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!
We had a couple really close back and forth battles to wrap up the second round, and even a few upsets (or "upsets" depending on what you thought of the seeding). Josh Hart (56%), Randy Foye (79%), Paul Arizin (82%), George Raveling (51%), Alvin Williams (89%), Gary Buchanan (51%), Ed Pinckney (92%), and Harold Pressley (54%) all advance to today's Sweet Sixteen. All of the 1 Seeds have breezed through the early rounds, but now they'll face some tough competition.
Wright Region: 1) Ryan Arcidiacono vs. 4) Kyle Lowry
Jay Wright has said many times that the two best Basketball IQ players he's ever coached were Arch and Lowry. But it wasn't just how smart they were on the court that endeared them to fans, it was how hard they played. Sometimes their toughness and grit lead them to some not-so-smart plays (see Lowry's punch vs. Kansas or Arch's many ill-advised dives), but that only made Nova Nation love them more.
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.
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.
Wright Region: 3) Randy Foye vs. 7) Josh Hart
Just... no... words.... both.... so..... great..... Seriously, good luck with this one. I'm not going to be surprised if it gets zero votes because no one could decide on just one. They both do EVERYTHING. One is an All-American and Big East Player of the Year, the other the leading scorer of an NCAA Championship team. No matter who advances, Nova Nation won when these two came to Villanova.
Randy Foye: A member of the '06 NCAA Elite Eight and Big East Regular Season Championship team, Foye is 6th in steals, 9th in scoring, 14th in assists, and 32nd in rebounding all-time.
Foye was a gifted scorer that could create his own shot in the lane, on the wing, or behind the arc. But what was even more impressive was his ability to defend the paint as essentially a 6'3" power forward in the four guard system. While he was an outstanding player throughout his career, he fully realized his potential during his senior season. Averaging 20.5 PPG that year, Foye was a consensus first team All-American, Big East Player of the Year, first team All-Big East, and the Big 5 Most Outstanding Player. He would later become the first player of the Jay Wright era to have his jersey retired. Foye was drafted 7th overall in the '07 NBA Draft, and is still playing in the NBA a decade later.
Josh Hart: 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, Hart is 36th in rebounding, 38th in steals, and 43rd in scoring all-time.
Hart will go down as one of the greatest winners in Villanova history. His class has been Big East Regular Season Champions all three seasons they've been on campus. They've averaged over 32 wins a season, and over that 3 year period Villanova is the winning-est program in D1 Men's Basketball. In 2015, Hart lead the team to the schools 2nd Big East Tournament Championship, and was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. In 2016, he helped the team achieve their first ever #1 ranking in the AP Poll where they remained for 3 weeks. He would later be named unanimously to the first team All-Big East. Hart was also a crucial part of the team's Championship run, including leading the team in scoring during their Final Four game against Oklahoma. After the season, Hart tested the NBA Draft waters and was invited to the NBA Combine. He ultimately decided to return to Villanova for his senior season in 2017.
Severance/Kraft Region: 1) Paul Arizin vs. 12) George Raveling
The Raveling Revolution continues into the Sweet Sixteen, but it may have met its match in Paul Arizin. Outside of Rollie Massimino, these are the only two other Villanovans to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Raveling is in for his many contributions to basketball, but Arizin is the only Villanovan to be inducted as a player. But all that matters is which one is your favorite.
Paul Arizin: A member of the '49 NCAA Elite Eight team and the inaugural class of the Villanova Hall of Fame, Arizin is 15th in scoring all-time.
Paul Arizin came to Villanova with one goal in mind, which was to graduate with an engineering degree. It wasn't until Al Severance saw him playing in the gym and invited him to join the team that Arizin had even considered playing at Nova. But he would go on to become one of college basketball's greatest scorer's, and the only Villanovan to be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame as a player. His senior year he averaged over 25 PPG, and was a unanimous first team All-American. He would go on to a 12 year career with the Philadelphia Warriors, at the end of which he retired with the 3rd most points in NBA history at that point. He's now the namesake for VUHoops' daily round-up articles.
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.
Severance/Kraft Region: 2) Howard Porter vs. 6) Bill Melchionni
Many Nova fans would argue that this match-up features the best forward and the best guard in the region. They were certainly the best of the late 60's, despite never playing on the same team. But now, only one will advance to the Elite Eight.
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.
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. 4) Jason Lawson
Easily the best guard of the Lappas Region takes on the best forward in a match-up of all time greats. Both members of the beloved '94 and '95 teams, these two hold 3 of Villanova's 5 career all-time statistical records (points, steals, and blocks.) Kittles was the Big East Player of the Year while Lawson was the conferences Defensive Player of the Year. Just another tough pick for fans of these '90s greats.
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.
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.
Lappas Region: 2) Alvin Williams vs. 3) Gary Buchanan
These two guards starred in very different ways for Coach Lappas. Williams was the do-it-all guard with multiple weapons at his disposal who he could dish the ball to. Buchanan didn't have that scoring power around him, and so instead had to do most of the scoring himself. Who was your favorite?
Alvin Williams: A member of the '94 NIT Championship team, the '95 BET Championship team, and the Villanova Hall of Fame, Williams is 3rd in assists, 5th in steals, and 32nd in scoring all-time.
Williams was a great 2-way player who racked up steals on defense and assists on offense. He had many options when distributing the ball including all-time great Villanova scorers like Kerry Kittles, Jason Lawson, and Eric Eberz. Not only did he lead the team in assists for three straight seasons, he could score at an elite level himself. In his senior season he would be named to the first team All-Big East, and later would be inducted into the Big 5 Hall of Fame. After college, Williams went onto a ten year NBA career.
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.
Massimino Region: 1) Ed Pinckney vs. 4) Harold Pressley
For a second day in a row top seed Ed Pinckney has to take on a teammate from the '85 Championship team. This time it's fellow front court member and Hall of Famer, Harold Pressley. So which one of these big men is your favorite?
Ed Pinckney: A member of the '85 NCAA Championship and the Villanova Hall of Fame, Pinckney is 3rd in blocks, 4th in rebounding, 7th in steals, 10th in scoring, and 36th in assists all-time.
Only 3 players in this competition rank in all 5 all-time statistical categories, but Pinckney is the only one to be ranked Top 10 in 4 of the 5. Throw in the school's first National Championship and it's easy to see why he's a favorite to win it all. Not only did he win the title in '85, he was also an All-American and the Big 5 Most Outstanding Player. He's now one of the 13 Villanova players to have their jersey retired and hung in the Pavilion. After college, he had a successful NBA and broadcasting career.
Harold Pressley: A member of the '85 NCAA Championship team and the Villanova Hall of Fame, Pressley is 2nd in steals, 5th in rebounds, 7th in blocks, 22nd in scoring, and 23rd in assists all-time.
Pressley is one of only three Wildcats to be ranked in all five all-time statistical categories. A two time All-Big East member, Pressley was a key member of the '85 championship team. His senior season he lead the team in scoring and rebounding, and was named the '86 Big 5 Most Outstanding Player. After a career in the NBA, he was named to the Big 5 Hall of Fame.
Massimino Region: 2) John Pinone vs. 3) Keith Herron
They're both elite scorers. They're both Villanova Hall of Famers. Their jerseys are both retired. Good luck.
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.
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.