This month we're having an NCAA style tournament to determine Nova Nation's favorite Villanova Basketball player of all time. Be sure to check back each day as voting continues!
Three of the five Play-In games ended in "upsets", depending on who you ask. But at the end of the day, Mike Nardi (64%), Ed Hastings (67%), Brooks Sales (77%), Brian Lynch (68%), and Mark Plansky (59%) all advanced to Round 1. Now comes the tough part, as all five of these guys will face some of the top seeds in their regions. Nardi is up first.
Wright Region: 1) Ryan Arcidiacono vs 16) Mike Nardi
Ryan Arcidiacono: A member of the 2016 NCAA Championship team, Arcidiacono is 4th in assists, 14th in steals, and 20th in scoring all-time.
Arcidiacono's accolades were seemingly endless during his impressive Villanova career. He was the Co-Big East Player of the Year as a junior, and followed that up as the NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player as a senior. He has played more games for Villanova than any other player, and his class has won more games than any other in Nova history. He's the only Wildcat with over 1,600 points and 500 assists in their career. And even with a history of big time last second shots, he'll still be remembered for the greatest pass in school history. To put it simply, Ryan Arcidiacono is Mr. Villanova.
Mike Nardi: A member of the 2006 Elite Eight team, Nardi is 13th in assists, 27th in steals, and 39th in scoring all-time.
Nardi was a member of the 4 guard team with Foye, Lowry, and Ray that won the Big East regular season championship. A big part of that was the match-up with UConn during which Nardi hit a huge momentum three after having sat out the previous two games with tonsillitis. His grit and clutch shooting were a big part of that team's success.
Wright Region: 8) Curtis Sumpter vs. 9) Kris Jenkins
Curtis Sumpter: A member of the '06 Elite Eight team, Sumpter is 13th in blocks, 14th in scoring, 15th in rebounds, and 31st in steals all-time.
Curtis Sumpter actually preceded his teammate Mike Nardi in the roll of Director of Student-Athlete Development on Wright's staff before joining the 76ers staff in 2013. During his playing days, Sumpter was a match-up nightmare for opposing teams. He could take bigs outside the arc where he could either shoot over or blow by them. Against guards, he would simply move to the paint and dominate down low. Multiple nagging leg and knee injuries kept Sumpter from realizing his full potential, but he'll always be remembered for his MANY contributions to Villanova Basketball.
Kris Jenkins: Current Wildcat and a member of the '16 NCAA Championship team, Jenkins hit the buzzer beater to win the second championship in school history.
Kris Jenkins was, at best, a role player during his first two seasons with the Wildcats. But heading into his junior season he was given the opportunity to start, and he took full advantage of it. He shed some weight over the summer, allowing him to play more minutes as the season went on. He improved his defense, especially in the front court. He improved his offensive game, adding a shot fake, dribble penetration, and a turn around jumper to his already deadly 3-pointer. But most importantly, he took the time to sit down with the senior class and learn what it meant to be a leader for Villanova. The hard work paid off as he lead the team in scoring in the later part of the season, and culminated in his Championship buzzer-beater.
Severance/Kraft Region: 4) Larry Hennessy vs. 13) Johnny Jones
Larry Hennessy: A member of the '51 NCAA team and a Villanova Hall of Famer, Hennessy is 12th in scoring all-time.
Hennessy is arguably the greatest offensive player to wear a Wildcat jersey. In 3 seasons (75 games) he averaged 23.2 points per game, the highest PPG in school history. In addition to being inducted to the Villanova Hall of Fame, he's one of only 13 players to have their jersey hung from the rafters in the Pavilion. After Villanova, Hennessy went on to help the Philadelphia Warriors win the 1956 NBA Championship.
Johnny Jones: A member of the '66 NIT Final Four team and a Villanova Hall of Famer, Jones is 23rd in scoring and 26th in rebounding all-time.
Jones was one of Villanova's best players on both ends of the court in the late-60's. He was named to the All Big 5 team for 3 consecutive years, and would later be inducted into the Big 5 Hall of Fame. In 1968 he was awarded the Robert V. Geasey Award as the Big 5's Most Outstanding Player. After Villanova, he was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers before going on to a playing career in Europe, and finally returning to his home state of Florida to teach.
Severance/Kraft Region: 5) Tom Ingelsby vs. 12) George Raveling
Tom Ingelsby: A member of the 1971 NCAA Runner-Up team and a Villanova Hall of Famer, Ingelsby is 17th in scoring and 26th in assists.
A starter on the '71 team that made the NCAA Championship game, Ingelsby earned a reputation for playing well under pressure. He was selected to the All Big 5 team in both his junior and senior seasons, and was eventually inducted into the Big 5 Hall of Fame. Ingelsby is one of just 13 Wildcat players to have their jersey retired and hung from the rafters at the Pavilion.
