Why is Josh Hart slowing down?

John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports

The super freshman looked like a star for about a month in December and January, what happened to his production in the last-seven games?

Maybe Villanova fans should write it off as a hot streak for the freshman from Washington D.C.'s prestigious Sidley Friends prep school, but Josh Hart looked like a budding star in a stretch of eight games from mid-December's bout with La Salle until the first meeting with DePaul in mid-January. Since then, he has been slumping on the scoreboard for seven games.

He scored no-fewer-than 10 points in each of those games, averaging 4.4 rebounds, and connecting on 51.8 from beyond the arc in that stretch. Since then, however, he has gone 0-14 from deep and 5-23 (21.7%) from the floor, barely factoring into a Villanova offense that KenPom.com rates as the 6th-best in the nation.

Last 15 Games RESULT MIN FGM-FGA FG% 3PM-3PA 3P% FTM-FTA FT% REB AST BLK STL PF TO PTS
vs LA SALLE W 73-52 23 4-6 .667 0-2 .000 5-7 .714 5 1 1 2 1 13
vs RIDER W 88-67 25 7-8 .875 3-4 .750 2-3 .667 5 1 1 3 1 19
@ #2 SYRACUSE L 78-62 19 4-7 .571 2-4 .500 0-0 .000 2 1 1 3 1 10
@ BUTLER W 76-73 (OT) 22 4-5 .800 2-3 .667 0-2 .000 2 1 1 1 10
vs PROVIDENCE W 91-61 26 3-6 .500 3-5 .600 1-3 .333 6 3 2 10
@ SETON HALL W 83-67 25 4-5 .800 1-2 .500 2-2 1.000 5 1 2 4 1 11
@ ST. JOHN'S W 74-67 27 3-7 .429 0-2 .000 8-13 .615 5 1 2 2 14
vs DEPAUL W 88-62 22 5-7 .714 3-5 .600 0-0 .000 5 1 2 3 13
vs CREIGHTON L 96-68 26 1-4 .250 0-2 .000 2-2 1.000 4 2 1 4 1 4
@ MARQUETTE W 94-85 (OT) 18 0-2 .000 0-2 .000 0-0 .000 4 2 2
@ GEORGETOWN W 65-60 10 0-2 .000 0-2 .000 0-0 .000 3 1 1 2 1
@ TEMPLE W 90-74 19 2-4 .500 0-2 .000 2-2 1.000 4 2 2 6
vs XAVIER W 81-58 20 2-5 .400 0-3 .000 0-0 .000 3 1 3 1 4
vs SETON HALL W 70-53 16 0-3 .000 0-1 .000 0-0 .000 2 2
@ DEPAUL W 87-62 18 0-3 .000 0-2 .000 3-4 .750 3 1 3 1 3

Still, Hart has an ORtg of 129.3, which is good for 30th among NCAA Division I basketball players, it is really just the last stretch of games that has seen his output diminish -- and along with it, his minutes. He retains a top-50 turnover rate, and is great on the offensive glass.

Interestingly, he accounts for approximately the same percentage of the team's possessions as Ryan Arcidiacono this season, though he only takes 16.8% of the Wildcat's shots.

One theory toward's Hart's slowing offensive production could be the emergence of Daniel Ochefu as an option during the most-recent stretch. The Villanova center has started to show off his offensive abilities in recent weeks, and that may be reducing the opportunities for the freshman reserve to get shots. Even so, he has slumped on the shots he has been given, having missed on every three-point attempt since January 20th.

Opposing defenses don't seem to figure into the equation either. Hart has struggled against some of the league's worst defensive teams in Seton Hall and DePaul in recent weeks, while putting up double-digits against St. John's and Syracuse, both top-30 defensive teams in the nation.

Other than a shortfall of opportunities, what exactly could be the cause of Hart's slump? Was his December-January stretch of brilliance just a peek into a potential that he has yet to fully reach? Did the league catch up to him on video after eight games, forcing him (and Villanova) to adjust their game?

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