Ex-Villanova Wildcat Josh Hart is taking a back seat in LA

(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

After a storied four year career at Villanova, ex-Wildcat Josh Hart is taking a back seat to his fellow rookies on his new team the Los Angeles Lakers.

After being selected 30th overall in the 2017 NBA Draft, many fans on the Mainline had big hopes for former Villanova Wildcat Josh Hart, but so far, he’s yet to establish himself as the dominant player he was at the college level.

A former four-star recruit from Washington D.C., Hart joined Jay Wright‘s squad in 2013 and quickly established himself as a serious player for the Wildcats.

After starting only three games in his first two seasons on campus, while still averaging a respectable 9 points in roughly 23.5 minutes per game, Hart’s role with the team expanded considerably during his junior year. Over his final two seasons on the Mainline, Hart started 74 of a possible 76 games and helping to lead his Wildcats to an NCAA National Championship in 2015 and a number one overall seed in 2016.

And best of all, Hart did it the old fashion way.

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In the era of the one-and-done, Hart played all four years of his college eligibility at Villanova, and got considerably better with each passing season, before ultimately testing the waters of the NBA in 2017 as arguably the most well-rounded senior in the entire 2017 NBA Draft.

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While far from a star lottery prospect, many talent evaluators appreciated Hart’s hard-nosed attitude, work ethic and, well, heart, and gave him a low first round grade. These predictions ultimately came true, as Hart was ultimately selected 30th overall by the Utah Jazz, before being immediately traded to the Los Angeles Laker, along with the 42nd pick for center Tony Bradley.

Joining a crowded rookie class that also included second overall pick Lonzo Ball, second round selection Thomas Bryant and current Western Conference Rookie of the Month Kyle Kuzma, Hart once again found himself fighting for minutes on his new team.

So far this season, Hart has split time between the Lakers and their G-League affiliate the South Bay Lakers, while appearing in 28 of a possible 33 NBA games.

Though his season average of 4.6 points in 17.5 minutes per games is far from Rookie of the Year-level production, Hart has made a fan of his new head coach, Luke Walton, who recently gushed about the former Wildcat’s polished skillset in an interview with the La Times.

While Hart will more likely than not continue to field a supplemental role behind veterans like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Jordan Clarkson for the remainder of the 2017-2018 season, he could be in line for a serious bump in production when the troubled former Detroit Piston hits free agency once the season ends, especially if he continues to put in work and show improvements coming off of the bench.

And I’m sure that’s just fine with Hart.

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After having to fight for everything he’s accomplished so far in his basketball career, Josh Hart has become a true student of the game, and more likely than not will achieve whatever he sets his mind to off sheer willpower. But regardless of how his professional career turns out, he will always hold a special place in the hearts of Villanova Wildcats across the world, and remaind a national champion.