With such a young team and not nearly as many blowouts, the Villanova Wildcats provide a lot of opportunities for their walk-ons to get time on the court this season. The “Bench Mob” as they’re affectionately known is made up of seniors Peyton Heck and Tim Saunders, and the newest member of the Villanova Basketball family, sophomore Kevin Hoehn.
A rebuilding year for a major program is probably the most thankless for a walk-on. They’re asked to do more in practice as younger scholarship players need the extra reps to get up to speed. They’re asked to do more in the locker room as upperclassmen who need to pass on the culture and values of the program. And for all of that, they get even fewer minutes on the court than they normally would. But you don’t walk on to a program like this for the praise or the glory. You do it because you love basketball, and you love Villanova.
#22 Peyton Heck, Senior Guard
Peyton Heck was the elder statesman of this group as the only holdover from last season’s Bench Mob. He unfortunately ends his career without scoring a point for Villanova, only attempting a single three-pointer in the 2018 season. But he still saw the most games and court time of any walk-on this season, a testament to Jay Wright’s appreciation for his contributions to the team.
Heck was a constant source of energy on the sidelines, and took the honored spot at the end of the introduction line during the announcement of each game’s starting lineup. As the most tenured member of the Bench Mob, he was by far the most recognizable. His contributions to this program are much appreciated and will be sorely missed.
#12 Tim Saunders, Senior Guard
Tim Saunders transferred to Villanova with a chance to join the program on the recommendation of his High School coach and former Villanova great, John Olive. Saunders spent the first two seasons of his collegiate career as a member of the Puget Sound Loggers, a DIII school in Tacoma, Washington. He gave up his playing time, moved across the country, and was just a member of the practice squad in his first season before finally joining the active roster in 2019. If that doesn’t speak to his commitment and desire to be a part of Villanova basketball, I don’t know what would. He finishes his career having only played in a single game, but his contributions to the program off the court and in the classroom speak volumes to his character.
#31 Kevin Hoehn, Sophomore Guard
In a season that was very much about a pair of seniors leading and educating the underclassman, the Bench Mob was no different. After the departure of Dylan Painter left an opening on the active roster, sophomore Kevin Hoehn of Morristown, New Jersey was called up as the newest walk-on. A graduate of Morristown High School, Hoehn scored over 1,000 points and became a team captain before coming to Villanova and joining the practice squad. While he didn’t make it onto the court this year, he’ll be the leader of the Bench Mob next season, and it will be his responsibility to continue passing on the culture and values of Villanova basketball.