VILLANOVA ADDS A GAMER IN ’13 WITH JOSH HART COMMITMENT
by Ron Bailey
Wednesday at the Franklin Grille, a Northwest, Washington, DC eatery across from his Sidwell Friends School, Josh Hart announced he would don Villanova University silks in college. A class of 2013 swingman, Hart chose coach Jay Wright’s program over Rutgers and Penn State.
According to Hart, the driving focus of why he chose the Wildcats was a belief in Wright’s ability to “develop me into a man.”
During the ceremony, Josh shared an appreciation for Villanova’s “Great tradition with guards.” He also expected to “Defend, slash to the basket” and playing at multiple spots on the court, depending on situations, as the younger Hart noted “I can play the one through the four,” before smiling slyly “and even some five.”
At Villanova, expect Hart to play a shooting guard/small forward role, a point his father, Moses, stressed as central. “I’m excited about it” said the senior Hart. “I think the most of Jay Wright as a coach…You just have to trust a man at his word”. That included promises to develop and play Josh, a 6’5″ athletic slasher/finisher, largely on the perimeter. Without that commitment, the Wildcats would not have landed his son, shared the elder Hart.
The decision, announced on Wednesday, was arrived at the following Sunday, after consultation with his parents plus prayer. The Wildcats were his “number one” at that time”, he stated, as “In the back of my mind I remember how special it (his visit) was.”
Alerting the coaches at Rutgers and Penn State of his decision was not easy.
“The last couple of days was extremely difficult” recalled Josh. “Successful relationships were built. I talked to Coach (Mike) Rice, he was happy for me, but disappointed for his program. Coach (Pat) Chambers, is definitely a class act, and wished me well.” Rice and Chambers direct Rutgers and Penn State, respectively.
The BIG EAST’s state of flux was not a defining issue for Hart, indicating “They are losing a lot (Syracuse, Pitt, WVU), but also gaining a lot,” with Temple, Houston, SMU and Central Florida competing in hoops. Thye enter the conference the same year Josh does, 2013.
Negative recruiting, or lack thereof, did move his meter.
“Villanova showed what they had to offer…it showed their character” said Hart of how ‘Nova approached his recruitment. Alternatively, other schools “weren’t saying Coach Wright was a bad person” but did highlight perceived roster concerns.
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