10 best seasons by Villanova guards under Jay Wright
Outstanding guard play has been the driving force behind Jay Wright's success during his 17-year tenure at Villanova. Wright seeks out playmaking guards on the recruiting trail and gives them the freedom that accompanies running the Wildcats' offense. It's a formula that has resulted in the most successful era in Villanova basketball history.
Over the years, Wright's guards have racked up Big East Player of the Year awards and All-American honors, with a handful going on to become NBA first-round picks. From Randy Foye and Kyle Lowry to Scottie Reynolds and Ryan Arcidiacono, there has been no shortage of record-setting guards.
Jalen Brunson is the latest in that long line of great Villanova guards. Where does his junior season rank among the best by a Villanova guard under Wright? (USA Today Images)
10. Maalik Wayns
2011-12 season: 29 games, 33.6 MPG, 17.6 PPG, 4.6 APG, 41% FG, 30% 3-PT, 89% FT
Wayns' scoring and assist numbers during his junior season were terrific but his shooting percentages were subpar. Wayns is also hurt by the fact Villanova finished this season with a 13-19 record, the only time in the last 14 years that the Wildcats failed to reach the NCAA Tournament. Generally speaking, Wayns put up big numbers but they came mostly in losing efforts. This ended up being his last season at Villanova before he left early to begin his professional career. (AP Images)
9. Darrun Hilliard
2014-2015 season: 35 games, 28.8 MPG, 14.3 PPG, 2.1 APG, 44% FG, 39% 3-PT, 80% FT
Hilliard's production during his senior season wasn't overwhelming but he gains points for being a driving force on a team that won 33 games and claimed the Big East regular season and tournament championships. Hilliard was a first-team All-Big East performer as a senior and paired with Ryan Arcidiacono to form one of the best backcourt tandems in recent Villanova history. Hilliard's career ended with a disappointing loss to NC State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, a game in which he scored 27 points.
Hilliard went on to become a second-round pick in 2015 and is currently playing for the Spurs. (AP Images)
8. Corey Fisher
2010-11 season: 33 games, 33.4 MPG, 15.6 PPG, 4.8 APG, 42% FG, 33% 3-PT, 79% FT
Fisher had to wait until his senior season to step out of the considerable shadow of Scottie Reynolds. He took advantage of the opportunity by blossoming into one of the best lead guards in the Big East, earning second-team all-conference honors. Fisher was best known for his fearless drives to the basket but struggled to find consistency with his jump shot. Villanova started this season with a 16-1 record but lost 11 of their last 16, including their final six. Fisher's career ended with a first-round loss to George Mason in the NCAA Tournament. (AP Images)
7. Kyle Lowry
2005-2006 season: 33 games, 29.3 MPG, 11.0 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 3.7 APG, 47% FG, 44% 3-PT, 79% FT
Lowry has had far and away the best NBA career of any Villanova guard to play for Jay Wright, but the four-time All-Star occasionally took a backseat to Randy Foye and Allan Ray in college. Lowry, Foye, Ray and Mike Nardi comprised Villanova's much-publicized four-guard lineup that carried the Wildcats to a Big East regular-season championship and the school's first Elite Eight appearance in 18 years.
Lowry was dynamic throughout his sophomore season, his last at Villanova. He displayed the fearless mindset and explosive offensive skills that would make him a star at the NBA level. Following Villanova's loss to eventual national champion Florida in the Elite Eight, Lowry went 24th in the 2006 NBA draft. (AP Images)
6. Allan Ray
2005-2006 season: 32 games, 32.1 MPG, 18.5 PPG, 1.8 APG, 39% FG, 37% 3-PT, 89% FT
Ray may have been the best pure scorer of any Villanova guard during the Jay Wright era. His senior season resulted in his earning first-team All-Big East and second-team All-American honors. Ray had the ability to take over games with his outside shooting and helped carry the Wildcats to the Big East regular-season title and within one game of advancing to the Final Four.
