Maryland native Josh Hart let his home-state Terrapins wanting when he elected to bring his silky game to Villanova, putting his future in coach Jay Wright‘s capable hands. The ‘Nova senior must hope that all his future decisions work out as well. Hart enters this year’s tournament as not just a defending NCAA champion but the heart, so to speak, of the champion Wildcats. Hart grabbed six boards while lighting up Creighton for 29 points as a warm up to the Big Dance, as Villanova won the Big East Tournament.
Hart is one of the relatively new breed of hugely versatile 6’6″ guards who haunt a wing position that has evolved with the increasing prominence of the 3-pointer. 6’6″ guards like Michael Jordan still retained that Doctor J rim-attacking small forward feel, even when later in his career Jordan took more jumpers. Hart attacks the rim too — but the recent pro he might resemble most is the great Ray Allen, the consummate shooter who also took it to the rack with aggression, a fact overlooked due to Allen’s famous shooting efficiency. Hart resembles Allen not just in size and playing style but in disposition and dignity. Recognized as one of the hardest working players in the country, Hart wins the same kind of praise from coaches that Allen won. Not only that, they are both known as tremendous teammates.