Sports

The best players in Villanova basketball history


With three national championships, six trips to the Final Four, and consistent dominance in conference play, Villanova has nicely built itself into one of the best program’s in the nation. Naturally, the Wildcats have produced some of the best players in college basketball history. Here is our list of 20 notable players to come out of Villanova — listed in chronological order.

 

1 of 20

Paul Arizin, Forward (1948-50)

Paul Arizin, Forward (1948-50)

Bettmann/Contributor/Getty Images

Old school Villanova fans can argue that Arizin might be the best basketball player in school history. He was the Wildcats’ first true star and still owns the school’s single-game scoring record with 85 against the Naval Air Materials Center on Feb. 12, 1949. The next season, his last at Villanova, Arizin led the nation averaging 25.3 points while being tabbed a first-team All-American and the Helms Foundation Player of the Year.

 

2 of 20

Larry Hennessy, Guard (1951-53)

Larry Hennessy, Guard (1951-53)

Villanova University Athletics

Following Paul Arizin’s standout career at Villanova, Hennessey stepped into the spotlight for the Wildcats. He ranks 13th in Villanova history with 1,737 points, and his 23.2 career scoring average remains the highest in school history. His 29.2 points per game during the 1952-53 campaign are also the most among all Villanova players. Hennessey was selected as a third-team All-American by The Associated Press and United Press International in 1953.

 

3 of 20

Bob Schafer, Guard (1952-55)

Bob Schafer, Guard (1952-55)

Villanova University Athletics

As we’ve seen, the Villanova teams of the early 1950s had little trouble scoring the basketball. Not many found the bucket better than Schafer, who ranks fourth in school history with 2,094 career points. Schafer averaged 18.9 during his time as a Wildcat, and his 836 points from the 1953-54 campaign are still a single-season high at the school. Schafer’s 46 points against Baldwin-Wallace on Jan. 8, 1954, rank second in school history.

 

4 of 20

Jim Washington, Forward (1963-65)

Jim Washington, Forward (1963-65)

Villanova University Athletics

As we move into the 1960s, the Wildcats reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament in 1962 and continued to churn out some of the country’s top players. Washington was certainly one of the nation’s best big men during the middle of the decade. He ranks second in Villanova history with 1,194 career rebounds. He averaged 13.5 points and 14.0 rebounds during his three seasons at Villanova. Washington’s 442 rebounds during the 1964-65 season are third-most among all Wildcats, and his 15.8 average boards is the highest in school history.

 

5 of 20

Bill Melchionni, Guard (1964-66)

Bill Melchionni, Guard (1964-66)

Villanova University Athletics

Another Wildcats star of the 1960s, Melchionni resides among the top 20 in Villanova career scoring with 1,612 points. He averaged 19.2 points for his career and boasts two of the highest-scoring games in school history with 44 points versus St. Bonaventure and 40 against Oregon State — both coming in the 1965-66 season. Melchionni’s 801 points from that campaign are the second-most for a single season by any Wildcat. He was the MVP of the National Invitational Tournament in 1966.

 

6 of 20

Howard Porter, Forward (1969-71)

Howard Porter, Forward (1969-71)

Villanova University Athletics

Another player in the conversation for greatest Wildcat of all time. Porter was nothing short of a force while totaling 2,026 points and averaging 22.8 during his three seasons at Villanova. In addition to his scoring ability, Porter pulled down a school-record 14.8 rebounds per game, and his 1,317 total boards are also the most in Villanova history. Four of the school’s top-rebounding games belong to Porter, who grabbed a Villanova-best 30 during the 1970-71 season. The All-American was the Most Outstanding Player of the 1971 Final Four, when coach Jack Kraft’s Wildcats reached the national championship game. However, their runner-up finish was vacated after learning Porter signed a professional contract during that season.

 

7 of 20

Keith Herron, Guard-Forward (1975-78)

Keith Herron, Guard-Forward (1975-78)

YouTube

Among the great players to don a Villanova uniform, Herron’s name might get lost among casual fans of the sport. Yet, he was Villanova’s all-time leading scorer with 2,170 points for 19 years. That total currently ranks third at Villanova, where Herron was a two-time member of the All-Big Five team and an All-American from The Sporting News. For his career, Herron averaged 18.5 points, and his 17.9 scoring average is the highest for a Villanova freshman.

