The Villanova Wildcats were arguably the team of the decade during the 2010s.
They made March Madness 8 out of a possible 9 times, winning it all twice.
Four years ago today, Kris Jenkins hit the first game-winning, buzzer-beating 3-pointer in a Men's Basketball Championship Game to win the title for Villanova over North Carolina. pic.twitter.com/z90jdjjfC2
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 4, 2020
Jay Wright piled up a combined record of 245-76 while winning 30+ games four times.
Villanova has always been a fixture of the proud Philadelphia college basketball scene as well as the NCAA.
Jack Kraft, Rollie Massimino, Steve Lappas, and Wright are all big-time former coaches who have led the Wildcats.
Legendary programs are not built off coaches alone.
Programs like this always have some incredible players.
Villanova is no different, having sent dozens of future pros to the NBA ranks.
Let’s take a look at the Top 10 NBA careers of former Wildcats.
10. Doug West
A 4-year career at ‘Nova saw West score over 2,000 points in his collegiate career.
He was one of the most athletic players to have come through the program and would go on to play 12 seasons in the NBA.
Across 676 career games, West averaged 9.6 PPG, 2.5 RPG, and 1.9 APG.
He would also participate in the 1992 Slam Dunk Contest.
West appeared in 609 games – starting 371 of them – during the first 9 years of his career.
Injuries would derail the final years as he only played in 67 games (8 starts) across the last 3 seasons.
9. Randy Foye
Randy Foye was an All-American during his time with Villanova.
This terrific collegiate career helped him get drafted 7th overall in the 2006 NBA Draft.
Foye was a serviceable guard for 11 NBA seasons while playing for 7 different franchises.
He posted career averages of 10.3 PPG, 2.2 RPG, and 2.8 APG across 752 games.
While Randy was never considered anything more than a role player, he was selected to the All-Rookie team.
8. Tim Thomas
Tim Thomas was ranked with Kobe Bryant coming out of high school.
It’s safe to say that ranking was very wrong.
While Tim was never an NBA star, he too was a solid role player.
He appeared in 824 games across 13 seasons with seven different teams.
The 6’ 10” forward was a career 37% shooter from 3 and averaged 11.5 PPG.
Thomas’s career-defining moment was helping the Phoenix Suns reach the Western Conference Finals in 2006.
7. Rory Sparrow
Sparrow was a starting point guard in more than half of his career games.
Like Thomas, Rory was never a star player but was a valuable role piece on the seven teams he played for in the NBA.
He ran the offense well while playing solid defense.
Averaging 9.0 PPG for his career, Sparrow topped out at 12.6 PPG while reaching double digits 6 times.
He was also a valuable member of the New York Knicks during two playoff runs appearances in the early ’80s.
Rory averaged 11.8 PPG and 7.1 APG across 18 postseason games with the Knicks.
6. Jim Washington
Washington was never much of a scorer in the NBA, but he leads all professional Wildcats in rebounding with 6,637.
He averaged 10.6 PPG, 8.6 RPG, and 1.4 APG while appearing in 774 games for 4 teams.
“Jumpin’ Jimmy” had a torrid stretch in the 1968 playoffs, going for 17.2 PPG and 15.0 RPG.
Washington was the first player in Bulls history to average greater than 10 RPG for an entire season.
He also played in 84 regular-season games during the 1971-1972 season.
5. Chris Ford
Ford is credited with knocking down the first-ever NBA 3-pointer.
This achievement didn’t lead to much down the line, as Ford only averaged 9.2 PPG for his career.
— NBA History (@NBAHistory) October 12, 2016
However, what he lacks in stats, he makes up for in success.
Ford is one of 4 Villanova players to win a ring in the NBA – with the Boston Celtics as a starter on the ’80-’81 championship team.
Ford would go on to coach 10 seasons after retiring, amassing a 323-376 record.
4. Kerry Kittles
Kittles had arguably the most successful collegiate career of any player listed, averaging 18.4 PPG to go along with 2 consensus All-American Selections and a Big East POY Award.
While the success didn’t carry over to the NBA, that can be partially attributed to injuries.
Kittles averaged 16.8 PPG during his first two NBA seasons while playing in 159 games.
He also made the All-Rookie team.
His knees started to give out after that and his career only lasted 8 years.
Kittles did make two Finals appearances with the New Jersey Nets.
3. Wali Jones
Wali Jones is in a similar position to Chris Ford.
He doesn’t have the gaudiest NBA stats, but he does have an NBA title.
Jones is ranked higher than Ford because of his role on the title-winning team.
He was the starting point guard for the 1966 Philadelphia Warriors.
Powered by Wilt Chamberlain, Jones added on 17.5 PPG during their title run.
Good for second on the team behind Wilt.
2. Kyle Lowry
While nobody can top number 1 on the list, Kyle Lowry is the clear-cut number 2.
A late-1st round selection in the 2006 NBA draft, Lowry didn’t truly burst onto the scene until joining the Toronto Raptors in 2012.
Kyle Lowry’s career as a Raptor
• 3rd All-Time Raptors scoring list
• 1st All-Time Raptors assist list
• 1st All-Time Raptors steals list
• 2nd Most games played as a Raptor
• 6-Time NBA All-Star (2015-2020)
• All-NBA 3rd Team (2016)
• NBA Champion (2019) pic.twitter.com/OC24jjRKbd
— ᴅᴀᴠɪᴅ🇦🇱 (@mmmhuncho) January 21, 2021
Since then, Lowry has made 6 All-Star teams, earned a 3rd Team All-NBA nod, and won an NBA Championship.
Lowry is by no means one of the most physically gifted NBA players.
But what he lacks in size he makes up for in preparation, hustle, and knowledge.
Kyle is one of the most craft and knowledgeable guards in the league, which has helped him become one of the league’s best point guards.
14.8 PPG and 6.2 APG are solid career averages, but being the leader of an NBA Title team sets Lowry apart.
1. Paul Arizin
The undisputed best player to come out of Villanova is Paul Arizin.
“Pitchin’ Paul” was the 1950 ROY, two-time scoring champion, and 1956 NBA Champ before being inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1978.
Arizin was also a 10-time NBA All-Star and 3-time All-NBA First Team member.
And despite missing two full seasons to serve as a Marine in the Korean War, he still finished with 16,266 points.
He is the All-Time leader amongst former Wildcats in terms of points and PPG and is third in RPG.
The NBA also named him as one of the Top 50 Players in NBA History when they celebrated their 50th Anniversary.