Jenkins, Arcidiacono Create National Championship To Remember

Villanova National Champs

After Saturday’s Final Four games left a lot to be desired, with Oklahoma failing to produce and Syracuse being clearly outmatched, there was a lot of pressure on Monday night’s National Championship to put on a show; it did. UNC Senior Marcus Paige put on a performance in the final three minutes that was worthy of talking about for years to come. After three minutes of brilliance however, Paige’s one shining moment slipped through his hands in a matter of four seconds. Instead, it was Kris Jenkins, and the Villanova Wildcats, who cemented themselves in NCAA history.

You have probably seen the clip 500 times already: 4.7 second left, Villanova in-bounding the ball under their basket. Senior Ryan Arcidiacono, who had done nothing but make plays all tournament, took the ball up the floor, and made one more play to seal his legacy. Arcidiacono crossed half court, drew two defenders, and dished back to his teammate Jenkins, who drilled a three with no time left to give the Wildcats their first championship since 1985.

Jenkins, who now will forever be mentioned in the same breath as guys like Christian Laettner and Lorenzo Charles, has always had the clutch factor. One big reason why is his overwhelming confidence. “I think every shot’s going in,” he told ESPN.com. This one was no different.

It was only fitting that the shot used to drive a dagger through the heart of Tarheel fans was a three. Villanova set a school record this tournament for three-point field goal percentage in a game when they shot 67% from behind the arc against Miami; Jenkins led all shooters, tallying 21 points and shooting 80% from the field. The ‘Cats also had the highest team shooting percentage in a NCAA tournament in the past 50 years.

Not to be overlooked though, was the play made by Villanova’s leader. Having already scored 16 points on a cool six of nine shooting, all eyes were on Arch to take the final shot of regulation. The script was set: senior leader, averaging 19 points per game in the tournament, ball in his hands to take the final shot and ride off into the sunset. Instead, he did what he has done all tournament, not force the issue, and make the right play at the right time. It was a play they practice everyday, executed to perfection.

Ryan Arcidiacono showing off at Hoop Group Elite Camp as a junior in high school

Ryan Arcidiacono showing off at Hoop Group Elite Camp as a junior in high school

Five years ago, Arcidiacono sat at the Providence Jam Fest, just a high school point guard committed to Villanova University. He was eager to add to the school’s winning tradition and join their list of great point guards. “It’s just a great fit for me, the guard play and the tradition of Randy Foye, Kyle Lowry, Mike Nardi….I’m just hoping to bring a winning attitude and help the team win as many games as possible.”

Villanova has won 117 games in the last four seasons, three regular season Big East Championships, one Big East Tournament Title, and one National Championship. Mission accomplished.

Fast Facts:
-12 of the 14 players on Villanova’s roster are Hoop Group alumni. They accounted for 73 of the 77 Wildcat points.
-Final Four MOP Ryan Arcidiacano was a Hoop Group Elite attendee and Hoop Group Jam Fest champion.
-Senior center Daniel Ochefu was an MOP of Hoop Group Elite Camp
Josh Hart was the MVP of the Underclassmen Game at Elite Camp in 2011
Phil Booth, who led Villanova with 20 points last night, was a Southern Jam Fest participant with Team Takeover
-Mr. Big Shot, Kris Jenkins, made his mark early at both Hoop Group Elite Camp and the Pittsburgh Jam Fest
-Asssitant coaches Ashley Howard, Kyle Neptune and Student-Athlete Development coach Mike Nardi are all Hoop Group alumni. Howard was a full-time employee, while Neptune and Nardi worked and attended camp respectively.
-Lastly, head coach Jay Wright instructed at both Pocono and Eastern Invitational, now Hoop Group Skills and Hoop Group Elite Camp. He is also a very active recruiter at Hoop Group events throughout the year.

Jay Wright instructing at Eastern Invitational Camp, now Hoop Group Elite. Coach Wright has also spoken at Pocono Invitational, now Hoop Group Skills.

Jay Wright instructing at Eastern Invitational Camp, now Hoop Group Elite. Coach Wright has also spoken at Pocono Invitational, now Hoop Group Skills.

Congratulations to the Villanova Wildcats. The 2016 NCAA National Champions!

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