Villanova’s Josh Hart delayed a possible future in the NBA to try and repeat as national champions. (Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News)

As arguably the best player in college basketball, Josh Hart is staring at a future as an NBA player.

It would have been easy for Hart to chase after that dream – and the millions that come along with it – last season, especially after his Villanova Wildcats won the national championship. Instead, he made the decision to return for his senior year.

On Friday, before the Wildcats practiced in preparation for Saturday's game against Wisconsin at KeyBank Center, Hart explained why.

"It just came down to the best situation for my family and myself, and that was the biggest thing," Hart said. "Anyone that knows me knows that's the first thing and my main priority, I want to take care of my parents. That's the biggest thing with me. And I knew I had that chance last year, and if I did leave, teams said they would take me and it wasn't where I wanted to be.

"I didn't want to just get there and take care of my parents for a year or two. I wanted to have a long career in the league, and I'm going to take care of them for the rest of their lives. That was ultimately the decision for me. So when I got all of that information, and I just sat down and thought about it, it was an easy decision."

Hart went through the draft process, which entailed going to the NBA Scouting Combine and attending team workout – "testing the water," he called it – before letting coach Jay Wright know he would return for his senior season on May 25.

"That's when I had the aha moment," he said. "I said, 'I want to do this again.' So that's something we've been working toward since the summer, and something that we got to continue to work on, and we've got to keep being coachable and being better."

To keep that dream of repeating alive, the top-seeded Wildcats (32-3) will have to get past a dangerous eighth seed in the Badgers (26-9).

"When you get this late in the tournament, no one's playing that it's an easy win," Hart said. "Everyone is a tough team. We know that, we know they're going to make runs, and, we've got to play Villanova basketball."

 

 

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