Villanova basketball: Kyle Lowry is a game away from a very exclusive club

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

With one more win, Kyle Lowry will join the surprisingly small collection of former Villanova basketball players to win a championship in the NBA.

Do you know who was the first Villanova basketball players to play professionally in the NBA?

No? Well, that honor would go to Art Spector, a 6-foot-4, 200-pound forward whose Boston Celtics joined the NBA in his final season of professional basketball in 1949.

From there 48 other Wildcats have suited up for an NBA team, a surprisingly small total when you consider the school has been fielding basketball teams since 1920; coincidentally the year Mr. Spector was born.

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While that’s not a lot of players in almost 100 years, especially when you consider that like literally thousands of players have worn the navy blue and white jersey, the number who’s risen to the top, beat the odds and won an NBA championship is an even more elusive club.

As of June 10th, 2019, only seven former Villanova players can call themselves NBA champions, Paul Arizin (arguably the most decorated Wildcats alum in history), Larry Hennessy, Chris Ford, Wali Jones, Bill Melchionni, and Herm Klotz.

And with one more win, Kyle Lowry will join that elusive club, and be the first player to do so since 1981.

That’s right, while Nova wasn’t particularly productive between Rollie Massimino‘s last championship and Jay Wright‘s first, only sending nine players to the NBA between 1986 and 2006, Lowry is among the few former Wildcats to actually thrive in the league, finally settling into a home as the Toronto Raptors‘ starting point guard after stints with the Memphis Grizzlies and the Houston Rockets.

Though Lowry has at times been criticized for his hot and cold playoff composure, Toronto’s second (or third) best player has strung together some of his best basketball over the last month, averaging 19.2 points a game in the Raptors’ series against the Bucks in route to the organizations first finals appearance in their history.

And with one more win against Steph, Klay, Draymond, Iggy, Boogie, and (maybe) Kevin, Lowry will etch his name in Toronto basketball history as a member of the Raptors’ first championship-winning club.

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While it won’t be easy, as Kevin Durant‘s return will make the Warriors all the more potent as they attempt to win their third chip in four seasons, if Kyle Lowry and his mismatched collection of roleplayers like Pascal Siakam, Danny Green, and Marc Gasol can help Kawhi Leonard steal one more win, we could be looking at the first Villanova Wildcat earn an NBA championship since Atlantic City native Chris Ford accomplished the feat as a shooting guard for the Boston Celtics back in 1981. Needless to say, thank God Lowry doesn’t play for Boston.