Standing around inside the Pavilion waiting for one more celebration of Villanova's national championship to start, Josh Hart pondered whether the whirlwind that has been the last 16 days for himself and his teammates has allowed him to fully absorb what had happened.
"It's sunk in for the most part," said Hart, who was wearing a green bow tie. "Today I had to be somewhere by 5 and went in my room to grab something and I was just thinking, 'Man, we're national champions.' This doesn't happen every year.
"It's crazy, but . . . it's crazy. That's all I can say."
Villanova's NCAA champions were honored at its annual awards banquet Wednesday night, although coach Jay Wright wanted to make sure "that we celebrate Villanova's tradition" as well.
But after being feted on campus after their return from Houston, at a Center City parade and a City Hall rally, at games involving the Flyers, 76ers and Phillies (on consecutive days), with their Big Five colleagues inside the Palestra, at the New York Stock Exchange and then Wednesday night, the Wildcats have to gradually move their focus to the future, their coach said.
"We talked today about how everyone else is on to next season," Wright said, "and we're still celebrating last season, and we've got to be able to do both because we're starting our workouts for next year."
While the attention to the players continues, the guys coming back "have to ramp that down," the coach said, while players going on to NBA tryouts have to focus on their training.
Seniors Ryan Arcidiacono and Daniel Ochefu are working out on their own until graduation next month, then will scatter for more intense training to prepare for NBA tryouts. Juniors Hart and Kris Jenkins, who sank the winning shot in the championship game, are preparing to be evaluated by league scouts while awaiting word on whether they will be invited to the NBA combine.
Hart is working out with associate head coach Baker Dunleavy. He's also dealing with well-wishers who want him to stay for his senior year, as depicted by the chants of "one more year" that rained upon him Wednesday night.
"I could be chilling and I'll get a notification from Twitter with someone saying 'one more year' or something like that," Hart said. "I would like to give a definitive answer. But I still have to see how the process is."
Another important issue for Wright is recruiting, in particular working on the Class of 2017. He said that while he and his staff are "behind in what we normally do," he finds those players to whom he has reached out have been more receptive.
"I can sense a little bit more welcoming response from recruits, definitely," he said. "It's very nice. Maybe we haven't had as many contacts, but our contacts are more impactful so we're kind of balancing that."
It was announced at the banquet that Villanova alumnus and former board member William B. Finneran had given a $22.6 million gift, the largest ever given for athletics at the university. A university statement said the money will be used "for the advancement of its strategic plan for a renovation of the Pavilion as well as programmatic support for its men's basketball program." Finneran previously endowed the Wildcats' men's basketball head coaching position.