Josh Hart came to Villanova with a reputation as the prototypical Villanova basketball player. He was renowned as an elite athlete to played tough defense, played at the rim, and outworked his opponents. In these areas, he did not disappoint, and even added some decent outside shooting to his offensive game.
Here's how the first year on the Main Line went for Hart:
What was expected
Preseason notes from the Villanova camp indicated Hart was likely to get a lot of playing time due to his work rate and his IQ - two things Jay Wright always values highly.
Best Case Scenario: Hart becomes a valuable addition on the defensive end for Villanova, and plays his role to perfection - more rebounds and steals for the Villanova defense. His high work rate on the glass leads to some easy points on the offensive end, giving the freshman the needed confidence to thrive in the new Big East.
Worst Case Scenario: Bell and Hilliard emerge as consistent players on the wing for Villanova, eating up most of the available minutes. When given an opportunity, Hart struggles on the offensive end leading to a quick hook from Jay.
Hart's offensive struggles, especially on his outside shot, late in the season are well documented, but it's fair to say that Hart finished much closer to the best case scenario we projected for him than the worst case. Hart was exceptional on the glass all season long and was a frequent finisher at the rim when Villanova turned turnovers into points. His game was simple and effective.
Vote from Wisdom of Crowds
In Wisdom of Crowds, we asked readers to vote on their prediction for how many points per game Hart would average this season. 28% (79 voters) led the charge with a 4 ppg prediction, while 21% (58 votes) opted for a 3 ppg prediction. Overall, expectations were lower for Hart than they were for Jenkins.
6% of the community were closest with their 8 ppg prediction, as Hart finished the year with a 7.8 average.
There were plenty to choose from, but his 17 point, 11 rebound effort in the blowout victory over Mount St. Mary's early in the year stands out as a game that represented Hart's ability to take over a game on the glass and with an efficient shooting performance on the offensive end.
His 11-game stretch where he averaged over 11 ppg from Iowa to DePaul in the middle of the season represented his best stretch of play.
In the double-overtime victory at Providence, Hart logged 5 fouls in just 9 minutes of game action. A frustrating performance only saw him register 2 points.
A - Hart exceeded most fans expectations and looks set to be the heart and soul of this team going forward - if his offensive game continues to develop he could start to get some early NBA talk in the coming seasons.