Villanova Basketball: Top 12 Big Men in Wildcats History

Ron PasceriCorrespondent IIDecember 21, 2011

Villanova Basketball: Top 12 Big Men in Wildcats History

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    Villanova basketball carries a much richer tradition than most programs. It also carries a much richer history than most people realize.

    Being a small Augustinian school in the Philadelphia suburbs, which prides itself on education, Villanova doesn’t tend to attract the real blue chip big men.

    Through most of the last two decades, they’ve been known for perimeter players like Kerry Kittles, Randy Foye, Allan Ray and Scottie Reynolds.

    Despite the reputation as a guard program, the Wildcats have had their share of quality post players as well.

12. Malik Allen: 1996-2000

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    Allen was unfortunate, playing during the dead years between Kerry Kittles' graduation and Jay Wright’s hiring. Anyway, he represented the program well.

    He helped lead the Wildcats to two NCAA Tournament appearances, and along the way he scored 1,131 points, grabbed 708 rebounds and is fourth in school history with 191 blocked shots.

    In his final two years as the starting center, Allen averaged 12.7 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game.

11. Michael Bradley: 2000-01

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    Michael Bradley is a rare breed in Villanova history. He joined Tim Thomas as the only players to head to the NBA after one year.

    In that season, Bradley averaged 20.8 points and 9.8 rebounds per game.

    The team only went 18-13 and missed the Big Dance, but he was voted second-team All-America. He was taken with the 17th pick in the 2001 NBA Draft by the Toronto Raptors.

10. Will Sheridan: 2003-2007

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    Will Sheridan is one of the most well-known Villanova big men for his uplifting music and for proclaiming his homosexuality earlier this year. He also deserves recognition for his play on the court.

    Never a big numbers guy, Sheridan did all the little things to help his team win. He set vicious screens, was a phenomenal help defender, a tenacious rebounder and even developed a nice mid-range jumper.

    Sheridan anchored the Wildcats to a Sweet 16 in 2004, and followed it up with an Elite Eight in 2005.

9. Tom Greis: 1986-1990

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    The tallest player in Villanova history at 7’3”, Greis was a fixture for four seasons. He is second on the all-time Villanova blocked shots list with 273.

    In 134 games, he scored 1,504 points and had 728 rebounds.

    As a senior, he led the Wildcats to the Elite Eight. In five NCAA Tournament games, he averaged 12.2 points and 8.0 rebounds per game.

8. Jason Lawson: 1993-1997

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    Jason Lawson was a very good center, but he was something of an enigma. He is far and away the school’s all-time leader in blocked shots with 375. He also pulled down 908 rebounds.

    He has career averages of 11.9 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game.

    Maybe the most talented big man in school history, Lawson was second-team All-Big East three times, and the 1997 Big East Defensive Player of the Year.

    Despite all his talent, Villanova only managed to win two NCAA Tournament games in his four-year career.

7. Alex Bradley: 1977-1981

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    A small power forward at just 6’6”, Bradley played big. In his 111 games in a Wildcats uniform, he averaged 14.7 points and 7.2 rebounds per game.

    Bradley was named to the 1981 All-Big East Tournament team, the same year he led them to the Elite Eight.

    In five NCAA Tournament games, he averaged 14.0 points and 8.1 rebounds. He was drafted by the New York Knicks in 1981.

6. Dante Cunningham: 2005-2009

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    Cunningham is a similar type of player to Sheridan, but he was more productive.

    He took his game seriously and improved drastically over his four seasons. His career averages of 9.6 points and 5.9 rebounds don’t do him justice, although he did average over a steal and a block per game.

    As a senior, Cunningham was a true leader. He was named second-team All-Big East and was the Big East Most Improved player.

    In his career, he helped Villanova to a Sweet 16, an Elite Eight and a Final Four. During the Final Four run, Cunningham averaged 16.6 points and 9.0 rebounds. During his stay, the Wildcats were 9-4 in NCAA Tournament games.

5. Harold Pressley: 1982-1986

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    Not thought of as a big man, but he was a very productive power forward in his time on the Main Line.

    Pressley played on the 1985 National Championship team and also helped the Wildcats to an Elite Eight appearance.

    Individually, Pressley has a wealth of accomplishments.

    He averaged 11.6 points per game with 7.5 rebounds for his career. He is also second in school history with 213 steals and sixth with 152 blocks.

    Pressley owns the first-ever triple-double in Big East history. He was also named to the 1985 Southeast Region’s All-NCAA Tournament team.

    As a senior he was named to the Big East All-Tournament team, was the Big East Defensive Player of the year and was an Honorable Mention All-American.

4. John Pinone: 1979-1983

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    It’s a name that isn’t heard very often, but John Pinone was a great college big man. During an era where everyone played all four years, he was highly productive.

    As a four-year starter, Pinone had career averages of 16.1 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.

    He was named first-team All-Big East three times, was a third-team All-American in 1983 and helped to lead Villanova to two Elite Eight appearances.

    In 10 tournament games, he averaged 15.9 points and 7.0 rebounds per game.

3. Jim Washington: 1962-1965

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    Known as “Jumpin’ Jimmy,” he is the second leading rebounded in Villanova history. Washington scored 13.5 points and averaged 14.0 rebounds per game.

    He led the Wildcats to the 1964 Final 16 and a victory in the consolation game. In the tournament, he averaged 14.3 rebounds per game and had double-figures in each game.

    Washington was drafted with the No. 8 pick in the 1965 NBA Draft by the St. Louis Hawks.

2. Ed Pinckney: 1981-1985

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    It was very difficult to leave Pinckney out of the top spot. He carried Villanova to one of the most memorable national championships in the history of college athletics.

    He wasn’t a one-hit wonder either. Over four seasons, Pinckney put himself in the top-10 in the Villanova record books in points, rebounds and blocked shots.

    Pinckney was a 14.5 point per game scorer, he grabbed 8.6 rebounds and blocked two shots per game. He played in 14 NCAA Tournament games, and the Wildcats won 11 of them, making two Elite Eight appearances to go along with the championship.

    Pinckney was a third-team All-American in 1983 and he was the 10th pick in the 1985 NBA Draft.

1. Howard Porter: 1968-1971

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    Undeniably, Howard Porter is the greatest player in Villanova history, not just the greatest big man. Porter played just three seasons but that didn’t keep him from putting his stamp on the record books.

    In 89 games, Porter scored 2,026 points and swiped 1,317 rebounds for averages of 22.8 points and 14.8 rebounds per game.

    Porter led Villanova to the national championship game in 1971, succumbing to the UCLA dynasty. He did manage to win the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player award.

    Porter was also a three-time first-team All-American.

    Villanova isn’t a big man-factory like Georgetown, Syracuse or North Carolina, but they have their own legacy, and they deserve to be respected.