Reader Poll – Villanova’s Greatest Point Guard
This is the sixth and final poll in our series to select Villanova’s all-time greatest players, this one to select Nova's greatest point guard. The choices have only gotten tougher as we mull over the best guards every to play for "Guard U."
The full list of 36 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:
- Greatest Coach
- Greatest Forward / Center
- Greatest Forward
- Greatest Small Forward
- Greatest Shooting Guard
Joe Lord … 5'10" point guard … played from 1941-42 and 1945-47, his career interrupted WWII military service … scored 1,125 points (#47 all time) in 71 games (15.8 ppg; 13thall-time) … scored 45 points against Kings Point on February 4, 1947 -- only Paul Arizin and Bob Schafer are the only Nova players to score more points in a game … was a third team All-American in 1947 … a two-sport athlete, Lord also starred on Villanova’s baseball team … played professionally for the Reading Keys, helping that team win the 1948 championship of the Eastern Professional Basketball League … later played in the National Basketball League, which merged into the NBA in 1949 … was inducted into the Villanova Varsity Club Hall of Fame for baseball in 1978. [Editor’s Note: credit given to Barney Rubble ’87 and Bob ‘52, who provided the research on Joe Lord; Barney found the picture.]
Jimmy Huggard …5'10'' point guard … played from 1958-1961 … scored 1,183 points (#46 all-time) in 75 games (15.8 ppg) …after graduation, played professionally in the old Eastern League, an elite league in the pre-NBA expansion days … part of the basketball class with Tom Samulewicz, Bob Liberatore and Don McGinley, which Jay Wright often calls one of the closest Nova teams he has encountered … after playing career ended, became a top Division I referee in the early days of the Big East… inducted into the Big Five Hall of Fame in 1978.
Wali Jones … 6'2" point guard… played from 1961-64 … scored 1,428 points (#27 all-time) over 85 games (16.8 ppg; #11 all-time) and 233 assists (#30 all-time; 2.7 apg) in only three varsity seasons … crowds would often leave when the Cats were leading in the final minutes, knowing the sure-handed Jones would single-handedly run out the clock … Sports Illustrated wrote in 1964 "with quarterback Wali Jones shouting secret signals to bewilder the opposition, and a magnificent defense of its own, Villanova has become the best basketball team in the East … it is safer to put your head in an electric fan than to drive on Villanova with ball-hawking guards Wali Jones, George Leftwich and Bill Melchionni appearing to have four hands apiece" … voted Villanovan of the Year by the student body over the Senior Class President … drafted by the Baltimore Bullets as the 18thselection overall … named to the NBA All-Rookie Team … traded to the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1965-66 season, where played for the next six years … started a point guard on the 1966-67 Philadelphia team that also featured Wilt Chamberlain, Chet Walker and Billy Cunningham and went 68-13 and dethroned the eight-time defending NBA champion Boston Celtics … later played for the Baltimore Bullets, Detroit Pistons, Milwaukee Bucks (where he played with Kareem Abdul Jabar and Oscar Robertson) and Utah Stars…averaged 9.8 ppg and 3.1 apg in 23.2 mpg … inducted into the Big Five Hall of Fame in 1973.
Bill Melchionni… 6’1" point guard … played from 1963-1966 … scored 1,612 points (#17 all time) over 84 games (19.2 ppg; #6 all-time) in only three varsity seasons… Most Valuable Player of the 1966 NIT (Cats lost in the semi-finals to NYU) … after graduation, played shortly for the Phillips 66ers, a perennial AAU power before joining the Philadelphia 76ers … played two seasons for the Philadelphia 76ers (1966-68), where he was a key reserve (backing up Wali Jones) … jumped to the ABA’s New York Nets in 1969, where he played for seven seasons ... was a key player in the Nets’ 1974 ABA Championship … played in three ABA All-Star Games, and was named to the All-ABA First Team in 1972 … led the ABA in assists per game in both 1971 and 1972 … finished his professional career averaging 10.6 ppg and 5.0 apg… … inducted into the Big Five Hall of Fame in 1974 … #25 jersey was retired by both the Nets and Villanova.
Tom Ingelsby … 6’3" point guard … played from 1970 to 1973 … scored 1,616 points (#16 all-time) over 87 games (18.6 ppg; #8 all time) and 279 assists (#24 all-time) in only three varsity seasons … played with Howard Porter and Chris Ford in the 1971 NCAA championship game loss to UCLA … named the MVP of the Quaker City Tournament in Philadelphia in 1972 and the NABC and Big Five All Star teams that season … #27 pick in the NBA draft … played professionally for the Atlanta Hawks (NBA) in the 1973-74 season, for the Spirits of St. Louis of ABA in the 1974-75 season, and for the San Diego Sails in the 1975-76 season … scored 3.2 ppg. in 10.1 mpg over his professional career … inducted into the Big Five Hall of Fame in 1979.
