clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Sun’s Arizin: At Villanova We Play For Those Who Came Before Us

Former Wildcats are flocking to NOLA to cheer on their team.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.


Happy Friday Nova Nation! We’re finally just one day away from Villanova’s latest appearance in the Final Four. Thousands of Villanova fans have been flocking to New Orleans to cheer on the Wildcats, and some of those fans have familiar faces.

You’ve heard nearly every Villanova player in a press conference spout these words: We play for those who came before us. It’s a testament to the tradition Jay Wright has built of passing “Villanova Basketball” down from one class to the next, and each team learning and building on the foundation of former teams and players.

While the current team plays for those former players, those former players love to root on this team. Social media has been a buzz with former Wildcats sharing their support and even their travel stories as they find a way to be with or cheer on their alma matter. Here are some of the highlights:

Daniel Ochefu

The Championship big man has boots on the ground in NOLA, and will be cheering on the Cats live and in person. Although I can’t imagine having to shove a nearly 7 foot frame into a coach seat! Still, he’s got a message for the haters.

Allan Ray

If you haven’t been following Allan Ray on twitter, you’re missing out. He’s been making the podcast rounds and providing excellent insight and analysis for each Villanova matchup while also sharing some of his experiences playing under Jay Wright.

Kris Jenkins

The man behind the greatest shot in basketball history will forever be brought up at the Final Four. Certainly Kris loves talking about his time with the Wildcats, but he also loves coming back and spending time with them.

Jalen Brunson

Brunson’s in the middle of his own Championship push with the Mavs as they jostle for NBA playoff position. But don’t think for a second he doesn’t make time to cheer on the Wildcats and his protege in Collin Gillespie

There are tons more players that have been commenting and posting about Villanova’s success while reminiscing about their own Final Four runs. It’s always great to think back about the great times with this program. Heck, this is a great time for this program!

In other news...

Villanova vs Kansas

NCAA Tournament 2022: How Kansas helped Villanova become a college basketball powerhouse | PhillyVoice
Villanova will face Kansas in the Final Four on Saturday at the Caesars Superdome in New Orleans. It will be the ninth time that Jay Wright's Wildcats and Bill Self's Jayhawks square off in the last 18 years, with four of those matchups coming in the NCAA Tournament. It's only fitting that Villanova must go through Kansas in order to win another national championship.

Final Four: Kansas vs Villanova | ESPN 98.1 FM - 850 AM WRUF
Kansas Jayhawks will take on the Villanova Wildcats in the Final Four. The Wildcats have won the last two tourney matchups between the two.

Villanova Basketball: 3 keys to beat Kansas in Final Four matchup | Busting Brackets
Villanova Basketball looks to pull off the upset over Kansas in the Final Four. Here are three keys in order to get the win.

Villanova finds itself in a strange place: underdog role in Final Four | USA Today
Villanova will face Kansas without starting guard Justin Moore, which has made the Wildcats underdogs against the Jayhawks for their Final Four game.

Bill Self, Jay Wright discuss similarities, differences between 2018 and 2022 Final Four teams | 247 Sports
"Kansas is a way faster team and much more explosive," Wright said.

Villanova Men’s Basketballl

Villanova vs. Michigan: Wildcats' Dwayne Anderson has head-coaching ability | Inquirer
Once, he was the last guy Jay Wright thought would become a head coach. Now Anderson has spent the years since figuring out everything, including himself.

Villanova center Eric Dixon should get more Final Four minutes | Bucks County Courier Times
The injury to Villanova's Justin Moore should open up more minutes for starting center Eric Dixon and Neshaminy grad Chris Arcidiacono

Curtis Sumpter, his Villanova teammates have advice for the current Cats | The Athletic
"‘Just do what we do’"... In 2005 Sumpter suffered a devastating leg injury, much like the one Justin Moore just suffered in Villanova's Elite Eight win.

FOCO releases first-ever licensed Final Four player bobbleheads - Villanova |
The bobbleheads are Villanova players Collin Gillespie, Jermaine Samuels and Chris Arcidiacono.

Kevin Durant reaches out to Villanova’s Justin Moore to boost morale after torn Achillies | The Brooklyn Game
Kevin Durant knows a thing or two about tearing an Achillies. When he saw Villanova’s Justin Moore tear his during the Wildcats' win over Houston to move on

Kyle Neptune: Jay Wright is the secret sauce at Villanova | Audacy
Fordham head coach and former Villanova assistant Kyle Neptune joined The DA Show on Wednesday to discuss the Final Four and more.

After injury, Collin Gillespie leads Villanova to Final Four: 'God has a plan' | Sports Spectrum
A year after his MCL injury, Collin Gillespie remains thankful as he leads Villanova into the Final Four. "God has a plan for everything."

Defense-first Villanova keeps playing its stingy hand | Daily Local
The degree to which Villanova suffocated Houston in the Elite Eight may have been shocking. But the fact that the Wildcats have predicated their third Final Four run in seven years on defensive tenacity shouldn’t have been a surprise.

NBA Prospect Watch: Villanova's Gillespie eyes next step |
Collin Gillespie's knee injury put a damper on Villanova's March last season, leaving the Wildcats without one of the steadiest floor leaders in college basketball.

