Villanova put the finishing touches on arguably the nation's finest 2009 recruiting class yesterday when shooting guard Dominic Cheek of St. Anthony High School in Jersey City, N.J., announced his intention to play for the Wildcats.
The 6-foot-5, 170-pound Cheek, ranked third nationally at his position by ESPNU and sixth by Rivals.com, chose Villanova over Kansas. He also had considered Rutgers, Pittsburgh and Memphis before recently reducing his options to a final two.
"Villanova has been with me since Day 1, and they have been there with me during this whole process," Cheek said, according to the Newark Star-Ledger. "I told coach [Jay] Wright last week, and he's happy and thinks that I fit the program great. Loyalty was a key, and that Villanova is not too far from here, where my friends and family can see me play."
St. Anthony, led by coaching legend Bob Hurley, went undefeated last season and saw six of its players sign with Division I colleges.
"The one thing about the process is I think he realized who had put the most time in this," Hurley said, according to the Star-Ledger. "Villanova, being the closest of the schools he was down to, worked him the hardest and the longest, and I think he showed some loyalty to the people that had been there first and put the most time in."
Cheek, who has to wait until April before he can sign his national letter of intent, joins a freshman class that will include Roman Catholic point guard Maalik Wayns and two players from Montrose Christian Academy in Maryland, forwards Isaiah Armwood and Mouphtaou Yarou.
Wright cannot comment on Cheek until he receives the player's letter of intent.
Cheek and Wayns became close when they played together on USA Basketball's 18-and-under team that competed in Argentina. Wayns, who committed to Villanova after his sophomore season, added to the selling job performed by Wright and his assistants.
"I'm real excited," Wayns said. "We are close friends, and he is a real good player. I'm happy. I have been trying to convince him to come [to Villanova] for a long time, since we have been playing on U-18 together."
Cheek, Wayns and Yarou are considered top-25 recruits by most recruiting Web sites. Rivals.com had ranked Villanova's incoming class No. 3 in the country, behind North Carolina and Texas, before Cheek's announcement, so the Wildcats easily could move into first place.
"That's an excellent recruiting class," said Allen Rubin, Philadelphia regional editor of Hoop Scoop, a recruiting publication. "Wayns is probably one of the three top point guards in the country. Yarou is a top-20-25 player who can play [power forward or center].
"Cheek is outstanding. He's a player with length. He can put it on the floor and get to the basket, and he's got a good outside shot. He comes from a great program, one of the best in the country. Bob Hurley probably is the best coach in the country."
Super 'Nova Class
Here's a look at Villanova's freshman Class of 2009, one of the top five in the country.
Isaiah Armwood, F, 6-8, Montrose Christian Academy, Rockville, Md.
Dominic Cheek, G, 6-5, St. Anthony, Jersey City, N.J.
Maalik Wayns, G, 6-1, Roman Catholic, Philadelphia
Mouphtaou Yarou, F, 6-9, Montrose Christian Academy, Rockville, Md.