Reader Poll – Villanova’s Greatest Shooting Guard

Reader Poll – Villanova’s Greatest Shooting Guard

This is the fifth in our series of reader polls to select Villanova’s all-time greatest players, this one to select the greatest shooting guard. Looking over this list, it is little wonder why Nova is considered "Guard U." I am pleased to acknowledge the contributions to this post by Bob ’52, a regular on VUHoops ( aka "Squeaky Sneakers") who brings a rich perspective gained by watching the Villanova greats play since 1948.

The full list of 35 nominees for all positions and the selection criteria used is provided at the end of this post. There is still time to vote in our prior polls by double-clicking on the following links:

SELECT TWO NAMES from the nominees, listed chronologically on the next page, that represent the two best shooting guards in Villanova’s history.

Larry Hennessy… 6' 4" shooting guard … for the Cats from 1950-53 … excellent passer and rebounder … scored 1,737 points (#12 all-time) in 75 games (23.2 ppg; #1 all-time) in only three varsity seasons ... on Feb. 14, 1953, scored 45 points against Boston College ten days after scoring 44 points against Canisius; only Paul Arizin and Bob Schafer scored more points in a single game for Villanova.… was a three time All-American selection … during the 1952-53 season, led the nation in scoring average going into the last game of the season … played professionally in the NBA for the Philadelphia Warriors in 1955-56, and for the Syracuse Nationals in 1956-57 … inductee into the Wildcats Hall of Fame … his #14 jersey hangs from the rafters of the Pavilion. [Note from Bob’52: ... led his freshman team to an undefeated season ... had he played as many games as Kerry Kittles, with his 23.2 ppg total, he would have amassed more than 2,800 points]

Bob Schafer was a 6' 2" shooting guard … played from 1952 to 1955 … was the first Villanova player to score over 2000 points ... finished career with 2,094 points (#4 all time) over 111 games (18.9 ppg; #7 all-time) … a strong rebounding guard with 638 rebounds (#23 all time) in only three varsity seasons … on January 9, 1953 was abducted at gun point near the Villanova Post Office by mobsters who threatened his life unless he agreed to “be less active for a couple of games.” Schaefer reported the incident to Coach Al Severance, who contacted the FBI. His abductors were never found nor heard from again… earned Third Team All-America honors in 1954 … played professionally for St. Louis Hawks in 1955-56, and for the Syracuse Nationals in 1956-57, averaging 4.2 ppg over his two year career. [Note from Bob ’52: … had a unique free throw style, shooting one handed from the far right side of the line, and hit more free throws than any other Villanovan, twice as many as the near perfect Gary Buchanan … Schaefer had a long range two-handed set shot copied from Larry Hennessy.]

Hubie White… 6' 3" shooting guard … played from 1959 to 1962 … scored 1,608 points (#18 all time) over 78 games (20.6 ppg; #3 all-time) … is Villanova’s 13th all-time leading rebounder with 755 (9.7 rpg) in only three varsity seasons … earned All-America honors in 1962 … a three-time All Big Five player, AP and UPI All-East … drafted in the 2nd round (7th pick, 14th overall) of the 1962 NBA draft. … played for San Francisco in the 1962-63 season, Philadelphia 1963-64, Miami (ABA) 1969-70, and Pittsburgh (ABA) 1970-71 … inducted into the Big Five Hall of Fame in 1976 … Villanova retired White's #14 jersey on January 27, 2001 [Note from Bob ’52: White led Nova to its first win over St. Joe’s in a Big Five game in 1961 after enduring six straight losses to the Hawks … also was a VU track star competing in the hop, step and jump. Villanova retired the #14 jerseys of both Hubie White and Larry Hennessy ... Allan Ray's #14 jersey could someday become the third to hang from the Pavilion's rafters].

Johnny Jones… shooting guard … played from 1966-69 … scored 1,568 points (#20 all-time) over 80 games (19.6 ppg; #5 all-time) and had 694 rebounds (#21 all-time) in only three varsity seasons .. won the The Robert V. Geasey Trophy as the most outstanding basketball player in the Big Five during the 1967-68 season, averaging 20.1 ppg. and 8.7 rpg … had a season-high 38 versus Wyoming in the NIT … was the 84th overall pick in the 1969 NBA draft, selected by the Philadelphia 76rs … inducted into the Big Five Hall of Fame in 1981 [Editor's Note: We could not find a picture of Jones, but Johnny is shown in the video that follows (#33) along with Sophomore Howard Porter (#54) in a 1969 Big Five game against LaSalle. Biographies of the other SG nominees are provided below the link to the video...

[youtube]QkB-zJYy62E[/youtube]

Chris Ford… 6-foot-5 shooting guard … played from 1969-1972, scoring 1,433 points (#26 all-time) over 91 games (15.7 ppg; #16 all time) and dishing out 500 assists (4thall-time) in only three varsity seasons … played with Howard Porter in the 1971 NCAA championship against UCLA … was selected 17th overall in the 1972 NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons … played 10 seasons for the Pistons and Boston Celtics … credited with scoring the NBA's first three-point shot … after winning a championship with the Celtics, ended his playing career in 1982 with 7,314 total points averaging 9.2 points, 3.4 assists and 3.0 rebounds … later served as a head coach for the Celtics, the Milwaukee Bucks, the Los Angeles Clippers and the Philadelphia 76ers (2003-04) … inducted into the Big Five Hall of Fame in 1977.

