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The “Copycats” are looking to replicate Villanova’s recruiting success

After two national championships, other teams are looking to follow in the Wildcats’ footsteps

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Happy Monday Nova Nation! I’m back from a week at the beach, and our Wildcats were well represented at the shore. There’s always a good number of Nova fans wearing their gear and representing the school, but that number seems to have tripled since the school’s 3rd National Championship. But now vacation is over and it’s back to the grind. #Attitude.

Of course Jay Wright and his coaching staff seem to have been on their grind all summer as the July live recruiting period wraps up. There’s a couple of good recruiting nuggets in the links today, but one that stuck out to me was actually for one of the OTHER Wildcats.

Arizona and Sean Miller have been saying all offseason that they want to change the recruiting approach of the program and go after the non-5-star guys that can be coached up rather than fighting Duke and Kentucky for the elite players. Miller has often sighted Jay Wright and Villanova’s success as the premier model for this approach. Now whether this is truly the way Arizona wants to go or it’s the correction they have to make in the wake of the ongoing FBI investigations is up to you. But the fact is that there are a lot of programs out there saying they want to follow in Villanova’s footsteps.

College Basketball, like many pro sports, can be very much a copy cat league. When a coach figures out a working formula, others are quick to latch on and try to replicate their success. Very few can be successful with this approach, but some of the best coaches out their today are at the top of their game because they can change and adapt to the sports’ landscape. Coach K may be the best example of someone who has changed their approach multiple times and has the results to back it up. But now coaches want to recruit like Jay Wright and find those lower tier guys that can become stars.

Let’s be clear, these aren’t lesser players by any means. These are the guys that have more potential than what might show at the surface level or whose names have been passed over for one reason or another. At Villanova, we’re talking guys like Josh Hart, Darrun Hilliard, Dante Cunningham, and Kyle Lowry. All of them were 4-star or lower recruits that went on to be NBA Draft picks. So as the coach and team that are at the forefront of the latest “Copycat” movement in the sport, what does that mean for Jay Wright and Villanova?

As the front-runner here, Villanova has a card that no one else can play. They’ve already proven that they know how to turn their system and their players into National Champions. And they did it twice in the last three years. That’s an awfully powerful statement for recruits, and Villanova has already seen it pay off with high caliber prospects like Eric Dixon and Justin Moore committing early.

However, with more recognizable programs like Arizona prioritizing the same pool of players that Villanova is going after it can make things more difficult. While it’d be tough for any school to recruit against Villanova’s success right now, regional factors can still be a big factor in recruiting. Jay Wright has always had pipelines in the local areas like New York, New Jersey, Maryland, DC, and of course Philly. But players coming from outside those recruiting grounds have been harder to come by. That said, the exceptions like Jalen Brunson and Omari Spellman have propelled Villanova to its recent level of success.

Bottom line, Villanova is in a good spot right now. They’re the king of the Hill, and it’s good to be the king. Success sells itself, and until something changes, Villanova is the one wearing the crown.

In other “news”, lots of recruiting updates, Villanova has a solid non-conference schedule, Trey Johnson is impressing the Steelers with his speed, and Penn got caught with their hand in the cookie jar. Enjoy!

Arizona basketball: Wildcats ‘looking for 4-star guys who want to develop’ | Arizona Desert Swarm
The Arizona Copycats are going to try the Villanova model of recruiting.

The ultimate A to Z guide to college basketball's non-conference schedule |
Not surprisingly, Villanova is all over this thing.

Nico Mannion expected to narrow finalists Wednesday | Arizona Desert Swarm
The 5-star point guard is currently down to 10 schools.

Summer Jam: Five-star Jeremiah Robinson-Earl updates recruitment | GoAZCats
Villanova has "been texting" with the Top 10 forward.

Raised on defense and grit, Chicago's Tyler Beard could be the Hawkeyes' future at point guard | Hawk Central
Tyree Beard jokes that he's been reviewing old Chicago Bulls film with his son, Tyler Beard, since he came out of the womb. Tyler will be heading to Villanova for an unofficial visit on August 20th.

When will UK’s top basketball recruits make a decision? | Lexington Herald Leader
UK is in the mix for James Wiseman, Vernon Carey, Jaden McDaniels, Cole Anthony, Scottie Lewis, Matthew Hurt and many other top recruits in the 2019 class. Here’s a look at when they’ll make college decisions.

Villanova's Trey Johnson gives Steelers rare speeed deep on CB depth chart | 247 Sports
The Steelers have a deep group of cornerbacks but that didn't prevent them from unearthing a rookie with rare speed in Trey Johnson.

Former Penn coach allegedly took bribes from potential recruit’s father | CollegeBasketballTalk
A former Penn head coach allegedly received benefits from the father of a potential recruit.

NCAA reiterates sports betting opposition while some schools interested in getting percentage of amount wagered | ESPN
With some colleges looking into possible revenue from legalized sports betting, the NCAA says it remains opposed and has begun examining the long-term effect betting could have on college sports.