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!
Just as I predicted way back when we released the regions, the Arizin vs. Porter match-up was the toughest to pick out of all the Elite Eight showdowns. Unlike what I predicted, Arizin would be the only 1 Seed not to advance to the Final Four. We kick off our final week of the tournament by pitting Jay Wright Region's Ryan Arcidiacono (80%) against the Severance/Kraft Region's Howard Porter (51%). On the other side of the bracket, Massimino Region's Ed Pinckney (89%) will take on the Lappas Region's Kerry Kittles (96%). To the breakdowns!
Final Four Match-up: 1) Ryan Arcidiacono vs. 2) Howard Porter
Both of these players took their teams to an NCAA Championship in their final season with Villanova, but they couldn't be more different. Arch is a small guard whose strength comes from facilitating the rest of the team. While he can score when needed, especially in clutch time, he does all the little things that make his teammates better. Porter was a big forward that was by far the best player on the team, if not the court. His skill set demanded so much attention from the opposition, that it took the pressure off his teammates and allowed them to elevate their games because they knew Porter could carry them if needed. Two different styles, but unquestionably two of the greatest Villanova Basketball will ever see.
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.
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.
Final Four Match-up: 1) Ed Pinckney vs. 1) Kerry Kittles
These two players were the faces of Villanova Basketball in the 80's and 90's. Pinckney did it all: scoring, rebounding, defending, and of course, Championshiping. He still holds Top 10 numbers in 4 of the 5 All-Time statisics (points, rebounds, blocks, steals). Kittles was a champion in his own right, bringing Villanova its first Big East Tournament and NIT championships. He's the all-time leader in both points and steals, and re-established the Wildcats as a national contender. It will be very difficult to pick between these two Champions.
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.
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.