19nine’s Legacy Collection dives inside the archives to bring back some college basketball classics. Like the originals, we crafted each Legacy pair of retro shorts with the materials and details to honor the original designs. It was a labor of love in our pursuit to provide an era specific keepsake that celebrates the most iconic styles in college basketball history.
Villanova entered the 1996-1997 season ranked inside the Top 10 and for good reason. The Wildcats returned a pair of senior starters in Alvin Williams and Jason Lawson. Steve Lappas also signed the #1 HS player in the country, Tim Thomas.
Thomas lived up to the hype by averaging 17 points and 6 rebounds per game helping Villanova capture a share of the BIG EAST Regular Season Championship and advance to the championship game of the BIG EAST Tournament.
That was enough to earn a #4 seed in the East Region of the NCAA Tournament where the Wildcats would lose in the 2nd round to the #5 seed Cal Bears. Thomas would end up being Villanova's first one-and-done player in program history.
"I had such a great year that coach Lappas and coach Hewitt forced me to go (pro). I was a pro guy taking a chance on going to college and I chose Nova."