Top-150 2022 guard Mark Armstrong announced his verbal commitment to head coach Jay Wright and Villanova on Thursday night. Armstrong, a 6’2” combo guard from South Orange, New Jersey, made his verbal commitment official on Twitter.
“It really came down to the connection I have with coach Wright and coach Nardi,” Armstrong told Dushawn London of 247Sports.com.
Armstrong, who attends St. Peter's Prep in New Jersey, is the first commitment of the 2022 class for the Wildcats. After missing out on five-star 2021 prospect Trevor Keels just a week ago, the 2021 class was completed and all attention could be moved to 2022.
It didn’t take long for Wright to secure his first commitment, as Armstrong announced on Wednesday that he would be announcing his commitment the following day.
Armstrong is ranked 130th in 247Sports Composite rankings, and listed as the 19th best combo guard. 247Sports rankings, however, have him rated much higher, at 40th in the country in the 2022 class and 7th among combo guards.
The Wildcats are known for a long list of successful guards, and Armstrong could be next on that list. The New Jersey native isn’t a pure point guard, but he is able to handle the ball and could thrive off the ball as a secondary ball handler.
“The history of guards that went there and have done well like Jalen Brunson, Ryan Arcidicano, Collin Gillespie was big for me,” Armstrong also told 247Sports.com.
Rising junior Justin Moore and rising redshirt senior Caleb Daniels could technically both be with the team in 2022-23 due to this past season not counting for eligibility purposes, however a likely outcome would be at least one of them moving on due to graduation and professional aspirations. In that event, Armstrong would slide nicely into one of their spots, as they both provide similarities to Armstrong’s game.
Both Moore and Daniels are served better as secondary ball handlers or off guards, and the same can be said for Armstrong. Additionally, Armstrong holds some of the best characteristics of Moore’s and Daniel’s game, just currently at a slightly lower level. Moore is borderline elite and certainly above average at getting to the rim and finishing. Armstrong isn't necessarily elite at that skill, but he is certainly capable of it.
On the other hand, Daniels was one of the Wildcats best shooters last season, knocking down 38.6% of his three pointers. Armstrong is also more than capable of knocking down three’s. According to highshoolsports.nj.com, Armstrong made 22 three’s in 11 games during the 2020-21 season, which was his junior year.
The Wildcats roster construction for 2022-23, Armstrong’s freshman year, is very up in the air, as it is for any college basketball team these days. But, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him make an impact off the bench in his early seasons. After a year or two of development off the bench, Armstrong is likely to project as a starter later in his career.
Armstrong is the first commit in the 2022 class, but he is not likely to be the last. As mentioned, projecting rosters this far out in the new age of college basketball is a futile exercise, but Wright and staff will likely zero in on more 2022 prospects this summer. The only two known outstanding offers in the 2022 class are to center Jalen Duren, ranked second in the class, and shooting guard Justice Williams, ranked 30th in the class. The transfer portal will also likely play a big role in the roster construction for 2022-23.