Hometown: Silver Spring, MD
High School: Sidwell Friends
Josh Hart may have been the freshman surprise of the entire Big East Conference last season. It's not that he wasn't highly recruited out of Sidwell Friends High School; Hart was ranked the 82nd prospect in ESPN's top 100. Nonetheless, Hart exceeded expectations as one of the top freshmen in the conference, and was selected to the 2013-14 Big East All-Rookie team and named Big East Rookie of the Week three times during the season.
Why was Hart so successful in his first year as a Wildcat? With a relentless motor and exceptional versatility, Hart was an absolute burst of energy off the bench. He averaged 7.8 ppg and 4.0 rpg, but his impact transcended the stat sheet. Hart did suffer a slump during a stint of conference play, failing to make a three pointer in nine straight games. Hopefully, this was just a freshman slump which will be corrected in his second season.
Many have assumed that Hart will take over the starting position for James Bell, who was the team's most consistent player last season. At media day, however, Jay Wright said that he has yet to make a decision on decision on who will start in Bell's place. Courtesy of our own Tyler Tynes:
Jay Wright said they haven't decided who will start between Dylan Ennis and Josh Hart. But there's been no separation between the two.— Tyler R. Tynes (@TylerRickyTynes) October 22, 2014
Regardless of whether he starts or not, Hart will see an increased role this season and will be expected to shoulder more of the load offensively.
Best case scenario: Josh Hart thrives in his second season, improving his offensive production while maintaining his energy and hustle. Hart cracks double-digits in his points per games average and shows he can handle more responsibility with the ball in his hands. On top of this, Hart emerges as one of the top lockdown perimeter defenders in the league and makes a run at Big East Defensive Player of the Year.
Worst case scenario: Josh Hart returns to his role off the bench, and Coach Wright finds that Hart's ceiling is as a energy guy off the bench. Hart also struggles with his shot, and cannot provide the spacing Bell did the previous season.
Wisdom of Crowd's Poll
The Wisdom of Crowd's Poll experiment is back for the 2014-15 season. Following each of our previews, we will be sampling the VUhoops community on the projected performances of the Villanova roster for the upcoming season.