With the Quakers, he was the go-to scorer and led the team to a share of the Mid-Atlantic Conference title as a junior. But with two upperclassmen guards returning for Jay Wright’s Wildcats, Hart has begun his college career as a bench player.
So far, Hart has had no problem adjusting to his sixth man role, establishing himself as one of the best reserves in the Big East Conference this winter.
Hart has seen significant time in in all 14 games without a start for the No. 8 Wildcats, and is third on the team in scoring at 9.6 points per game. The fundamentally sound 6-foot-5 guard is shooting 45 percent from three-point range and also grabbing 4.6 rebounds per game.
His 57 percent shooting clip from the floor ranks fourth in the Big East, and his early-season success has been a huge factor in Villanova’s (13-1, 2-0) surprising start.
Hart’s play earned him Big East Conference Rookie of the Week honors for the week of Dec. 15-21. He scored a career high 19 points in a Dec. 21 win over Rider and knocked down 7-of-8 field goal attempts. Saturday, in the team’s second conference win against Providence he scored 10 points, the seventh double-digit scoring performance for the freshman.
The Wildcats gained national attention with an upset win over then-No. 2 Kansas at the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas in November. They defeated Iowa in overtime for the tournament title a day later. And after beginning the season unranked, the Wildcats have climbed to No. 8 in the latest Associated Press poll.
Last year’s All-Met Player of the Year and former Gonzaga standout Kris Jenkins has also appeared in all 14 games for Villanova and is averaging 4.1 points and 2.3 rebounds in just over 12 minutes per game.