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!
With the first round in the books, Scottie Reynolds (92%), Josh Hart (73%), Paul Arizin (89%), Chris Ford (60%), Jason Lawson (93%), Eric Eberz (76%), Keith Herron (90%), and Stewart Granger (71%) all advance to the Round of 32. It'll be a quick turnaround for some of these guys as we start to narrow the field to the true Champions and Legends of Villanova Basketball. The competition really heats up today as we kick off Round 2!
Wright Region: 1) Ryan Arcidiacono vs. 9) Kris Jenkins
The biggest pass vs. the biggest shot. The Final Four MVP vs. the Championship Hero. Mr. Villanova vs. Big Smoove. This is such a difficult choice that I'm just going to stop talking and let you all decide.
Ryan Arcidiacono: A member of the 2016 NCAA Championship team, three Big East Regular Season Championship teams ('14-'16), and the '15 Big East Tournament 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.
Kris Jenkins: A member of the 2016 NCAA Championship team, three Big East Regular Season Championship teams ('14-'16), and the '15 Big East Tournament 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.
Wright Region: 4) Kyle Lowry vs. 5) Darrun Hilliard
Our second match-up from the Wright era gives us two NBA players. One in the prime of his career, the other just getting started. But it was their tireless work ethic, tenacious defense, and gifted scoring that made these two Nova Nation favorites.
Kyle Lowry: A member of the '06 Elite Eight team, Lowry is 35th in steals all-time.
Despite only playing at Nova for two seasons, Lowry was an instant success and supreme talent. As a starter in his sophomore season he recorded 77 steals, the 2nd most in a single season in school history. He went on to be a first round NBA draft pick and has been named to multiple All-Star teams over the past 10 years. He currently plays for the Toronto Raptors, who just happened to host another Villanova alum.
Darrun Hilliard: A member of three NCAA teams ('13,'14,'15), Hilliard is 11th in steals, 27th in scoring, and 31st in assists all-time.
Hilliard was the ideal player for Jay Wright's system. Always putting team and system first, and never afraid to shoot it up or sleep in the streets, he developed from a 3-star prospect to a second round NBA draft pick. But he didn't just develop himself, his hard work and leadership set the example of what it meant to be a Villanova Basketball Player for the classes behind him that would go on to win the NCAA Championship. As a junior, Hilliard and teammate Daniel Ochefu were Co-Big East Most Improved Players. The following year he lead the Wildcats in scoring and was named the Big 5 Most Outstanding Player. Hilliard, AKA Bethlehem Steel, was drafted by Detroit and still plays for the Pistons.
Severance/Kraft Region: 2) Howard Porter vs. 7) Hubie White
Separated by a decade, these two Hall of Famers will go down as two of the 10 greatest Wildcats of the 3-year Varsity era. But which one will advance to the Sweet 16?
Howard Porter: A member of the '71 NCAA Runner-Up team and the Villanova Hall of Fame, Porter is 1st in rebounds and 6th in scoring all-time.
Porter is easily in the conversation for greatest Villanova player of all time. He was the only player in school history to score over 2,000 points in just three seasons. During that time he was a three time All-American, three time All-Big 5, and the '69 Big 5 Most Outstanding Player. Despite losing the '71 NCAA Championship game to UCLA, he was still named the tournaments Most Outstanding Player. Later it would come out that Porter had signed with an agent during his senior season, forcing Villanova to vacate its NCAA appearance and his award. Porter would still have his jersey retired at Nova and go on to have a 7 year NBA career.
Hubie White: A member of the '62 Elite Eight team and the Villanova Hall of Fame, White is 17th in rebounds and 19th in scoring all-time.
Hubert "Hubie" White was the captain of the '62 team and averaged over 20 PPG for his career. He was twice named to the All-State team and thrice to the All-Big 5 team. In his senior season he was named an All-American and the Big 5's Most Outstanding Player. After college, White would go on to play in both the NBA and ABA. His jersey was retired at Villanova in 2001.
Severance/Kraft Region: 3) Bob Schafer vs. 6) Bill Melchionni
Two of the greatest guards to ever play for the Wildcats, Bob and Bill were elite scorers, ball handlers, and distributors. But only one can advance.
Bob Schafer: A member of the '55 Sweet Sixteen team and the Villanova Hall of Fame, Schafer is 4th in scoring and 28th in rebounding all-time.
Schafer was a tenacious player on both ends of the court, and his statistics back that up. In just 3 varsity seasons he became the first Villanova player to score over 2000 points. Possibly more impressive, he pulled down over 600 rebounds as a 6'3" guard. He was named an All-American as a junior and would go on to play professionally after college.
Bill Melchionni: A member of the '65 and '66 NIT Final Four teams and the Villanova Hall of Fame, Melchionni is 18th in scoring all-time.
