Nobody can deny that the Villanova Wildcats have become a college basketball powerhouse under Jay Wright. National championships in 2016 and 2018 prove that. The Wildcats also had a great run in the 1980s under Rolie Massimino, who led them to the 1985 national championship. But has Villanova matched its success on the court by sending star players to the NBA? Let’s answer that question by checking out the best NBA players to come out of Villanova.
Foye had a standout career for the Wildcats, averaging over 20 points per game and winning Big East Player of the Year as a senior. While he didn’t quite live up to the billing of a top-10 pick, he had a respectable NBA career that spanned 11 seasons.
Foye made the All-Rookie First Team and averaged as much as 16 points per game in his third pro season. Ultimately, he averaged just over 10 points per game for his career, which is more than most can say.
Thomas is another top-10 pick who never quite up to his full potential, bouncing from team to team over 13 seasons.
However, he had a good stretch in the early 2000s with the Bucks and Knicks, becoming a reliable scorer and maintaining his spot in the starting lineup. In 13 seasons, Thomas played over 800 games and averaged 11.5 points per game.
Kittles is truly one of the greats in Villanova history, averaging at least 19 points per game in three different seasons, leading the Cats to an NIT title and a Big East Tournament championship along the way. In the NBA, Kittles hit the ground running, averaging 16 points per game as a rookie and 17 points per game in his second season.
However, knee injuries began to slow him up, eventually forcing him to miss the entire 2000-01 season. However, when he was healthy, Kittles continued to be a starter and one of New Jersey’s most reliable scorers. He ended up playing just eight seasons but averaged 14 points per game in his NBA career.
In retrospect, it’s surprising that out of all of Villanova’s stars of the early 2000s that Lowry ended up being the best. He only averaged 11 points per game as a sophomore before leaving for the NBA. He also had a rough start to his pro career, rarely starting over his first four seasons. But Lowry blossomed after being traded to Toronto in 2012.
Starting in 2015, he became a perennial all-star and was a huge part of the Raptors winning the NBA title in 2019. When he retires, there’s a chance he’ll be considered the best NBA player to ever come out of Villanova.
For now, Arizin remains the best player to come out of Villanova. After leading the country in scoring and being a consensus All-American for the Wildcats in 1950, Arizin embarked on a storied NBA career. He led the NBA in scoring twice and led his hometown Philadelphia Warriors to the NBA title in 1956, scoring 28.9 points per game in the playoffs.
His rookie season was the only season in which Arizin didn’t average at least 20 points per game. He was a 10-time all-star and retired as the third-leading scorer in league history and now resides in the Basketball Hall of Fame.