassment." He said in the days after his arrest was made public, he wanted to pull the hood on his sweatshirt tight around his head and hide. Ultimately, he realized he had to take the heat.
"I'm proud of him. He never once acted like a victim in all of this," Villanova coach Jay Wright said. "He's someone who made a mistake and who has been very contrite about it.
"He knows there are people, some people, who are not going to forget about this and who will always associate this situation with him. All he can do is create a legacy of positive acts going forward and take responsibility for his actions. He's doing that."
A Philadelphia native, Redding said the heat has been especially scorching since this happened in his family's backyard.
"Knowing how proud my family is and still are of me, calling them to tell them what I did was awful," he said. "I know how much they love to watch me play and to take that away from them, I just felt so selfish."
Things will get harder before they get easy. Villanova will open its season on Nov. 13 with Redding in street clothes.
It's a big blow personally for him but equally rough for a Wildcats team that is the preseason favorite to win the Big East.
One of the team's best on-the-ball defenders, Redding played in all 38 games last year, averaging 7.1 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game.
It was his pass that set up Scottie Reynolds' buzzer-beating shot against Pittsburgh, allowing Villanova to reach the Final Four.
"I don't know how I'll react once the season starts," Redding said, "but it's just another part of the process. I know I'll want to be out there with my teammates, but I have to wait and earn my way back."
Dana O'Neil covers college basketball for ESPN.com.