The Villanova Wildcats have consistently been stellar in the recruiting department for a long time, and it seems the trend will continue for the class of 2015.
While Wildcats head coach Jay Wright does not necessarily try to get the McDonald's All Americans of the world, the program continually signs several players who are ranked in the Top 100 nationally and can develop over time to become NBA caliber talent.
Here's a look at what the reigning Big East regular season champions have done as of late, and what's to come in the future.
Class of 2014 Recap
Villanova has one of the better recruiting classes in the Big East Conference, and will have two stud freshman on campus this fall in Mikal Bridges and Phil Booth. Mikal is a 6-foot-7 small forward who is a local product from Malvern, Pennsylvania and lives roughly 20 minutes from the Villanova campus. He played AAU basketball for Team Final, the top AAU team in the state and has alumni like Tyreke Evans and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
The fact that he plays for such a prestigious AAU program will help him greatly because the high school he attends is not known for its basketball compared to a school like Oak Hill Academy or Findlay Prep. Mikal is going to be a long-term project because he grew four inches in one year and was widely considered a mid-major college talent until he exploded on the AAU circuit last summer. He still needs to get stronger because of how much he has grown but in a few years, he will be one of if not the best player for the Wildcats.
Phil Booth is 6-foot-1 combo guard from Baltimore, Maryland and is a player of good character with high basketball IQ. He played for Team Takeover during the AAU season, one of the most successful programs in the nation. Team Takeover has won several AAU national championships and like his new teammate Mikal, he is used to playing against some of top high school players in the nation.
Phil's freshman and sophomore year at Villanova will be spent giving Ryan Arcidiacono a rest because he played the most minutes for the Wildcats last year, averaging 31 per game. Although Phil will not have the most glamorous role, he will be important player for the upcoming season and could be a huge contributor for the Wildcats as they hope to be in the Top 25 for a majority of the season.
Class of 2015
Even though it is very early in the recruiting process, Villanova already has a few great players signed, with the momentum trending upwards for the next six months.
Tim Delaney is a 6-foot-8 power forward from Mullica Hill, New Jersey that verbally committed to play at Villanova roughly one year ago. While he is not very athletic and his post moves need some work, but his defensive ability and rebounding skills are very difficult to teach. Not only does he play extremely hard, but he plays defense with a very high IQ.
He needs to become a better offensive player before he arrives on campus, but still has this summer and the upcoming high school season to work on his post moves and perimeter shooting. More importantly, the potential is there for him to be a great player for the Wildcats, and Villanova fans should be happy to have him.
Donte DiVincenzo is a 6-foot-4 shooting guard who can play the small forward and committed to play for Villanova last January, passing up the likes of Notre Dame, Syracuse, and Pittsburgh: three former Big East schools. He is a versatile 2-3 guard and an athlete who can play above the rim.
Donte also plays for Team Final during the AAU season and is playing great on the circuit, displaying a decent handle for his position and the ability to make three pointers. He must continue to get stronger because he only weighs 170 pounds, and the added strength will help him play defense against the shooting guards in the Big East.
Top Unsigned Recruits
Jalen Brunson - Aldi E. Stevens High School
Jalen Brunson is the top ranked point guard in the country and will be the best player Villanova has seen in years if he decides to play for the Wildcats. He played with Jahil Okafor and Cliff Alexander, the top two players for the Class of 2014 on his AAU team, the Mac Irvin Fire. He averaged 25 points and five assists for his high school team and was awarded 2014 Gatorade Player of the Year in the state of Illinois.
His dad, Rick Brunson, played for Temple University during the John Chaney Era and was reported to be introduced as the Temple Owls' newest assistant coach next month. About three days ago however, Rick was charged with sexual assault, and Temple has issued no comment on the subject at this juncture. It is a very sad story, and the assault could cost Rick Brunson his new job and Temple is one of the schools Jalen is considering along with Michigan, Michigan State, Illinois, and of course Villanova.
Bryant Crawford - Gonzaga College High School
Bryant Crawford is another point guard that Villanova is trying to sign and has gotten offers from the University of Connecticut, Georgetown, and Indiana. He was a member of the USA 2013 Development Team, which has allowed him to play against the best talent in the county and get advice and tips from the best coaches in the country. He plays for Team Takeover during the AAU season, and hopefully former Team Takeover member Phil Booth convinces him to sign with the Wildcats. He visited Villanova on June 10 and said he had a great time and really got along with Jay Wright. He got to see some members of the team and saw how the basketball team is one big family. Hopefully, Bryant can have a great summer season to improve his ranking before the high school season starts.