 

8 of 20

John Pinone, Center (1980-83)

John Pinone, Center (1980-83)

Villanova University Athletics

As we move into the 1980s, when Villanova basketball truly came to prominence on national stage, Pinone helped lay the foundation for the program’s success during the decade. The three-time first-team All-American was part of those Wildcats teams that made back-to-back Elite Eight appearances in 1982, when he averaged a career-high 17.2 points, and ’83 — during which he was a third-team All-American. For his career, Pinone averaged 16.1 points, on 55.7 percent shooting, 6.6 rebounds, and 1.8 assists. He ranks eighth in career scoring at Villanova (2,024 points) and 10th with 837 rebounds.

 

9 of 20

Ed Pinckney, Center (1982-85)

Ed Pinckney, Center (1982-85)

Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

One of the most popular players in the history of Villanova basketball, Pinckney was an integral part in Villanova’s underdog run to the 1985 national title as a No. 8 seed (the lowest in NCAA Tournament to win the championship). 

The 6-foot-9 Pinckney averaged a career-high 15.6 points with 8.9 rebounds that season, and he was named the Final Four Most Outstanding Player. During his four seasons at Villanova, Pinckney averaged 14.5 points on a school-record 60.4 percent shooting and 8.6 boards. The two-time All-Big East first-teamer ranks second in school history in blocks (253), fourth in rebounds (1,107), seventh in steals (196), and 11th in scoring (1,865 points).

 

10 of 20

Doug West, Guard-Forward (1986-89)

Doug West, Guard-Forward (1986-89)

Jerry Lodriguss/The Philadelphia Inquirer

West, who helped the Wildcats reach the Elite Eight in 1988, is fifth in school history with 2,037 career points. One season later, he set career highs averaging 18.4 points and 2.8 assists. West, who averaged nearly 15 points as a Wildcat, shot 48.6 percent from the field and roughly 35 percent from beyond the 3-point arc at Villanova. He also averaged 4.6 rebounds

 

11 of 20

Kerry Kittles, Guard (1993-96)

Kerry Kittles, Guard (1993-96)

Ken White/Stringer/Getty Images

When it comes to leaving a mark on their program, not many did it better than Kittles. In his four seasons as a Wildcat, Kittles scored a school-record 2,243 points and averaged 18.4 points while being named first-team All-Big East three times. He helped Villanova win the 1994 postseason NIT title and was Big East Player of the Year for 1994-95. In addition to shooting 47.8 percent from the field, 39.4 from 3-point range, while averaging 5.9 rebounds and 3.3 assists through four years. Kittles is Villanova’s career leader with 277 assists.

 

12 of 20

Randy Foye, Guard (2003-06)

Randy Foye, Guard (2003-06)

Chris Livingston/Icon Sportswire

It can be argued that Kittles’ presence brought a reemergence of star-quality players at Villanova who also went on to enjoy consistent success in the NBA — much like Paul Arizin and Larry Hennessy did. Foye ranks ninth in school history for scoring (1,966 points) and sixth in steals (198). His best individual season at Villanova came in 2005-06, when he average 20.5 points and 5.8 rebounds to grab Big East Player of the Year and consensus first-team All-American honors.

 

13 of 20

Allen Ray, Guard (2003-06)

Allen Ray, Guard (2003-06)

Jason Cohn/Icon Sportswire

Despite various injuries during his time at Villanova, Ray still managed to post 2,025 points for his career. He averaged 15.6 points for the Wildcats, including 18.5 as a senior, when he was tabbed a first-team All-Big East performer and consensus second-team All-American. One of the best 3-point shooters in school history with 312 makes from distance, a single-season school-record 107 came during the 2005-06 campaign. 

 

Kyle Lowry, Guard (2005-06)

Jerome Davis/Icon Sportswire

It can be argued that Lowry’s two seasons at Villanova weren’t mind-blowing from a statistical standpoint, and he certainly had his run-ins with coach Jay Wright. Still, it was obvious Lowry had the overall talent to succeed, and that his freelance game was best made for the NBA — as we saw. In his final collegiate season of 2005-06, Lowry averaged 11.0 points on 46.6 percent shooting from the field and 44.4 percent from 3-point range, plus 4.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 2.3 steals. His No. 1 jersey was retired by the school.