Kerry Kittles… 6' 5” shooting guard … played from 1992-1996 … holds Villanova’s record for most points scored, with 2,243 over 122 games (18.4 ppg; #10 all time) and most steals (277; 2.3 spg) … also had 715 rebounds (#18 all-time) and 408 assists (#13 all-time) … was selected by the New Jersey Nets with the 8th pick in the 1996 NBA Draft. After seven seasons with the Nets, Kittles was traded to the Clippers, where he played an injury-riddled season ... over an eight-year NBA career averaged 14.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg and 1.6 spg.

Gary Buchanan… 6’3” shooting guard … played from 1999-2003 … scored 1,799 points (#11 all-time) in 122 games (14.7 ppg; #21 all time), had 312 assists (#20 all-time) and 154 steals (#13 all-time) … was a superb long distance marksman and the most accomplished free throw shooter in school history (career 91 percent) …once hit 73 consecutive from the stripe … senior season was cut short when he was one of several players suspended on March 7, 2003 for using an unauthorized code to make telephone calls, forcing the team to play in the Big East Tournament with just seven players … played professionally in South America … played last season with Gimnasia Esgrima Comodoro Rivadavia in Argentina, scoring . 10.1 ppg and 3.6 rpg.

Allan Ray… 6'2” shooting guard … played from 2002-2006 … scored 2,025 points (#7 all-time) over 130 games (15.6 ppg; #17 all time), 244 assists (#29 all-time), and 138 steals (#17 all time) … was a streaky, but great, three-point shooter, who was excellent at creating his own shot … with Randy Foye made up one of the best guard duos in the country … a junior, he all-Big East and led a Wildcats team to the Sweet Sixteen, losing to eventual national champion North Carolina by one point on a controversial call … as a senior … was named to the Big East first team andwasa Consensus Second Team All American … led Villanova to the Elite Eight of the 2006 NCAA Tournament, playing in an nontraditional four-guard offense … surprisingly was not selected in the 2006 NBA Draft, but signed as a free agent with the Boston Celtics … came off Boston’s bench to score 17 or more points five times before asking to be waived by the Celtics in pursuit of a better contract in Italy … has been one of the top Italian league players since that time.

Randy Foye … a 6’4 shooting guard … played from 2002-2006 … playing on an undersized team in the four-guard offense, he is among the all-time Villanova leaders in four statistical categories -- 1,966 points (#9 all-time) over 131 games (15.0 ppg; #18 all time), 625 rebounds (#27 all-time), 416 assists (#12 all-time), and 198 steals (#6 all time) and 52 blocks (#17 all-time) … with Allan Ray formed one of the best backcourts in the nation … reached the Sweet Sixteen in 2005, scoring 28 points in a one-point loss to eventual national champion North Carolina … scored 25 points in a loss to eventual champion Florida the Elite Eight of the 2006 NCAA … was Big East Player of the Year in 2006 and a Consensus First Team All-America … was the #7 pick overall in the NBA draft playing with Minnesota and Washington, averaging 12.2 ppg and 3.6 apg.

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Full List of Nominees:

To come up with the nominees, we considered players whose Villanova jerseys have been retired, were among the all-time Villanova statistical leaders, earned All-America recognition, had success in the NCAA tournament, or were selected in the NBA draft. Active Villanova players are not eligible. The NCAA has made significant rule changes over the years that make statistical comparisons of players across generations difficult. To read more on this topic, see our post “Scottie’s Stats Under Howard’s Rules.” Our nominees are:

Nominee Pos Last Season
Jim Washington F/C 1965
Howard Porter F/C 1971
John Pinone F/C 1983
Jason L. Lawson F/C 1997
Malik Allen F/C 2000
Michael Bradley F/C 2001
Alex Bradley F 1981
Ed Pinckney F 1985
Harold Pressley F 1986
Tim Thomas F 1997
Curtis Sumpter F 2007
Dante Cunningham F 2009
Paul Arizin SF 1950
Jack Devine SF 1955
Hank Siemiontkowski SF 1972
Keith Herron SF 1978
Doug West SF 1989
Larry Hennessy SG 1953
Bob Schafer SG 1955
Hubie White SG 1962
Johnny Jones SG 1969
Chris Ford SG 1972
Kerry Kittles SG 1996
Gary Buchanan SG 2003
Allan Ray SG 2006
Randy Foye SG 2006
Walter "Wali" Jones PG 1964
Bill Melchionni PG 1966
Tom Ingelsby PG 1973
Rory Sparrow PG 1980
Stuart Granger PG 1983
Kenny Wilson PG 1989
Alvin Williams PG 1997
Kyle Lowry PG 2006
Scottie Reynolds PG 2010
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