While Kentucky, Duke, Kansas and a handful of other high major programs keep reeling in five-star recruits and churning out one-and-done lottery picks, head coach Jay Wright and Villanova have taken a more steady approach, grooming three- and four-year college players into prospects with the potential to become longtime NBA contributors.
The Wildcats have made the NCAA tournament in 12 of the past 13 seasons with players such as Josh Hart, Dante Cunningham, Randy Foye and Darrun Hilliard carving out NBA roles, and Kyle Lowry taking the long route from 24th overall pick to eventual All-Star point guard on the top team in the Eastern Conference. Ryan Arcidiacono (four-year starter) is on the NBA fringe on a two-way contract with the Bulls, and even former Wildcats wing James Bell could work his way back onto the NBA radar as he develops with David Blatt's club, Darussafaka, in Turkey.
Wright plays a modern brand of basketball that features small lineups, switchy defensive schemes and an efficient offensive attack that has the team ranked first in offensive efficiency, according to Kenpom.com. If there's one NCAA coach best suited to make the NBA jump eventually, it's likely Wright. Wright has a few more potential NBA role players on this roster, headlined by rangy wing Mikal Bridges.
Here's a look at Bridges, potential national player of the year Jalen Brunson and a couple of Wildcats who could develop into future draft options: