The 2016-17 season hasn’t even started yet, and senior Josh Hart can already add another accolade to his resume.
On Wednesday, the Associated Press released its preseason All-America team, and Hart was among the few to make the elite list. Hart’s nomination to the All-America Team continues a trend that has been a theme of 2016–Villanova being recognized nationally.
The AP Preseason All-America Team was started in 1995, just before the 1995-96 season. Hart becomes the first Wildcat to be named a preseason All-American since Kerry Kittles had the honors on the inaugural AP Preseason All-America Team.
The 2016-17 AP Preseason All-America Team is also highlighted by leading vote-getter Grayson Allen (Duke), who got 61 votes from the 65-member national media panel. Allen joins Hart as the two players being consistently mentioned as the favorites for the Wooden Award–for National Player of the Year–for the upcoming season. California’s Ivan Rabb earned 55 votes, just two more than Hart did. Dillon Brooks (Oregon) and Monte Morris (Iowa State) round off the five-person group, earning 30 and 24 votes, respectively.
Last season, Hart led the national championship team with a team-high 15.5 points per game. He earned a penchant for being more than just a scorer, showcasing his rebounding, defense, leadership, and an ability to deliver in big game moments. To go along with this scoring averages, he also averaged 6.8 rebounds per game and proved to be an efficient scorer. He made 51.3 percent of his shots on the floor and made 35.7 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc. His play earned him a spot on the All-Big East First Team, as well as the All-Final Four and All-South Regional teams of the NCAA Tournament.
Hart and the Wildcats start the season ranked No. 4 in the Preseason AP Poll, the highest ranking given to a defending national champion since Louisville in 2013-14. Villanova will begin its season in three days–fitting as Hart’s jersey bears that number–engaging in an exhibition game against the IUP Crimson Hawks at the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday, Nov. 5. Tip-off is at 12 p.m.