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Josh Hart revitalizes the role of the sixth man

The Wildcat guard-forward has thrived on both ends of the court for Villanova

Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

To many fans' dismay, there are not many John Havlicek-type roles left in basketball, and especially the Big East. The sixth man role, or the first man off of the bench, is mainly used today as a specialty player; or just a role player in general. In today's game, coaches usually look towards either a scoring punch or a defensive presence to mix up their lineup as a sixth man (Manu Ginobili and Tony Allen). Most Big East teams have rotated their bench roles and some have not even established a true sixth man.

The lone exception in the Big East is Villanova sophomore guard Josh Hart. Hart, the Sixth Man of the Year in the Big East, only averages around 10 points and four rebounds a game. Although, it is not his offense that implements him as one of the better players in the Big East.

His defensive presence and I.Q are almost outstanding. His ability to front players four and five inches taller than him in the post is extremely impressive and unheard of from a player that small.

The sophomore from Maryland has commonly been labeled by announcers as a "3 and D" player, referencing that he is utilized as a stout defender and outside shooter. Although, his four rebounds a game signify that he is more than just a two-faceted sportsman.

Hart is, most likely, not a threat to score 20-25 points on a nightly basis, but he has been a steady force running the fast break and scoring from the outside. Hart's 45% from three-point land is extremely impressive and he scores around six points a game from jump shots.

His defense and hustle are common underrated and not mentioned by analysts when discussing and unraveling Villanova, but he has been their most impressive defensive star so far this year.

Many questioned when he was passed over as a starter at the beginning of the year for Dylan Ennis, but his stout year on the defensive end has shown that Jay Wright made the right decision, once again. Even so, Hart plays only two minutes less per game than Ennis.

Even with the role of the sixth man depleting in the Big East, teams variation and ability to use multiple players at this diminishing role has given it a new definition.