The Top 5 in 25 is a series that will run through next week chronicling the top five players since the 1987-1988 season. We will be releasing all six schools in the next few days.
Click here to read Drexel’s Top 5 in 25 by Kevin Rossi.
Click here to read Penn’s Top 5 in 25 by Teddy Bailey.
Click here to read Temple’s Top 5 in 25 by Chase Senior.
The past 25 years have been pretty good to Villanova. During that time they’ve made 14 trips to the big dance, recording as many 20 win seasons during that time as well, and only having four losing seasons.
Villanova is now being well represented with solid basketball players scattered throughout the NBA. That wasn’t always the case, but they’ve had their share of lottery picks throughout the years, probably making more of an impact than any other Big 5 school.
A lot of that has to do with the Jay Wright era, which takes up most of the 2000′s, and included seven consecutive post season berths. As you will find on the list, the players from that era left their mark in Villanova in a number of different ways, as well as others.
With that, here are the five greatest players from Villanova in the past 25 years.
G- Kerry Kittles (1992-1996)
It’s hard to imagine a player on the worst team in this 25 year span made the list, but Kerry Kittles has a resume that cannot be ignored and led Villanova to an impressive progression each of his four seasons. Among it is helping the 1992-93 team that won a total of nine games win the NIT tournament the following year in 1994. His junior and senior years resulted in trips to the big dance, making it to the second round his senior year before falling four points short against Louisville.
Looking more at his individual game and accomplishments, Kittles had an impressive four years. He remains the all-time leader in points scored in program history with over 2,200, even after a number of threats to break it from Wildcats of the past decade. At 6-5, Kittles was a pretty versatile player, being able to nail a three at a career rate of nearly 40%, averaging six boards a game and about three assists, while being the school’s all-time leader in steals with move two per game. He appeared on the All-American team twice, as a second-teamer in his junior season, and again on the first team in his senior year along with the likes of Ray Allen and Allen Iverson.
Statistically, Kittles finished his four-year career at Villanova the all-time leader in points with 2243 and steals with 277. Professionally, Kittles was a good player with the Nets and Clippers, nearly winning the NBA title in both 2002 and 2003. He was very consistent too, averaging at least 13 points nearly every year, after being the eighth player taken overall in the 1996 draft.
G- Scottie Reynolds (2006-10)
Reynolds is the star of arguably the greatest play of the past 25 years when he made the courtside dash to the basket, placing the ball in, as
well as placing Villanova to the 2009 Final Four in his junior season. That was not the only highlight of his career however, as it became clear his freshman year, when he was named Big East Rookie of the Year, that he would be a good player for years to come.
Reynolds’s Wildcats would make the NCAA tournament in all four years, winning at least one game in three of them, falling to the eventual National Champion twice. He finished second all-time in Villanova scoring history, averaging 16 a game for his career. Reynolds would finish with 2222 career points, second only to Kittles.
The guard’s college career reached the individual high when he was named an All-American following his impressive senior season. Unfortunately, he did not begin an American pro career as he became the first first-team All-American since the NBA merged with the ABA to not be drafted. Since college, he has played in Italy, Turkey and for Tulsa in the NBDL.
G/F Doug West (1985-89)
The latter part of Doug West collegiate career, his graduation in 1989, makes him eligible for this list. West, like Thomas, Kittles and probably Foye, had a very good college career while also being a good pro.
West just missed being a national champion, joining the team as a freshman for the 1985-86 season, but still played on some good Villanova teams. He was a big reason why they wer good, averaging 15 points or more per game from his sophmore season forward.
The best way to describe West’s game is being solid all around. He was both a guard and a forward and was athletic, could shoot, and also defend. He was also a good shooter, able to hit a trey at nearly a 40% clip, and scored more than 2,000 points in his collegiate career. He averaged five rebounds a game in his final three seasons with the Wildcats, and had nearly a steal per game.
A late second round pick in the NBA draft, West probably performed better than most expected. He wasn’t an All-Star, but was a very good started in the league for a handful of seasons, best known for playing with the Minnesota Timberwolves. His best season came in 1992-93 when he averaged 19.3 points a game. He even competed in the Slam Dunk Contest in 1992.
As part of his post-playing career, he spent five seasons as a coach under Jay Wright, from 2007-12.
G- Randy Foye (2002-06)
A 6-4 guard who played in the middle part of the past decade, Randy Foye was a very solid player. One could make a case that his senior season in 2005-06 was the best by any Wildcat in the past 25 years.
Foye, along with the program, rose from irrelevancy to the national spotlight in each of his four seasons, with him
being a major reason one. He would average 15 points a game for his career, shining as a very good guard in Jay Wright’s four guard lineup.
In his junior season, Villanova became legitimate players in the tournament field, nearly beating North Carolina in the Sweet 16 in a game he scored 28 points. ‘Nova would fall because of what was, in the eyes of many, a questionable travel call. The season he put together the following year is what cements him on this list. He averaged over 20 points a game as a senior, leading Villanova all the way to the Elite 8, falling to the eventual NCAA champion for the second straight year. He deserves a considerable amount of credit for leading their four-guard attack.
Foye finished with 1966 points (Eighth in ‘Nova history), 416 assists and 198 steals in 131 games. He was the first player from Villanova since Kittles to be named a first-team All-American. Foye was a finalist for the Wooden award and Big East Player of the Year. He would go on to be a lottery pick, and is in his seventh NBA season, having played for the Timberwolves, Wizards, Clippers and presently the Utah Jazz.
F- Tim Thomas (1996-97)
If we are ranking the five best players from Villanova in the past 25 years, a guy who played 13 years in the NBA at a very high level would almost have to make the list. The thing about Tim Thomas, however, is that his time at the school was very brief, as in only one season. He was so good as a freshman, he left following the season to join the NBA player entry draft.
Thomas averaged 17 points a game and six rebounds a game in his only year of action in the Big East. He had good touch for a big man who stood 6-10, being able to put down a three here and there, hitting 47 in 32 games, as well as holding his own at the free throw line.
Despite his brief career at Villanova, he proved he was clearly one of the better players to come through and play at the Pavilion in the past 25 years.
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