Villanova’s Chris Arcidiacono is chasing his own March Madness legacy

NEW ORLEANS — Ryan Arcidiacono had that one glowing moment in the blink of an eye as he passed the ball to Kris Jenkins for the eternal shot that gave Jay Wright and Villanova their national championship against North Carolina in 2016 — and now little brother Chris will be trying on Saturday night in the Final Four semifinals against Kansas to help Wright win his third.

Chris Arcidiacono was at NRG Stadium in Houston with his parents, Joe and Patti, on this unforgettable night.

“I remember it was a crazy shot after Marcus Paige hit the 3 pointer to level the game and it seemed like we were going into overtime and I just remember nobody Kris Jenkins on the whole floor has been guarded and ryan just turned it back and bang! I just remember the confetti and all that stuff just flew out when it went in,” Chris told The Post.

On Saturday night, Joe and Patti will be watching Chris. And Ryan, who plays for the Knicks Saturday at 1 p.m. before a game Sunday in Orlando, will no doubt find a way to watch his former AAU and Neshaminy (Pa.) high school water boy.

“It will be a proud Big Brother moment when I see him out there representing our family and Villanova at the highest level,” Ryan said via text message.

Ryan, a 6-foot-3 point guard, and Chris, a 6-5 point guard, are six years apart.

“Chris and I have a great relationship and have had since he was a kid,” Ryan said. “Probably that he was my biggest supporter growing up and looking up to me. I tried to give him a good example of what hard work and dedication can achieve in basketball.”

Chris Arcidiacono (right) and brother Ryan
Chris Arcidiacono (right) and brother Ryan after Villanova won the 2022 Big East title.
Courtesy of Patti Arcidiacono

Ryan proudly mentioned Chris’ state-record 51 points for Neshaminy against Lower Merion to earn promotion to the 2018 Pennsylvania Elite Eight.

“I was FaceTiming my little sister trying to see it after I heard he was having a big game,” Ryan said.

“Ryan grew up early and often, so he was really big at a young age,” Joe told the Post. “Chris was a total late bloomer, and as such he was less recruiting, but he had more monster play that I’ve seen from him than I’ve seen from Ryan.”

Joe graduated from Villanova in 1981. He was an offensive lineman. He says he never forced school on his sons. Ryan, the fourth of six children, chose Villanova over Florida. Chris and twin Courtney are the last two. “I’ve always wanted to come here,” said Chris.

Ryan was a co-winner of Big East Player of the Year as a junior and Most Outstanding Player of the 2016 Final Four.

Chris Arcidiacono poses with (lr) twin sister Courtney, mother Patti and father Joe.
Chris Arcidiacono poses with (lr) twin sister Courtney, mother Patti and father Joe.
Arcidiacono family photo

“In terms of her personality, Chris is probably naturally a little quieter than Ryan,” Joe said. “But he’s a great, great kid. Both boys were three sports when they were growing up. He and I spent a lot of time together on the golf course and just had fun together.”

As a junior, Chris had to bide his time behind Collin Gillespie.

“I would like to say that we play in similar styles,” said Chris. “We just try to be the toughest players on the floor. I think Ryan plays more with the ball than offside.”

You play Villanova basketball or you don’t play. The brothers now train together in the summer.

“I would say I’m a bit more relaxed compared to Ryan,” Chris said. “But we’re the same on the basketball court, we’re both very lively and we don’t want to lose.”

Chris is asked to play a bigger role against Kansas if Justin Moore (Achilles) is out.

“It’s not just about me, the whole team has to do something,” said Chris. “It’s going to take a little bit of everyone to lift what we’re missing without having Justin.”

“We love him very much and feel terrible for him, but we know he has our back and we will always have his back.”

Chris Arcidiacono (4) guards Michigan's Hunter Dickinson
Chris Arcidiacono (4) guards Michigan’s Hunter Dickinson during the Sweet 16.

Joe and Patti flew into the Big Easy on Wednesday night.

“It’s really surreal that we’re going through this again,” Joe said. “Obviously Ryan’s status, if you will, or his position on the team was a little different, but Chris is growing as a player and he’ll do what he needs to do and hopefully he’ll play well when challenged. The range of emotions is just incredibly excited and happy for him to follow his brother.”

Chris was 15 when his big brother helped Wright and Villanova get the monkey off their back and became the last team standing.

“It was really incredible because a lot of people have amassed a little bit of Villanova with their tournament over the past few years,” said Chris, “but Ryan and the team just pushed through and could just be the best they could be at the end of the.” year, and that led them to the national championship that year.

Joe: “It’s something that’s reserved for UCLA and Duke and all the complete blue bloods and for that to happen was just an incredible moment for us as a family and of course for Ryan.”

Chris recalled meeting Ryan at the team hotel after the 2016 national championship win.

“It was just a moment none of us will ever forget,” Chris said.

Now he’s chasing his own One Shining Moment. Villanova’s Chris Arcidiacono is chasing his own March Madness legacy


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