George Raveling: A member of the '59 and '60 NIT teams and a Villanova Hall of Famer, Raveling is 12th in rebounds all-time.
Raveling's Villanova career was the base of what would become a historic basketball career. He would twice lead his teams in rebounding, and after graduation he would return to Villanova to start his 30+ year coaching career as an assistant under Jack Kraft. After coaching he went all to do color commentary for Fox Sports and join Nike as their Global Basketball Sports Marketing Director. In 2013, he was awarded the John Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award for significant contributions to the sport of basketball. Two years later, he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Lappas Region: 3) Gary Buchanan vs. 14) Howard Brown
Gary Buchanan: A member of the '02 NIT Elite Eight team, Buchanan is 11th in scoring, 17th in steals, and 22nd in assists all-time.
Buchanan was a prolific scorer and outstanding free throw shooter in the early 2000's. He was named to the Big East All-Rookie team in 2000, and in his sophomore season he held the nation's best free throw percentage at 94.2%. His senior season ended in suspension for the 2003 telephone scandal that involved 12 of Nova's 15 players. Buchanan went on to play professionally in Europe after college.
Howard Brown: A member of three NCAA teams ('96,'97,'99), Brown is 24th in steals, 31st in assists, and 55th in scoring all-time.
Brown was a great leader for the Wildcats both on the court and in the classroom. His freshman season he was named to the Big East Academic All-Star Team, and the following year he was named Villanova's Scholar Athlete of the Year. In his Junior season he was named to the All-Big 5 Team, a season highlighted by his buzzer beater three in double overtime to beat Pitt in the Big East Tournament. He would go on to play in both the NBA and Europe.
Lappas Region: 6) Malik Allen vs. 11) Ricky Wright
Malik Allen: A member of the '97 and '99 NCAA teams, Allen is 4th in blocks, 24th in rebounds, and 53rd in scoring all-time.
Allen was a terrific rim protector and shot blocker for the cats in the late 90's. He was part of some terrific front-courts that included other Villanova favorites like Jason Lawson, Tim Thomas, Brooks Sales, and Rafal Bigus. In his senior season he lead the team in points, shots, free throws, rebounds, and blocks. "Leek" would go on to have an even more successful NBA career, despite going undrafted.
Ricky Wright: A member of the '02 NIT Elite Eight team, Wright is 16th in blocks, 20th in rebounding, and 46th in scoring all-time.
Wright earned a spot in the starting line in the second half of his sophomore year and never looked back. He quickly became one of Villanova's best low post threats on both ends of the court. He would go on to be named to both the All-Big East and All-Big 5 teams during his career. After college, he played professionally in Spain before returning to campus to help the program run youth camps and alumni events.
Massimino Region: 2) John Pinone vs. 15) Whitey Rigsby
John Pinone: A member of the '82 and '83 Elite Eight teams and the Villanova Hall of Fame, Pinone is 8th in scoring, 10th in rebounds, 26th in steals, and 33rd in assists all-time.
Pinone is arguably the greatest player to come out of the Massimino era. He was an AP All American, a 3 time member of the All-Big East first team, a 4 time member of the All-Big 5 first team, and a 3 time winner of the Big 5 Most Outstanding Player. He was inducted into the Big 5 Hall of Fame and is one of only 13 Wildcats to have their jersey retired to the rafters of the Pavilion. After college he played in both the NBA and Europe before coaching high school basketball.
Whitey Rigsby: A member of the '77 NIT Final Four team and the Villanova Hall of Fame, Rigsby is 17th in assists and 39th in steals all-time.
A three year starter, Rigsby made his mark at Villanova with quick hands that could take the ball from opponents just as fast as he could dish it to his teammates. Rigsby is more notably known for his career after college as the "Voice of Wildcat Basketball".
Massimino Region: 7) Alex Bradley vs. 10) Harold Jensen
Alex Bradley: A member of the '78 Elite Eight team and the Villanova Hall of Fame, Bradley is 14th in rebounds and 16th in scoring all-time.
Bradley was a leader on and off the court for the Villanova teams of the late 70's. He was a terrific scorer, setting the freshman scoring record that would stand until Scottie Reynolds score 40 points in 2007. But more than just a great offensive player, Bradley proved to be a true leader. He was the first sophomore ever to be named a team captain for Villanova, and remained one the rest of his collegiate career. He would go on to play in the NBA and be inducted into the Big 5 Hall of Fame.
Harold Jensen: A member of the '85 NCAA Championship team and the Villanova Hall of Fame, Jensen is 35th in assists and 51st in scoring all-time.
Jensen had many accolades over his Villanova career, including being named a 2 time Academic All-American. But for Villanova fans, he'll always be remembered for his flawless performance in the '85 Championship that earned him the NCAA Championship Most Valuable Player award.