Rory Sparrow … 6’2" point guard… played from 1976-1980 … scored 1,184 points (#45 all-time) and 495 assists (#5 all-time) … made game-winning shots in the last ten seconds of the game on five occasions … selected 75th overall in the 1980 NBA Draft by the New Jersey Nets … later played with the Atlanta Hawks, New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat, Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Lakers over a 12-year career … scored the first field goal in Miami Heat history in 1988 … known as one of the steadiest guards in the NBA … started at point guard for the Hawks, Knicks and Heat … averaged 9.0 ppg and 5.0 apg over 27.0 mpg over his 12-year NBA career.… inducted into the Big Five Hall of Fame in 1986 … recognized for his tireless efforts in the community … one of eight charitable athletes honored by Sports Illustrated as co-Sportsman of the Year in 1987.
Stuart Granger … 6’3" point guard ... played from 1979-1983 … scored 1,307 points (#34 all-time) over 125 games (10.5 ppg), had 595 assists (#2 all-time) and 171 steals (#11 all time). Ed ‘77’s then two year old daughter, Erin, loved to yell "Stoooo" during Villanova games … selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers at the 24th overall pick in the 1983 NBA draft … later played for the Atlanta Hawks and New York Knicks … over three NBA seasons, averaged 4.0 ppg and 2.2 apg in 12.5 mpg … inducted into the Big Five Hall of Fame in 1990.
Kenny Wilson … 5’11" point guard…played from 1985-89 … scored 1,390 points (#30 all-time) over 137 games (10.1 ppg) and had 627 assists (#1 all-time) and 146 steals (#16 all-time) …a dazzling ball handler, Wilson helped lead Villanova to 80 victories during his four years on the team, including two seasons with more than 20 wins … a four-year starter, his teams reached postseason play in four straight, advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 1986 and making an Elite Eight appearance in 1988 and NIT appearances in 1987 and 1989 … earned All-Southeast Regional honors in the NCAA Tournament ... inducted into the Villanova Hall of Fame in 2009.
Alvin Williams … 6'5" point guard … played from 1993-1997 … scored 1,423 points (#28 all-time) over 131 games (10.9 ppg;), 553 assists (#3 all-time), and 200 steals (#5 all time) … earned AP Honorable Mention All-American honors in 1997 … drafted in the second round of the 1997 NBA draft by The Portland Trail Blazers … later played for the Toronto Raptors in 1998 and later appeared in all 82 games for two straight seasons … injured his knee early in the 2003-04 season, returning for one game in the 2005-06 season … played briefly with the Los Angeles Clippers in 2007 before retiring. Over nine seasons, he averaged 9.1 ppg and 4.1 apg. … inducted into the Big Five Hall of Fame in 2003 … in 2009, rejoined the Raptors as an assistant coach.
Kyle Lowry … 6’0" point guard… played from 2004-2006 … over two seasons scored 543 points (9.3 ppg), had 171 assists, 108 steals and grabbed 219 rebounds … named to the Big East All-Rookie team and was the Philadelphia Big Five Rookie of the Year … part of the famous four-guard offense on the 2005-2006 team that was ranked #4 and earned a #1 seed in the 2006 NCAA tournament -- their first … helped the Cats reach the Elite Eight before losing to eventual champion Florida … earned Second Team All-Big East honors and declared for the NBA draft after his sophomore season … selected by the Grizzlies with the 24th pick in the 2006 NBA Draft … later traded to the Houston Rockets, where he continues to play. Over four seasons, he has averaged 8.7 ppg, 3.8 apg and 3.0 rpg.
Scottie Reynolds … 6’2" point guard…played from 2006-10 … scored 2,222 points (#2 all-time) over 139 games (16.0 ppg; #13 all-time), had 472 assists (#7 all-time) and 203 steals (#4 all-time) … scored 40 points against the University of Connecticut in 2007, the most ever scored against the Huskies in Storrs … named the 2006–07 Big East Rookie of the Year … reached the Sweet 16 in the 2008 NCAA Tournament before losing to eventual champion Kansas … made a game-winning shot against #1 Pittsburgh with 0.5 seconds to go to propel Nova to the 2009 Final Four before losing to eventual champion, North Carolina, in the NCAA Semifinals … led the Wildcats to a 25-8 record in the 2009-10 season and a #2 seed in the NCAA … named to the 2010 AP All-American 1st team joining Randy Foye (2006), Kerry Kittles (1996) and Paul Arizin (1950) as the only Villanova players to become 1st team All-Americans. Reynolds was passed-over in the NBA draft, but signed a one-year deal with Italian LegADue (Second Division) club Prima Veroli.
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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:
|Jason L. Lawson||F/C||1997|
|Walter "Wali" Jones||PG||1964|