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!
The bracket is looking pretty chalky these days with only one player outside the top two seeds in each region making the Elite Eight (way to go Randy!). We're down to just a handful of your favorite players, and most of them got through the Sweet Sixteen fairly easily. Now Ryan Arcidiacono (86%), Randy Foye (51%), Paul Arizin (86%), Howard Porter (85%), Kerry Kittles (96%), Alvin Williams (80%), Ed Pinckney (94%), and John Pinone (81%) will face off for a chance to represent their coach's era in the Final Four. Good luck everyone, today should be the hardest choices yet.
Wright Regional Final: 1) Ryan Arcidiacono vs. 3) Randy Foye
Both of these guys have an argument for the best player of the Jay Wright era, and they're certainly fan favorites. Both Big East Player of the Year winners, Arch and Foye were the unquestioned leaders of their teams. Not only did they find ways to have success, their presence made their teammates more successful. Both great Villanova Basketball players, and I want to vote for both. Good thing I just write these up, the voting is your job!
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.
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.
Severance/Kraft Regional Final: 1) Paul Arizin vs. 2) Howard Porter
Let me start by giving a well deserved congratulations to Villanova and Al Severance, as the coach who made Villanova into a national power will be inducted into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame. Now onto the match-up. Of course it's fitting that in the only region with two coaches, each of their best players would make the Regional Final. Severance discovered Paul Arizin, and coached him into an All-American. Kraft brought Porter to Villanova, and he lead his team to the school's first NCAA Championship Game appearance. You can't go wrong with either, but which old-school forward 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.
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.
Lappas Regional Final: 1) Kerry Kittles vs. 2) Alvin Williams
This pair of teammates were the reason people got excited about Villanova basketball in the 90's. Not only were they outstanding players on their own, but they complimented each other so well that they're arguably the best Villanova back-court of all-time. But, as always seems to be the case, we've got to break up the band. Only one can advance as your favorite player from the Lappas Region.
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.
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.
Massimino Regional Final: 1) Ed Pinckney vs. 2) John Pinone
In an era that covered the 70's and 80's, it's only fitting that we have a classic kung-fu match-up of the student and the master. Pinckney came to Villanova in '81, and was taken under the wing of the team's star, John Pinone. Together the two would reach back to back NCAA Elite Eights before Pinone would graduate as an All-American. Two year's later, Pinckney finished what they had started, leading his team to an NCAA Championship and an All-American season of his own. So now you must decide: Is Pinone still your favorite, or has the student become the master?
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.
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.