Villanova Basketball: Biggest Lessons from Wildcats' 2014 Offseason So Far

Joe TanseyFeatured ColumnistSeptember 2, 2014

Mar 2, 2014; Villanova, PA, USA; Villanova Wildcats guard Ryan Arcidiacono (15) celebrates during the second half against the Marquette Golden Eagles at the Wells Fargo Center. Villanova defeated Marquette 73-56. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Villanova is not as big of a program as the likes of Kentucky and North Carolina, so it is not in the news every week during the offseason, but the Wildcats did come into focus on a few occasions this summer. 

From recruitment news to players signing overseas, the Wildcats did see a bit of action during the months that school was out of session on the Main Line.

Check below for the Wildcats' biggest lessons of the offseason so far. 


The Class of 2015 is Still Taking Shape 

Villanova has had two recruits locked in for the class of 2015 for quite some time now, but head coach Jay Wright is close to finalizing his roster for next season. 

The Wildcats have three targets left on the board in Chris Silva, Jalen Brunson and Isaiah Briscoe. 

It is not a guarantee that all three players will commit to Villanova, but it is a good bet that the Wildcats will pick up at least one commitment from the trio. 

If two of those three join up with Donte DiVincenzo and Tim Delaney, the Wildcats could end up with one of their best recruiting classes in a few years. 


Ryan Arcidiacono and Darrun Hilliard Gained Valuable Experience 

As for the players currently on the roster, two of the biggest contributors for the 2014-15 season gained plenty of experience during the offseason.

Point guard Ryan Arcidiacono spent time with the Italian national team, and he was the only player not based in Italy to make the camp, per

Feb 26, 2014; Villanova, PA, USA; Villanova Wildcats guard Ryan Arcidiacono (15) brings the ball up court during the first half against the Butler Bulldogs at The Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Senior Darrun Hilliard earned himself an invite to the LeBron James Skills Academy in July.

Mar 20, 2014; Buffalo, NY, USA;  Villanova Wildcats guard Darrun Hilliard II (4) drives to the baker against Milwaukee Panthers in the second  half of a men's college basketball game during the second round of the 2014 NCAA Tournament at First Niagara Cen

Hilliard got to spend four days honing his skills against the likes of Wisconsin's Sam Dekker, Wichita State's Ron Baker and a few incoming freshmen, including Kelly Oubre of Kansas and Arizona's Stanley Johnson.

Competing against some of the elite players at the collegiate level should have given Hilliard some extra motivation to improve his game further for the rest of the offseason. 


The Wildcats Can Still Produce Professional Players

While James Bell may not have succeeded as much as Kyle Lowry or Randy Foye in his final season at Villanova, he did do enough to earn a professional contract.

Bell did not end up in the NBA alongside those two former Wildcats, but he did sign with Cremona in Italy to start his pro career. 

Some people may judge a program based off of the number of players it puts in the NBA, but there are some schools, like Villanova, that consistently produce athletes who go overseas and succeed as well. 

Bell is the latest example of that, and he could be joined by some of his former teammates in the near future, especially if Arcidiacono continues to pursue appearances with the Italian national team.