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May 24, 2016

Josh Hart returning to 'Nova, cementing defending champs as preseason top-five team

Judging from his performances the NBA Combine and workout with the Sixers last week, we had a sneaking suspicion that Josh Hart would be coming back to Villanova for his senior season after going through all of his scheduled workouts.

And that is precisely what happened, as the 6’6” swingman made it official on Twitter late Tuesday night, one day before the deadline to withdraw from the 2016 NBA Draft. Hart tested the waters, but he’s coming back to the Main Line to defend the national title:

“I enjoyed the process and learned a lot,” Hart said in a press release. “It was definitely worthwhile. I look forward to graduating next year and coming back to play with my teammates.”

“Josh Hart did a great job in this process,” Villanova head coach Jay Wright added. “I’m really proud of the way that he showed himself. I am really happy for him that he is returning to play with his classmates and that he will graduate on time.”

And here is the approximate reaction of every 'Nova fan after hearing the news:

Hart will take over the role as the Wildcats’ senior leader from Ryan Arcidiacono, and you should see him on many preseason first and second team All-American lists. As a junior, he led the national champs in scoring with over 15 points per game on 51 percent shooting from the field. Hart also added 6.8 rebounds per game and strong perimeter defense.

Hart saved his best for the bright lights of the Final Four, scoring 23 points on 10-12 shooting in the blowout win over Oklahoma in the national semifinal:

Villanova will likely be ranked no worse than third in the 2016-17 preseason polls. After getting Kris Jenkins back in the fold, Jay Wright also just saw his best player return to school.

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann