The returns of Josh Hart, the team’s best player, and Kris Jenkins, owner of the title-winning shot, are of course crucial to Villanova’s status as a national frontrunner again. The Wildcats can’t afford to lose a bunch of players early like their top competitors. Hart and Jenkins both announced that they will make themselveseligible for the draft and go through the pre-draft process without hiring agents. By not hiring agents, they are allowed to withdraw from the draft by May 25 and maintain their college eligibility.
With Hart unlikely to be a first-round pick and Jenkins a fringe prospect, both should be back on campus for their senior seasons. If that is the case, then Villanova’s spot in the preseason top five should be assured, despite the losses of point guard Ryan Arcidiacono and center Daniel Ochefu.
They happen to play the two positions where Wright has been able to sign five-star recruits the last two years. Jalen Brunson (above) earned a starting spot as a true freshman and shared ball-handling duties with Arcidiacono, and after averaging 9.6 points per game, he will be expected to step into an even bigger role as the leader of the Wildcats backcourt. Ochefu’s departure may mean more time or Reynolds, but his replacement should be five-star 6-foor-9 recruit Omari Spellman, who will be a freshman next season.