Melchionni started all three varsity seasons with the Wildcats, and lead them in scoring his junior and senior seasons. His senior year, he scored over 800 points, close to half his career total. It was the second highest single season scoring effort in school history. Melchionni was a two time All-Big 5 selection, as well as the Big 5 MVP in '65 and an All-American in '66. After college he would go on to win an NBA championship with the Philadelphia 76ers before heading to the ABA where he played and coached.
Lappas Region: 1) Kerry Kittles vs. 8) Michael Bradley
This match-up pits the "Greatest Hits" against the "One Hit Wonder". The all-time great vs. the what if? Kittles is Nova's all-time leading scorer. But Bradley averaged more PPG in his one season than Kittles did for his career. So who will you pick to advance?
Kerry Kittles: A member of the '94 NIT Championship team, the '95 Big East Tournament Championship team, and the Villanova Hall of Fame, Kittles is 1st in scoring, 1st in steals, 15th in assists, and 23rd in rebounds all-time.
The all-time leader in scoring and steals, Kittles is widely regarded as the best player of the Lappas era, and possibly the best Wildcat ever. Kittles was a two time All-American, '95 Big East Player of the Year, three time first team All-Big East, and two time Big 5 Most Outstanding Player. He's a member of the Big 5 Hall of Fame and had his jersey retired at Villanova. After college, Kittles went on to play in the NBA for nine years.
Michael Bradley: A member of the '01 NIT team, Bradley played just one season with the Wildcats during which he lead the team in scoring, rebounds, and blocks.
Bradley transferred from Kentucky after his sophomore season, looking for an opportunity to expand his game beyond just playing in the paint. He found that at Villanova where he averaged over 20 points and 9 rebounds per game in his lone season with the Wildcats. Despite having another year of eligibility, Bradley decided to enter the NBA draft where he was selected 17th overall. In addition to his NBA career he would also play in Europe, become an agent, and later coach at both the high school and collegiate levels.
Lappas Region: 4) Jason Lawson vs. 5) Eric Eberz
This match-up of teammates pits one of Nova's best sharp shooters against Nova's best shot blocker. It'll be difficult to pick between these two Villanova Hall of Famers.
Jason Lawson: A member of the '94 NIT Championship team, the '95 Big East Tournament Championship team, and the Villanova Hall of Fame, Lawson is 1st in blocks, 8th in rebounds, and 24th in scoring all-time.
Lawson was one of the greatest defensive players in Villanova history, and still ranks as the school's all-time leader in blocks. His freshman season he was named the Big 5 Rookie of the year, and would go on to join the Big 5 Hall of Fame. He was a three time member of the second team All-Big East, and also named to the '95 Big East All-Tournament team. After a stellar senior year in which he averaged double digit scoring and recorded 105 blocks (the most by any Wildcat in a single season), he was named the '97 Big East Defensive Player of the Year. He would go on to play both in the NBA and overseas.
Eric Eberz: A member of the '94 NIT Championship team, the '95 Big East Tournament Championship team, and the Villanova Hall of Fame, Eberz is 33rd in scoring all-time.
Eberz was an elite shooter who played in the beloved mid-90's back-court with Kerry Kittles and Alvin Williams. Eberz best season was 1995, when he helped the team win the Big East Tournament Championship. That year he was named to the second team All-Big East, and lead the Big East in made 3-pointers with 94. He would go on to play in Europe after college.
Massimino Region: 2) John Pinone vs. 10) Harold Jensen
Does your vote go to the all-time great or the Championship MVP? Pinone is arguably one of the greatest to wear a Villanova jersey, but Jensen is the hero of the school's first NCAA Championship.
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.
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.
Massimino Region: 3) Keith Herron vs. 6) Stewart Granger
Another match-up of great Villanova guards pits a great scorer against a great passer. Which one makes it to the next round is up to you.
Keith Herron: A member of the '78 NCAA Elite Eight, the '77 NIT Final Four, and the Villanova Hall of Fame, Herron is 3rd in scoring and 40th in rebounds all-time.
Keith Herron was one of three Herron siblings to play for Villanova. He was a two time All-American ('75,'78) and a member of an All-Big 5 team all four years. He would later be named to the Big-5 Hall of fame. Herron was a captain for three seasons, and left Villanova as the school's all-time leading scorer. He would eventually become one of only 13 players to have their jersey retired. After college, he would go on to play in the NBA.
Stewart Granger: A member of the '82 and '83 NCAA Elite Eight teams and the Villanova Hall of Fame, Granger is 2nd in assists, 13th in steals, and 38th in scoring all-time.
Granger was an elite guard on both ends of the floor. He was a three time selection to the second team All-Big East, and a member of the '83 All-Tournament team. Granger was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers and would play in both NBA and Europe.