Villanova’s Josh Hart has plenty of awards to his name and now he can add Big East Player of the Year to the list. The senior guard received the honor Wednesday afternoon.
After he was named preseason player of the year in the Big East, Hart responded by leading the conference in points per game (18.7). He's shot 50.7 percent from the field and 40.4 percent from three.
The Maryland native was fourth in the Big East in rebounds per game (6.5) and sixth in steals (1.5).
Hart and teammate Jalen Brunson were also unanimously voted to the All-Big East first team, the second straight year for Hart.
Bruson, a sophomore, was second in the Big East in assists per game (4.3) and averaged 14.8 points.
Villanova had the best scoring defense in the Big East, allowing only 63.1 points per game. This was thanks in part to Mikal Bridges and Hart, who are sharing the Big East Defensive Player Award with Creighton’s Khyri Thomas. This is the first time the conference has allowed three players to share the accolade.
Big East player of the Year is a nice honor but Hart has a chance to be recognized as the top college basketball player in the nation. The 6-foot-5 guard was named to a list of 15 finalists for the John R. Wooden Award, college basketball’s highest honor.
Hart is the only player from the Big East to be named a finalist. The winner will be announced March 27 on ESPN at 8 p.m.
The U.S. Basketball Writers Association also recognized Hart and Villanova’s head coach Jay Wright as Player of the Year and Coach of the Year for District II.
District II covers schools in the following states: New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Washington D.C., Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
Wright, who reached 500 wins this season, shared the Big East Coach of the Year award in 2016 with Seton Hall’s Kevin Willard. Wright is the first coach to receive the award three seasons in a row (2014-16).
In addition, Wright took home the Naismith National Coach of the Year award in 2016, which he also received in 2006.
On Thursday at noon, the Wildcats will play the winner of Wednesday's matchup between 8-seed St. John’s and 9-seed Georgetown (7 p.m./FS1).