All eyes are on on Virginia Intermont College basketball standout Josh Hart, who has just passed the 2,000-point mark in his career.
“I just play the game, I don’t know just how good the numbers are until afterwards,” said Hart, who is a senior, when asked whether or not he realized how special his performances have been. “It’s all a lot easier to see when it starts coming to an end.”
Cobra Basketball fans have watched Hart play for almost four years now. Those fans have witnessed a young man from Edgewood, Md., coming in as a role player his freshman year, grow into one of the elite players in the NAIA.
Hart’s career 2,000th point came in the Cobras’ most recent game against Truett-McConnell College. No one in a Cobra Basketball jersey has ever made the mark, which is one of the most elite stats in a four-year college basketball career. So now, it goes without saying, Hart will leave Virginia Intermont as the school’s all time leading scorer. He only had one word to describe what it feels like to reach this level of accomplishment: “great.” It was the only thing that could come to his mind after a moment of thinking.
“Josh is an incredible scorer and what makes him so hard to guard is that he can score in a variety of ways,” said VI Head Men’s Basketball Coach Chris Tolliver. “He can knock down threes, he can take you off the dribble, and he knows how to get to the free-throw line. He makes it look so easy that half the time, I don’t even realize the numbers he puts up until after the game is over. He is just a naturally gifted scorer. However, I think the most impressive thing about Josh is how dedicated he is to his career choice outside of basketball; he is pursuing a degree in Criminal Justice to work in law enforcement. He is someone I am extremely proud of and proud that he is part of our Cobra family.”
It is hard to find a starting point when talking about Hart’s performance, whether for his career or just this season. However, there is no arguing the numbers when talking about his status among his peers. His list of career accomplishments is extensive but does not include the memorable individual play he has put on this year: 51, 45 and 43 – his top three scoring performances. How significant are the numbers? The 51 points are enough to be the most scored in a game by any player at the NAIA level this year, division I or II. The 45- and 43-point games are good enough to be the fifth and seventh best individual scoring games in the country this season. Hart is the only player who can find his name three times in the nation’s top 10 scoring games this season. With numbers like those it is easy to imagine why Hart is currently ranked third in the nation in points per game.
Despite the difficulty of balancing personal goals with team goals, Hart says his overall goal is, “definitely the goal of winning a conference title. You can’t do it alone you have to focus on your teammates and team goals. Coach Timmons always told me when you do that, and you focus on winning, the rest will fall into place.”
Although things are going great for Hart both on and off the court, he is very humbled by his accomplishments. He jokes around with teammates, and they are his main focus when it comes to basketball: “I want them to think of me as a leader on and off the court. A big brother that they can depend on for anything they need.”
Athletic Director Chris Holt said recently, “Josh has always been an eligible player. It speaks to his consistency as a person to do what needs to be done. He arrived with the discipline of knowing where he wanted to be and what he wanted to do. His hard work and commitment have helped him stay on track to graduate on time. He has definitely met or exceeded expectations that we have had for him here.”
Hart’s talents and interest exceed far beyond the 84’x50’ lines of the court, as he plans to use his Criminal Justice degree and hopes to become a detective. However, first, he has his sight on trying to continue his hoops career overseas or somewhere closer to home. “I would like to stay close,” said Hart. “I think anyone would, but I will do whatever I need to keep playing.”
When student-athletes decide to continue their high school career and play a sport in college, most have a dream of making a name for themselves. Hart is no exception; after his four-year career at Virginia Intermont College, regardless of which way life takes him, it is safe to assume that this standout player from Maryland will go far.