Villanova and Jay Wright are the best at what they do. | Sportskeeda
Jay Wright has the Villanova Wildcats in the Final Four for the third time in seven years, looking to win their third national championship in that span.

Villanova is college basketball's best program as its culture shines | USA Today
In Villanova's de facto road game against Houston that was physical and nasty, the Wildcats' strong team culture pulled them through again.

Like Its Players, Villanova Keeps Coming Back | The New York Times
Under Coach Jay Wright, the Wildcats have made four Final Fours and won two national titles, all without any one-and-done players.

Villanova's Chris Arcidiacono chasing own March Madness legacy | New York Post
Chris Arcidiacono was at NRG Stadium in Houston that unforgettable night with his parents, Joe and Patti.

Caleb Daniels’ Final Four homecoming with Villanova “a blessing” | Crescent City Sports
Caleb Daniels played high school basketball at St. Augustine. He started his college basketball career at Tulane University. And now the biggest moment of his basketball life is about to take place in his hometown of New Orleans as well.

The Villanova Wildcats are more Philly than the Birds. Discuss. | Philadelphia Citizen
Villanova is—again!—in the Final Four. So why do so few seem to care about yet another championship run by the most Philly of teams?

Villanova's Gillespie latest guard in low post for Wildcats | AP News
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The post origination story, as Villanova coach Jay Wright recalls, began with Ryan Arcidiacono. The 6-foot-3 point guard had a knack for posting up defenders, even bigger ones, so Wright started calling plays for him in the paint.

Wildcats Met With the Media, Participated in Final Four Promotions on Thursday Morning in New Orleans | Villanova University
NEW ORLEANS—Villanova got its first look at the Caesars Superdome on Thursday morning as the team practiced on the court, met with the media and took part in promotional

Is Villanova basketball coach Jay Wright the greatest coach In Philadelphia sports history? | 6abc Philadelphia
With his team on the precipice of another Final Four appearance, we review the case for Jay Wright as Philly's top coach.

Even This Final Four Moment Is Unique for Wright, Villanova | Big East Conference
Jay Wright already has the orange jacket in his closet. Just 201 nights ago, the Villanova head coach and two-time champion was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Final Four

Final Four preview: Top stories for each team | Sports Illustrated
One story for each team left in the men’s and women’s Final Fours.

College players finally hit jackpot thanks to NIL | Arkansas Online
At long last, some of the cold, hard cash in the billion-dollar world of college sports is hitting the wallets of the players themselves by legitimate means. One expert estimates by the time next year's Final Four rolls around, every men's basketball and football player on a major Division I roster could be making $100,000 or more.

March Madness paying off for players under mishmash of rules | AP News
At long last, some of the cold, hard cash in the billion-dollar world of college sports is hitting the wallets of the players themselves by legitimate means. One expert estimates by the time next year's Final Four rolls around, every men's basketball and football player on a major Division I roster could be making $100,000 or more.

Final Four: Biggest question for Duke, UNC, Villanova, Kansas | Sports Illustrated
Pondering what each of the bluebloods needs to address heading into the Final Four, plus a look back at Villanova’s 1985 title win over Georgetown.

UNC, Villanova, Kansas Final Four runs shaped by super seniors | Sports Illustrated
Given the opportunity for the rare five-year career, players like Brady Manek, Collin Gillespie and Remy Martin are in a unique role this March Madness.

A look at each Final Four team, through advanced stats | News 4 Jax
This year’s Final Four includes quite a collection of big-name programs — but this hasn’t been a particularly dominant group this season.

Mystery swirls in New Orleans over who will win the Final Four, unless you’re Devlin the tarot card reader |
Mike Lopresti peers into the mists of what might be with the resident tarot card reader at the Bottom of the Cup Tea Room in New Orleans.

Final Four 2022 - Jay Bilas on the state of men's college basketball | ESPN
College basketball has a huge moment this weekend, with major general interest in these matchups and teams. Here's how the sport must improve to keep the momentum.

Big East

Seton Hall NJ basketball: Can Holloway take Pirates to next level? | App
After taking Saint Peter's to the Elite Eigth, new Seton Hall coach Shaheen Holloway is looking to repeat that success with the Pirates.

Seton Hall hoping Shaheen Holloway can be their Jay Wright | New York Post
If you are a fan of the Seton Hall Pirates, you hope you have your basketball coach for a good, long time with Shaheen Holloway hiring.

Villanova Athletics

Weaver Earns BIG EAST Male Golfer of the Week | Villanova University
NEW YORK – Xavier's Kara Carter has been named BIG EAST Female Golfer of the Week and Villanova's Peter Weaver has been selected BIG EAST Male Golfer of the Week.

Colin Gamroth Named 2021 CAA Football Student-Athlete of the Year | Villanova University
RICHMOND, Va. (March 30, 2022) – Villanova offensive lineman Colin Gamroth was selected as the 2021 CAA Football Scholar-Athlete of the Year by a vote of the conference's

BIG EAST schedule opens at Georgetown | Villanova University
VILLANOVA, Pa. – Riding a four-game winning streak, Villanova opens its BIG EAST slate with a weekend trip to the Regency Furniture Stadium in Waldorf, Md. for a