It just felt like yesterday when Josh Hart donned the blue and white and enjoyed a decorated career on the Main Line.
Now, he’s in the NBA with the New Orleans Pelicans, but as the old saying goes, “Once a Wildcat, always a Wildcat,” and he’ll be enshrined with some of the other greats that came through the program.
On Thursday afternoon, Villanova announced that it will be retiring Hart’s jersey on Jan. 19, during halftime of the Marquette game.
The 6-foot-5 guard played from 2013-17, and was one of the key catalysts in the Wildcats’ run to a national title in 2016. He also helped Villanova to two Big East Tournament championships and was named the conference tournament MVP twice.
During his senior season, he was named a consensus first-team All-American and won the Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year award. He also posted the program’s first triple-double since 1986 in a win over Big 5 rival St. Joseph’s.
He is only player in Villanova history to amass 1,900 or more points (1,921), 800 or more rebounds (812), 250 or more assists (266) and 150 or more steals (161) over the course of his career.
After graduating from Villanova, Hart was selected 30th overall in the first round of the 2017 NBA Draft by the Utah Jazz, who then quickly traded his rights to the Los Angeles Lakers. Hart spent two seasons with the Lakers, before being traded to the New Orleans Pelicans, where he still currently plays.
A plaque honoring Hart, will take its place in the main lobby of the Finneran Pavilion, where the other retired jerseys of Wildcats greats are now located. With the single exception of Paul Arizin’s No. 11, Villanova retires the jersey of its legends but not the number. Brandon Slater, who currently wears No. 3, like Hart, will continue to do so.
He is the first Wildcat to have their jersey retired since Kyle Lowry and former teammate Ryan Arcidiacono were both honored in 2020. To date, Villanova has retired the jerseys of 18 players, three coaches and longtime trainer Jake Nevin.
“We’re thrilled to be able to honor a true Villanova Basketball legend,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said in a statement. “Josh is a relentless competitor who elevated our team from the moment he joined us as a freshman. His tenacity as a rebounder, scorer and defender was instrumental to our team’s success.
“Josh’s parents, Moses and Pat, raised a wonderful young man who impacted Villanova in so many positive ways. This is a well deserved honor for one of Villanova’s all-time greats.”