Villanova basketball: Why Josh Hart is the player to watch

villanova basketball

Josh Hart

To say that Josh Hart had a terrific high school basketball career at Sidwell Friends High School in Washington, D.C is understatement.  He averaged 21. 2 points and 10 rebounds per game over his three years there. However, Hart did not receive much attention from college coaches during the recruiting process despite his outstanding numbers.

It is rare to see players  like Hart who are not heavily recruited out of High School put up the numbers he did last season. Not many people can say that they expected freshman Josh Hart to have the immediate impact he had for the Villanova basketball team last season.

Hart did not see much playing time early last season, but when he was given the opportunity to play he made the most of it. Hart saw his minutes increase tremendously the second half of the year and was able to provide the Wildcats with some needed production and depth off the bench. In 34 games last year he averaged 7.9 points and 4.0 rebounds per game. Hart’s production last year did not go unnoticed as he was named to the 2013-14 BIG EAST All-Rookie Team.

Although Hart had a productive freshman campaign, fans should expect even bigger things from him next season as he continues to develop his overall game. With James Bell not returning next season, Hart will likely see increased minutes and as a result he will have more of a role on the team next year. He might not crack the opening night lineup next year, but there is no denying that Hart will be an important piece on the Wildcats roster next year.

Since Villanova will be returning four of their five starters from last season, Hart will not be looked at as the “go to guy” which could potentially allow him to be the team’s X-factor next year since teams will not be focusing on him.

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As a guard, Hart allows coach Jay Wright and his coaching staff to use him in a variety of ways because of his versatility. He is an athletic guard that has the ability to score in multiple ways. He can drive to the basket and has an above average jump shot from the perimeter. He can also rebound exceptionally well for a guard. Hart does not only have success on the offensive side, he is a shut down defender as well. Coach Wright has thought highly of Hart since the day he committed tot he Wildcats. He had this say about Hart “Josh is a complete player who can play any position for us”.

If there is a player who reminds me of Hart from Villanova it would be James Bell. Like Hart, Bell was not heavily recruited out of High School and because of that surprised people with his ability to score his freshman year. Bell improved his numbers every year he was at Villanova and I expect the same thing to happen with Hart. It would not surprise me if Hart ended up having a better four year career at Villanova than Bell did, because of his outstanding work ethic and determination to continue to get better.