Josh Hart wishes you wouldn’t hold it against him that he spent four years at Villanova.
Because while one-and-dones are poised to dominate Thursday’s NBA Draft, Hart will gladly explain why the best basketball players available—the ones who understand the game the best, posses invaluable experience, and can possibly contribute to the team that drafts them in ways a 19-year-old can’t—just might be the guys who stayed in school three extra years.
“There’s always this knock on four-year players that they don’t have potential,” Hart says. “If you talk about potential, you obviously have to go with Lonzo [Ball] or Markelle [Fultz]. But if you talk about basketball players, that's when the four-year guys are the best basketball players.”
The projected second-round selection, who won a national championship with the Wildcats back in 2016, dropped by the Complex offices recently to discuss why he decided to come back to school for his senior season, why he doesn’t look at mock drafts, whether or not he would have visited President Trump in the White House had Villanova repeated, and why he thinks he’s the best basketball player in the draft.
(This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.)
Did you get any great pieces of advice from family, friends, people at Villanova, your reps, about what the lead up to the draft will be like?
Not really. I went through it last year testing the water. I got the gist of it. I just kind of jumped in head first and I knew what to expect.
Did you make the right decision coming back to school?
Definitely. I improved in so many different aspects; decision-making, shooting wise. Off the court, I really matured and that really helped me.
"I always have a different answer because the draft now is about potential and the freak athletes. It’s not about who is the best basketball player. If it was about the best basketball player, this draft would be opposite."
Did you do the NBA Combine last year?
So how different was the combine experience this year compared to last year?
The exact same. The exact same. Except the medical was terrible. They had me do like four MRIs, like eight to ten X-rays, then a whole bunch of other stuff.
We had De’Aaron Fox in and I had asked him if he had any crazy questions asked of him like Frank Mason, who was asked how he wants to die. Did you get any crazy questions? De’Aaron was asked if he came to a yellow light would he stop or go through.
I had that one.
And if a waiter brought out chips but you ordered French fries, would you say something?
Yeah, I had that one.
Did you hear any stories from the other guys about any crazy questions?
Nah. Just the story about how would you like to die. I heard that came from a couple of teams. I’m glad I didn’t have to answer that. I wouldn’t even know how to answer that one. I would have been shocked. Like this is really what you guys are asking?
What’s draft day going to be like for you?
I think I might just rent something out in Philly and have my family and my friends and my team all them come. There’s so many people that deserve to share that moment with me that I don’t want to cheat anyone out of that moment.
Do you have a sense of where you fit in this draft or where you may end up?
Not really. There are still some question marks and hopefully I can get an answer sooner rather than later of where I’m going.
Do you check out the mock drafts?
But your friends, your family probably check them out. They don’t tell you where you’re slotted?
I tell them not to tell me about them. Because at the end of the day, the guys that are right aren’t making any decisions. It’s just talk. The top five, top ten doesn’t really take much analysis. I don’t pay too much attention to it because I’ve always felt I’m undervalued.
What kind of player are you going to be in the NBA?
Somebody who brings it both ends of the court. Like a Danny Green or a Courtney Lee.
So are you a “3 and D” guy?
I don’t want to label myself that because I feel I bring so much more to the table than just sitting in the corner waiting to get the ball. I can create and do things off the dribble and be a playmaker. But if a team drafts me and tells me I’m a 3 and D guy, then that’s what I’ll be.
What was the White House visit like?
It was cool. President Obama was very down to earth. Right when he came in, there was a gasp, like, "Damn, there’s the president." He told a joke right off the bat, broke the ice, everyone started laughing and was cool after that. It was kind of a surreal moment because that was the most powerful person in the world. You’re kind of in awe and then he starts telling jokes.
If you guys repeated how do you think you would have handled a potential White House visit to President Trump? Would that have been a problem?
I think for a couple of guys. There are definitely some guys that would have went, and some guys coach would like them to go but they wouldn’t go. As one of the captains, if that did happen that would be a big conversation. We would have it more so as a team. That would be the one time in my four years where the team would be divided.
Who is the coolest person you got congratulated from after the national championship?
KD. He’s from the DMV area. When I got that, I was feeling myself for a little bit. That was the coolest one.
Who deserves to be the No. 1 pick in the draft?
I always have a different answer because the draft now is about potential and the freak athletes. It’s not about who is the best basketball player. If it was about the best basketball player, this draft would be opposite. There’s always this knock on four-year players that they don’t have potential. If you talk about potential, you obviously have to go with Lonzo or Markelle. But if you talk about basketball players, that's when the four-year guys are the best basketball players.
So who’s the best basketball player in this draft?
I’m the best basketball player in this draft.