Josh Hart, fresh from his first real NBA experience last spring, provided Jay Wright with the good news that he would be returning for his senior season at Villanova. After attending the scouting combine in Chicago, Hart also informed his coach that he had discovered the secret to his future success in the NBA. He explained that he was going to become a "3-and-D player."

Wright told the Hart story in a March GQ Magazine article and his reaction to his star player's revelation was priceless.

"A 3-and-D guy, what's that?" Wright asked Hart.

"All I've got to do is hit threes and play defense and I'll play in the NBA," Hart answered.

Wright's forceful and unfriendly reply: "I told him that sounded like some bull an agent told him, someone looking to make money off him. I don't want you coming out of here just hitting threes and playing defense. I kicked him out of my office. I was sure it was the last thing the kid wanted to hear."

This is relevant now because it is a year later and Hart is less than a week away from being drafted into the NBA.  After going through a workout with five other draft hopefuls at the 76ers practice facility in Camden on Thursday morning, Hart admitted to being anxious about Thursday's draft. He is expected to go anywhere from the late first round to the early second round, but what he becomes in the NBA is more likely to be a tribute to his ability as a complete basketball player rather than a guy who can simply shoot three-pointers and play defense.

"I was actually shocked he even said it because he's so bright," Wright said by telephone a few hours after watching Hart and Villanova's Darryl Reynolds at the Sixers workout. "A lot of times the goal for a guy is to get into the NBA, and that's what some of the people talking to him told him he needed to do last year. I wanted to get that out of his head because he is a lot more than that and I think he showed that his senior year.

"He realized in order to be a great player and a complete player in the NBA that he was going to have to show that in college first and he did that. He was arguably one of the best players in the college game last season."

Hart was not at the top of the basketball class among 2013 high school graduates, but the native of Silver Spring, Md., far exceeded expectations at Villanova, earning the titles of Big East player of the year and first-team all-American as a senior.

"I don't think anybody knew who I was coming out of high school, so I think I exceeded that expectation from that standpoint," Hart said.

Can he do it again at the professional level?

"I really think he can," Wright said. "I think he was the classic example of someone fulfilling their potential. Each year, basketball people looked at him and said, 'Well, if he improves his shooting; if he improves his decision-making; if he improves his ball handling,' and each year he improved each thing and became a complete player."

Hart is still working at becoming something more but seems most fixated on improving his shot. He said he has altered his jumper some this spring in an effort to be more fluid and add some range. Wright supports the decision, but he does not agree with it.

"I didn't think he needed to change his shot, but once they leave you and you're done coaching them, you have to let them trust their own decisions and just support what they do," Wright said. "But I think he's a very good shooter and he'll get better.

"He's going to have more time to shoot every day. He doesn't have to go to class anymore. I think he'll get better at the pick-and-roll aspect of the game. He's a great finisher at the rim, a great defensive player, he's tough as hell and his intelligence will help him figure out the NBA game the same way he figured out the college game."

It remains to be seen where that will happen. The Sixers will not take him with the third overall pick, but they might if he slips to one of their four second-round selections. Wright watched Tuesday's workout with Sixers coach Brett Brown and general manager Bryan Colangelo. Hart, by his own admission, was not thrilled with what he had done.

"I didn't shoot the ball too well today, but that comes with the territory," Hart said. "Changing your shot, you go through growing pains and today was a little bit of a growing pain. Even if you miss shots, you show that your jump shot is different, more fluid and smoother."

Maybe Hart should listen to Wright and revert to his college shooting form. His college coach has never steered him wrong before.

bbrookover@phillynews.com

@brookob