 

Scottie Reynolds, Guard (2007-10)

Jeff Conner/Icon Sportswire

From the get-go, Reynolds seemed poised to leave his mark as one of Villanova’s best offensive players. When all was said and done, Reynolds, the Big East Rookie of the Year in 2007, totaled 2,222 points — second-most in school history. He twice scored 40 in a game. He averaged 16 points while shooting 37.3 percent from 3-point range while at Villanova. As a senior in 2009-10, Reynolds, who originally committed to Oklahoma, set career highs for average points (18.2), field-goal percentage (45.7), and 3-point shooting percentage (38.5) while being named a consensus All-American. 

 

Ryan Arcidiacono, Guard (2013-16)

Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire

Arcidiacono wasn’t a pure scorer like others on this list, but he seemed to have a knack for coming up big when the lights shined brightest. He averaged 11.1 points while starting 143 of the 144 games he played at Villanova. While helping the Wildcats win their second national championship in 2016, he averaged 15.8 points on 66 percent shooting from the field and went 16-of-26 from 3-point range during the six tournament games to be named Most Outstanding Player. Fourth in school history with 535 assists, Arcidiacono was co-Big East Player of the Year in 2015.

 

Josh Hart, Guard-Forward (2014-17)

David Hahn/Icon Sportswire

One of the more exciting players in Villanova history, Hart ranks 10th in school history with 1,921 career points. He led the Wildcats in scoring during their national championship run in 2016 (15.5 points per game) and ’17 (18.7) — the latter as Big East Player of the Year. One of the program’s best shooters at 51.1 percent from the field and 38.9 from 3-point range, Hart also averaged 5.6 rebounds and totaled 161 steals. During his Villanova career, Hart was the co-Big East Defensive Player of the Year (2017), two-time first-team All-Big East, and twice-named Big East Tournament Most Outstanding Player.

 

Mikal Bridges, Guard-Forward (2016-18)

Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports

Bridges was certainly a big reason the Wildcats won two national championships during his time in the program. A key reserve as a freshman and a solid starter during his sophomore season, Bridges broke out in 2017-18, when he averaged 17.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1.5 steals as co-Big East Defensive Player of the Year, Big East Tournament MVP, and a third-team consensus All-American. He went 16-of-36 from 3-point range during the 2018 NCAA Tournament and scored 19 points in the Wildcats’ 79-62 victory over Michigan in the national final.

 

Jalen Brunson, Guard (2016-18)

Bob Donnan/USA TODAY Sports

Even with a bevy of generational talent highlighted here, only two Villanova basketball figures earned national player of the year honors. The aforementioned Paul Arizin was the first in 1950. Brunson came next in 2018, when he took home said honors from the AP, plus the Naismith and Wooden Awards. As a junior en route to his second national title with the Wildcats in 2017-18, Brunson averaged 18.9 points on 52.1 percent shooting from the field and 40.8 from beyond the arc, plus 4.6 assists and 3.1 rebounds. The two-time All-Big East first-team pick Brunson ranks fourth in school history with 756 single-season points from 2017-18

 

Collin Gillespie, Guard (2018-22)

David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports

If it seems like Gillespie has been at Villanova forever, it only seems that way. He leaves the program as one of its most celebrated players. A two-time Big East Player of the Year, Gillespie (2021, ’22) has totaled more than 1,750 points and 450 assists during his five collegiate seasons. Since the 2018-19 campaign, Gillespie started every game he played for the Wildcats and will go down as one of the most dependable players in the program’s history.

Jeff Mezydlo has written about sports and entertainment online and for print for more than 25 years. He grew up in the far south suburbs of Chicago, 20 minutes from the Mascot Hall of Fame in Whiting, Ind. He’s also the proud father of 11-year-old Matthew, aka “Bobby Bruin,” mascot of St. Robert Bellarmine School in Chicago. You can follow Jeff at @jeffm401.





Source link

news7f

News7F: Update the world's latest breaking news online of the day, breaking news, politics, society today, international mainstream news .Updated news 24/7: Entertainment, Sports...at the World everyday world. Hot news, images, video clips that are updated quickly and reliably

Related Articles

Back to top button