NCAA

Shavar Newkirk and Josh Hart named Big 5 Co-player’s of the week

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Shavar Newkirk and Josh Hart named Big 5 Co-player’s of the week

Saint Joseph’s Shavar Newkirk and No. 1 Villanova’s Josh Hart have been named the Big 5 Co-player’s of the week for Dec. 12. 

In St. Joe’s only game last week, Newkirk had a game-high 27 points, and a game-winning three-point play that led the Hawks to a 72-71 win over Drexel. The junior scored the team's final 11 points of the game, which started with a jumper at 4:27 that tied the game at 63-63.

On the season, Newkirk is averaging 21.1 points per game, which ranks third in the Atlantic 10. He has scored 20 or more points in all but two games this season for the 4-4 Hawks.

The other Big 5 player of the week, Josh Hart, could actually end up being the national player of the year. Hart had 21 points and eight rebounds during Villanova’s 89-79 win over rival La Salle this past Tuesday. 

Against No. 23 Notre Dame on Saturday, the senior had 37 points and 11 rebounds to help lead 'Nova to a 74-66 comeback win. Hart was the only Wildcat to score in double figures, and he made all 14 of his free-throw attempts. 

Hart has been a major key to Villanova’s undefeated season thus far, averaging 19.5 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. 

Knicks will reportedly reach out to Jay Wright about coaching job

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Knicks will reportedly reach out to Jay Wright about coaching job

Fresh off a second national championship in three years, this was bound to happen. Jay Wright is a hot name. 

And according to the New York Daily News, the Knicks plan on reaching out to Wright about their vacant head coaching job. 

Just don’t expect Wright to be interested. 

The 56-year-old coach has been determined to build Villanova into a powerhouse since he took the head coaching gig way back in 2001 and he’s finally done that. On the surface, maybe some think that would be enough to make him want to take his coaching to the top league in the world. Not so fast. 

In a recent interview with The Athletic, Wright said pretty flatly that he’s staying at Villanova because he loves it there. 

“The NBA does intrigue me,” Wright said. “That challenge is appealing but it’s not worth giving up working with these guys. The whole thing is, to take a new challenge you have to give up what you have. I don’t want to give up what I have. Would I like to coach in the NBA? Yes. But I have to give this up in order to do that, and I don’t see that happening.”

In that interview, Wright talked about his time at Hofstra and quoted Jim Valvano, who once said, ‘Don’t mess with happy.’ That was true at Hofstra until the Villanova job came around, so maybe there’s a chance the Knicks could blow him away. It just doesn’t seem likely. 

The Knicks just fired head coach Jeff Hornacek after a 29-53 record in 2017. The Knicks haven’t had a winning record since 2012-13. 

The New York Daily News cites a source, who said the Knicks believe Wright would be a “perfect candidate for a rebuilding club.” The Knicks might be right, but don’t bet on them getting Wright. 

Jalen Brunson hires agent, declares for NBA draft

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Jalen Brunson hires agent, declares for NBA draft

Villanova is losing its second star player in two days. 

Guard Jalen Brunson has decided to hire an agent and enter the 2018 NBA Draft, he wrote in a letter to Nova Nation on ESPN. He will forego his senior season at Villanova after an incredible college career. 

This news comes a day after his teammate Mikal Bridges announced he will also head to the NBA draft.

“It is with great honor and privilege that I have called Villanova University my home for the past three years,” Brunson wrote in ESPN. “When I decided to commit to Coach Jay Wright and the basketball program, I was driven by three goals: getting my education, competing at the highest level and winning a national championship. While I pride myself on remaining disciplined and focused to achieve these goals, I have grown as a man and have established lifelong relationships with my teammates, classmates, members of the basketball staff, fellow student-athletes and the wonderful educators and administrators of this prestigious university.”

Brunson leaves Villanova as one of the greatest players in Wildcats history, helping lead Villanova to its second national championship in three years. 

The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 18.9 points, 4.6 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game this season. Brunson was named the Big East Player of the Year and was the Wooden Award and Naismith Award winner this season.