Randy Foye was the best player on this team and Kyle Lowry went on to have the best NBA career, but make no mistake — Allan Ray was a terrific college player, one of the best in the country during his senior season. (AP Images)
5. Ryan Arcidiacono
2015-2016 season: 40 games, 32.1 MPG, 12.5 PPG, 4.2 APG, 45% FG, 39% 3-PT, 84% FT
Arcidiacono's senior season was one for the record books — not necessarily for his individual numbers, but for how it ended. He led Villanova to its second-ever national championship, punctuating the title game win over North Carolina with a last-second assist on Kris Jenkins' buzzer-beating three.
Arcidiacono was the heart and soul of the Wildcats' attack for four years and saved his most efficient numbers for his senior season. One year after being named the Big East Co-Player of the Year as a junior, he received a far more significant individual honor: Most Outstanding Player of the 2016 NCAA Tournament. Along the way, he led Villanova to a Big East regular-season championship and a school-record 35 wins. (AP Images)
4. Scottie Reynolds
2009-2010 season: 33 games, 30.3 MPG, 18.2 PPG, 3.3 APG, 46% FG, 39% 3-PT, 84% FT
Reynolds capped his record-setting career with first-team All-American honors his senior season. He was the face of Villanova basketball throughout his time on the Main Line and led the Wildcats to their first Final Four in 24 years as a junior, but his senior season was his most dynamic. Reynolds may have been a score-first point guard but he also had the ability to make his teammates better. Villanova climbed as high as No. 2 in the national polls after starting the season with a 20-1 record but stumbled down the stretch to the tune of a 5-7 record in their final 12.
Reynolds' last game was a forgettable one — a 75-68 loss to St. Mary's in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. (AP Images)
3. Randy Foye
2005-2006 season: 33 games, 34.7 MPG, 20.5 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 3.0 APG, 41% FG, 35% 3-PT, 79% FT
A very good argument can be made for Foye's senior season being the finest by any guard during Jay Wright's time at Villanova. But his pedestrian efficiency numbers keep him a notch below the top two names on this list. There is no disputing that Foye was a force of nature as a senior, picking up first-team All-American and Big East Player of the Year honors while leading Villanova to the Big East regular-season championship and an Elite Eight appearance.
On a team that also featured Allan Ray and Kyle Lowry, Foye was the headliner. He delivered countless crunch time baskets in guiding the Wildcats to a then school-record 28 wins. He became the 7th pick in 2006, the first and only lottery pick of the Wright era. (AP Images)
2. Josh Hart
2016-2017 season: 36 games, 33.1 MPG, 18.7 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 2.9 APG, 51% FG, 40% 3-PT, 75% FT
Hart narrowly missed out on becoming the first Villanova player to win National Player of the Year honors, settling for a first-team All-American nod as well as the Big East Player of the Year award. He also cemented his legacy as one of the best postseason performers in school history, winning his second career Big East Tournament MVP award. Hart led the charge for a team that captured both the conference regular season and tournament titles and followed up a championship with a 32-4 record. His career ended on a disappointing note with Villanova losing to Wisconsin in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Hart was drafted 30th overall by the Lakers, the first Villanova player in 11 years to be selected in the first round. (USA Today Images)
1. Jalen Brunson
2017-2018 season: 31 games, 32.0 MPG, 19.0 PPG, 4.8 APG, 53% FG, 41% 3-PT, 81% FT
Brunson's junior season is still a work in progress entering this week's Big East Tournament and next week's NCAA Tournament. But as it stands, it's the best season by a Villanova guard in the Jay Wright era. His scoring and assist averages compare favorably with anyone on this list but it's his efficiency numbers that put him over the top. Brunson has a very good chance of becoming the first player in school history to win the Wooden Award. He's already been named first-team All-Big East for the second straight year and is a leading candidate for Big East Player of the Year honors.
Simply put, Brunson is everything you'd want in a college point guard — supremely skilled with a team-first mindset. He led Villanova to a 27-4 regular-season record and has a realistic shot of winning the second national championship of his three-year career. (USA Today Images)