HOLY MASSIMINO! Never forget these 2016 Villanova Wildcats



TJ Farrell

Nova Nation, it’s time to rejoice. The second round talks have diminished and your team is headed to Houston for the Final Four. Never forget how their magical run has happened thus far:


Never forget our heroes on the bench: Pat Farrell, Kevin Rafferty and Henry Lowe. Never forget the roar of the crowd when any one of those three would take off their warm-ups and check into the game. These three walk-ons have grown from the enthusiastic telescoping bench presence into dedicated leaders. Never forget the sight of those guys swinging the net on that ladder.

Never forget the likes of Delaney, DiVincenzo, Paschall, Father Rob and the entire coaching staff. They do things for this team that will never be publicized.

Never forget the evolution of Darryl Reynolds. When Ochefu went down with a concussion in January, Reynolds experienced unexpected playing time and really developed into a key big man off the bench. Plays like denying Kansas’ momentum changing alley-oop attempt are the plays that need to happen to win games.

Never forget the emergence of Mikal Bridges. He who used to pump up the team with his pre-game dance moves now electrifies the crowd with outstanding plays. Never forget his put-back dunk at Butler or his gravity defying put-back layup against Kansas. Most importantly, never forget that immediately iconic image of him diving on the final loose ball of the game, clinching the Wildcats’ first Final Four trip since 2009.

Never forget Phil Booth’s role. After bursting on to the scene as an offensive threat as a freshman, Booth saw his numbers go down as a sophomore. However, he has taken on a new roll: defensive stopper off the bench.

Never forget the new kid on the block.  Since day one, Jalen Brunson has never shown any signs of being nervous or timid against the toughest competition. He is a freshman mature beyond his years. Never forget the nasty Euro-step at Marquette or his breakout performance at Temple.

Never forget the “Big Ticket” or “Big Smooth” or whatever you may refer to him as. Never forget Kris Jenkins and what he has done this season. After starting off slowly, Jenkins turned into one of the hottest sharp shooters in the country. Never forget the epic reverse dunk against Providence or the shot against Miami that he hit from Pike Lot. Never forget how tranquil he was his first two years, and how he transformed into the vocal and emotional leader of the latest legendary Wildcats squad.

Never forget Josh Hart, the sixth man of the year that grew into a national superstar before our eyes. Never forget all of those high soaring rebounds he captured and all those times he found himself in a fan’s lap after diving after a loose ball. Whenever the team needed a bucket, it was Hart. Whenever they needed a rebound, it was Hart. Never forget the season Josh Hart has had so far.

Never forget the chef in the middle of the paint. Daniel Ochefu’s fun loving smile off the court coincides nicely with his ferocious post moves and incredible touch around the rim. Never forget how much pain their captain has battled through this season in order to battle on the court with his family.

A reminder for this player isn’t needed, but never forget the heart and sole of this team. As Jay Wright has often alluded to, Ryan Aricidaconos don’t come around very often. Never forget how much he means to this team.

Never forget the architect if this Final Four squad. 2016 has been quite possibly Jay Wright’s greatest coaching job yet.

Never forget how you felt after Oklahoma in Hawaii, Virginia, Providence in a blizzard, Xaiver, and Seton Hall. That pain makes this run that much sweeter.

Never forget the feeling you had going into halftime up eight. That 20 minute halftime felt like it lasted 40 days.

Never forget the feeling you got when the Jayhawks came out on fire, shrinking that lead 19 seconds into the half. It was that 2014 and 2015 feeling of “Oh no not again, this can’t end like this.”

Never forget the feeling you got after Arcidiacono and Hart hit back to back threes to put them back on top for good. It was a new feeling, one that showed that these Wildcats, unlike in years past, were legit. The Nova Nation was heavily outnumbered at the Yum!, but you would never have known from the sounds of the crowd.

Never forget where you were and who you were with when Hart picked off that final pass. Never forget the feeling you had on Easter’s eve when that clock hit all zeroes.

Never forget the 2016 Villanova Wildcats because just like Arcidiacono said, “This team isn’t done yet.”