Nova Nation has been on a tear for the past 5 years. Following an abysmal 2011-12 campaign that saw the Cats not make the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 8 years, they’ve ripped off 5 straight trips back to the Big Dance.
That’s quite an understatement, no?
2012-13: Knocked off three teams ranked in the AP Top 5
2013-14: Knocked off #2 Kansas, won Big East Regular Season Title, earned a 2-seed
2014-15: Won Big East Regular Season and Tournament Titles, 3 losses all year, earned a 1-seed
2015-16: Ranked #1 during regular season, Won Big East Regular Season Title, earned 2-seed, won National Championship and knocked off top two teams in the field
2016-17: Ranked #1 during regular season, Won Big East Regular Season and Tournament Titles, earned overall top seed in NCAA Tournament
Pretty fucking impressive, huh? Aside from the 2012-13 campaign, Josh Hart, Kris Jenkins, and Darryl Reynolds were a part of all of that. The most impressive stat that’s not even listed? They never lost back-to-back game during their time at Villanova. Unreal.
I can officially say I'm a college graduate….
— Josh Hart (@JoshHart_3) May 19, 2017
Just last week Josh Hart tweeted this. Congrats to Josh, but it spells the end for his tenure with Nova.
This also means the departures of Jenkins and Reynolds as well. So how is Villanova going to continue its success without them? There’s no denying the fact that Hart and Jenkins have been key contributors for the team since their freshman year. During their freshman season, Hart and Jenkins were both utilized on 16-20% of possessions when in the game, which is a significant amount when you remember how much JayVaughn Pinkston, James Bell, and Darrun Hilliard were the focal points of the offense. By their senior year, Hart earned runner up for Player of the Year, and Jenkins hit a big shot that might get shown in March every now and again.
Reynolds didn’t play much his first two years, but he acted as Daniel Ochefu’s backup in the National Championship season. In his senior year, Reynolds proved to be a good defender and incredibly efficient when he was utilized on offense.
Nova still has guys that can certainly be elite players – Brunson, Booth, DiVincenzo (aka Michael Jordan of Delaware), and high level recruits coming in seemingly every single year. Nonetheless, Hart, Jenkins, and Reynolds were staples during Villanova’s most successful stretch in program history. It will be interesting to see how this team functions without its scoring leader, emotional leader, and big man next year. It probably isn’t the end for this Villanova run, but the one constant for the past 4 years is now gone, and the school may never see a more successful trio than these three.