Josh Hart ’13 to Begin NBA Career with the Lakers
As the end of the first round of the 2017 NBA Draft approached, many of the country’s top college basketball players had already been selected. One of the biggest names taken was Lonzo Ball, picked second overall by the Los Angeles Lakers. However, the Lakers were not quite done for the night. With the thirtieth and final pick of the first round, the Utah Jazz selected Sidwell alum and Villanova graduate Josh Hart ‘13, who they promptly traded to the Lakers.
After his freshman year at Villanova, Hart was named to the Big East All-Rookie Team. His playing time increased during his sophomore year, and he was named Big East Sixth Man of the Year, as well as the Most Outstanding Player of the 2015 Big East Tournament.
The following year, Hart was selected first-team All-Big East and third-team All-American while leading Villanova to victory in the national championship. He returned for his senior year, during which he was first-team All-Big East, the Big East Player of the Year, and first-team All American.
Entering the draft, Hart was lauded as an incredibly competitive player with a high basketball IQ who could do a little bit of everything offensively. Although he was recognized for his tremendous defense and work ethic, there remained a few knocks on Hart.
Scouts remarked that Hart lacked truly elite explosiveness and was offensively efficient but not as dynamic with the ball in his hands as other top players. These perceived downsides, coupled with Hart being a couple of years older than prospects such as Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball, pushed Hart’s draft stock down, resulting in him being picked last in the first round.
In the NBA Summer League, Hart received sparse playing time in his first game and shot only two of eight from the field.
In the Lakers’ second game, Hart suffered a sprained right ankle, which ruled him out for the rest of Summer League competition. While his exposure to the NBA was limited by injury, Hart will look to contribute to his team once the regular season begins.
After a couple of rebuilding seasons, the Lakers bring a talented core of young players, who will all be eager to prove themselves alongside seasoned journeymen like shooting guard Corey Brewer, small forward Luol Deng and center Brook Lopez.
Hart will join rising stars Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson and Brandon Ingram, as well as fellow rookies Kyle Kuzma and Lonzo Ball, to form a talented cohort of young players for the Lakers to build around going forward.
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