Villanova Basketball: Ranking the Wildcats' All-Time Greatest Players

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistDecember 5, 2012

Villanova Basketball: Ranking the Wildcats' All-Time Greatest Players

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    Villanova University has a storied basketball history that is highlighted by the 1985 National Championship won by the team coached by Rollie Massimino. 

    Very few coaches get a chance to coach this historic program with only eight coaches taking charge of the program.

    Luckily for Wildcats fans, there have been more great players to pass through the program than there have been coaches at the school. 

    This ranking of the top 10 Wildcats players in the program's history consists of the most recent star, Scottie Reynolds, one of the original stars of the program, Paul Arizin, and everyone in between. 

10. Bill Melchionni

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    Bill Melchionni came to Villanova from across the Delaware River in Pennsauken, N.J. in 1962 and ended his four year career as an All-American. 

    In his senior season, Melchionni led the Wildcats to the 1966 NIT, which at that time was a 14-team tournament.

    In the postseason tournament, the Wildcats reached the semifinals before losing to NYU but the guard ended up winning the Most Outstanding Player award at the tournament. 

    Melchionni's No. 25 is also hanging in the rafters at The Pavilion for his performances while at Villanova. 

9. Tim Thomas

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    Before he was the seventh overall pick by the New Jersey Nets in the 1997 NBA Draft, Tim Thomas was a star at Villanova. 

    Before entering Villanova, Thomas was a McDonald's High School All-American entering Villanova as a freshman in 1996. 

    In his only season at the school, Thomas played in the Wildcats' first game at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia and led the program to a berth in the NCAA men's basketball tournament. 

    The Wildcats entered as a No. 4 seed in the tournament but they did not get past the second round after losing to Cal. 

8. Scottie Reynolds

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    Scottie Reynolds is the most recent player to play for the Wildcats on this list.

    Reynolds was the latest in the line of exceptional point guards who played under the tutelage of coach Jay Wright. 

    In his four seasons at Villanova, Reynolds eclipsed everyone on the all-time scoring list except Kerry Kittles.

    The native of Herndon, Va. also racked up plenty of other accolades throughout his four-year career at Villanova. 

    Reynolds won the Big East Rookie of the Year after the 2006-07 season, which was the first of many awards he won in college.

    Reynolds almost left the program after leading the Wildcats to the Final Four in his junior season but he decided to return to play one final season. 

    In his senior season, Reynolds just missed Kittles' record by 21 points and earned a spot on the AP All-American First Team becoming only the fourth Wildcat to do so. 

7. Larry Hennessy

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    Back in the 1950s during the era of Alexander Severance as coach of Villanova, a guard named Larry Hennessy came into the program. 

    In Hennessy's first season with the Wildcats, the team went 25-7 and made the Sweet 16 of the NCAA men's basketball tournament. 

    Before going off to the NBA for a six-year career, Hennessy earned a spot on the Third Team All-American roster twice in 1952 and 1953. 

6. Randy Foye

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    Randy Foye was a part of one of Villanova's most successful teams in history.

    Foye was one guard in a star quartet that starred under Wright during the 2005-06 season. 

    Combining with Allen Ray, Mike Nardi and Will Sheridan, Foye helped the Wildcats earn a berth in the 2006 NCAA men's basketball tournament. 

    The Wildcats earned a number one seed and advanced to the Elite Eight before losing to Florida. 

    After that historic season ended, Foye was named Big East Player of the Year before being drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves with the seventh overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft. 

5. Ed Pinckney

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    Ed Pinckney may be one of the best known Villanova Wildcats players in history because of his role in the 1985 National Championship team. 

    Pinckney played all four seasons at Nova under legendary coach Rollie Massimino and made the NCAA men's basketball tournament in all four years. 

    In his senior season at the school, Pinckney led the Wildcats to the National Championship game against Georgetown and pulled off one of the biggest upsets in college basketball history. 

    The forward ended up winning the Most Outstanding Player award at the tournament and he scored 16 points in the historic 66-64 victory over their Big East rivals. 

4. Kerry Kittles

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    Kerry Kittles was the last star of the Steve Lappas era at Villanova and he went down in the record books as the Wildcats' all-time leading scorer in his time at the school. 

    In Kittles' second season at Villanova, the Wildcats won the NIT Championship, a title that was just the start of the guard's success at the school. 

    In his junior season, Kittles was named to the AP All-American Second Team as the Wildcats finished 25-8.

    Kittles became the all-time leading scorer in Wildcats' history during his senior season, a record that he still holds to this day with 2,243 points. 

    Also during his senior season, Kittles was named to the AP All-American First Team. 

3. Howard Porter

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    Howard Porter was another strong power forward, who just like Pinckney, led his team to the National Championship game.

    The difference between Porter and Pinckney is that Porter's 1971 team lost to UCLA in the title game but he still won the tournament's Most Outstanding Player award. 

    Porter is still the only Wildcats player in the program's history to not only be named an All-American on two occasions but on three occasions during his career. 

    Porter was named to the All-American team in 1969, 1970 and 1971, which were three successful seasons with the Wildcats. 

2. John Pinone

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    John Pinone started playing for the Wildcats eight seasons after Porter left the program and while he may have not been a three-time All-American, Pinone had a very impressive career at Villanova. 

    The highest on the national scene that Pinone reached was the Third-Team All-American squad in his senior season but the forward earned plenty of honors on the conference and local levels. 

    Pinone was named to the All-Big East first team three times and was a first-team All-Philadelphia player in all four of his seasons at Villanova. 

    Pinone graduated two years before the Wildcats won the national championship but he did play in the NCAA men's basketball tournament in all four of his seasons with the Elite Eight being the furthest his teams ever reached, they accomplished that feat in both 1982 and 1983. 

1. Paul Arizin

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    Paul Arizin was not only a Villanova basketball legend, he was a Philadelphia basketball legend. 

    Arizin came to Villanova in 1947 and left in 1950 to become a member of the NBA's Philadelphia Warriors.

    In his time at Villanova, Arizin only played three seasons and made the NCAA men's basketball tournament once during the 1948-49 season when the Wildcats reached the final eight. 

    Arizin averaged 25.3 points in his senior season and went on to play over a dozen years in the NBA.