Report Card: Villanova Wildcats

Ryan Arcidiacono- Sr. Guard:

Arcidiacono was everything the Wildcats could have asked for and more. He served as the team’s captain for the fourth year in a row, providing leadership and energy on both ends of the court. On any given day, you could find him diving a few rows deep into the bleachers to save a loose ball. His charismatic attitude on the court turned him into a fan-favorite player. He developed a knack for being the team’s clutch shooter over his four years at Villanova. This season, he nailed a game-tying three-pointer against Providence to send the game to overtime. Chants of “Archy” broke out before the final play at our national championship game watch party in the Pavilion, fans fully expecting Arch to be the one to take the big shot. His choice to pass the opportunity to shoot the game winner was the ultimate display of leadership.

In his senior season, the Arch saw an increase in his points per game (10.1 to 12.5) and assists per game (3.6 to 4.2) from his junior year. His collegiate career culminated in being named the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four. After cementing his place as arguably the greatest player in Villanova history, Arcidiacono went undrafted in this year’s NBA draft, but recently signed a deal with the San Antonio Spurs to play on their NBA Summer League team.

Grade: A+

Daniel Ochefu- Sr. Center:

The Chef displayed solid improvement this season as he stepped into a leadership position as a team captain. At points during the year, Ochefu struggled with his health, including minor head and ankle injuries. During the NCAA Tournament, it seemed as though every game he would tweak his ankle, causing the entire Nova Nation to collectively hold their breath. Ochefu turned into a dominant force in the post as the season progressed, developing a soft touch to be able to finish at the rim with both hands. In the final moments of the national championship, Ochefu also showed leadership by taking the mop from a floor cleaner to wipe up his own sweat mark in a spot where he would soon set a screen.

Ochefu put together a respectable statistical season, averaging 10 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. He was the team’s leading rebounder and one of four Wildcats to average double digit points. This season marked the end of the Chef’s time cooking at Villanova, and along with Arcidiacono, he will surely be remembered by Villanova fans for a long time. After going undrafted in the NBA Draft last week, Ochefu signed a deal with the Washington Wizards to play in the Summer League.

Grade: A-

Josh Hart- Jr. Guard:

Hart had a breakout junior season, in which he went from being the Big East’s Sixth Man of the Year to a legitimate contender for Big East Player of the Year and a Third-Team All-American. Like Arcidiacono, Hart had a tendency to end up in the bleachers while chasing down loose balls. This season, he showed an expertise in penetrating deep into defenses and finishing with power at the rim. His mid-range game also showed improvement, making use of his vertical and a quick release to create space and get his shots off.

Hart led the Wildcats in scoring this season with 15.5 points per game, and also made use of his strength and vertical to be second on the team in rebounding with 6.8 per game. Following the season, he tested his potential in the NBA Draft process, even making a trip to Chicago for the Draft Combine. Ultimately, he made use of the new rule allowing athlete’s to decide to return to school after the Combine if their draft stock is not as great as expected. Hart will be returning to Villanova to play his senior season and fans could not be more thrilled.

Grade: A+

Kris Jenkins- Jr. Forward:

Jenkins was an instrumental player in the Wildcats’ run to a national championship. As the season progressed, his role on the team continued to grow, eventually leading to him being considered the most dangerous player for opponents to defensively plan for. At times, it would seem as though he was wasting possessions with his long range three-point attempts, but when he caught fire, the opposing team was in deep trouble. Jenkins’ ability to fade away on the baseline out of the post also became a strong asset in his offensive arsenal. Jenkins also showed a capability to shoot in the clutch, ending the season by draining the greatest shot in the history of college basketball to win the national championship. This shot also showed an incredible amount of confidence, in the fact that he called for a pass from a clutch shooting senior on the sport’s biggest stage. He will surely need that confidence as he becomes a captain for his senior year.

Kris Jenkins became one of the key contributors to the Villanova offense this season, as the second highest scorer with 13.6 points per game. He also averaged 2.2 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game. After the season, Jenkins declared for the NBA Draft, leaving some uncertainty about his future with the Wildcats. To the excitement of the fans, he removed his name from the draft a few weeks later, committing to using the last year of his NCAA eligibility at Villanova.

Grade: A

Jalen Brunson- Fr. Guard:

Brunson came into the season with plenty of expectations. He was very highly ranked on the ESPN 100 for the Class of 2015. Many Villanova supporters were uncertain about how Brunson would fit into the starting lineup with Ryan Arcidiacono, with both players being pure point guards. The two point guard lineup was slightly awkward at first, but it turned out to be a dangerous combination for opposing teams, forcing their shooting guard to defend a point guard. Brunson excelled at finishing at the rim on drives to the basket. Playing in the shadow of an experienced senior guard did not fully allow Brunson to display his talents, but he was able to give a glimpse of what to expect in the future when he takes over the leadership of the point guard position.

Jalen put together solid numbers for a freshman point guard, averaging 9.6 points and 2.5 assists per game. The highlight of his season came against Temple (his father’s alma mater) in a Big Five matchup, in which he dropped 25 points on the Owls. Villanova fans certainly look forward to seeing how Brunson grows during his tenure with the Wildcats.

Grade: B+

Photo: campusrush.com

Stats: sports-reference.com

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