SOUTHAMPTON – Council Rock South senior Josh Kim may have given Patriot League rivals Bucknell and the U.S. Military Academy a glance but he chose Villanova for the quality education the university offers.
“I picked Villanova because not only can I play for a Division I program in the Big East, but I can also get an amazing education,” said Kim.
Last year, Kim batted .328, an offensive showing that included a .411 on-base percentage and a .469 slugging percentage.
“Baseball helped me get into a school like Villanova so I’m thankful for that,” stated Kim.
Josh joins a line of student-athletes from Bucks County that have chosen to play for the Wildcats including Class of 2016 CR South graduate Dominique Franco (Track & Field) and 2016 Neshaminy grad Christen Pennington (Field Hockey).
While Langhorne’s own Ryan Arcidiacono – who helped set up the buzzer-beating 3-point shot heard round the world by Kris Jenkins in last year’s March Madness NCAA championship win over North Carolina – has departed the Main Line campus, the ‘Cats recently signed Archbishop Wood senior Collin Gillespie, a point guard from Warminster who averaged 22 points, 5.7 rebounds, 5.2 assists, and 2.1 steals, helping the Vikings to their first ever Philadelphia Catholic League and PIAA Class 5A championships.
“Villanova is a Philly school so kids from this area want to go there,” stated Kim. “One of the things I like about it is I can go there and still root for the (Philadelphia) Eagles.”
Josh verbally committed to Villanova last August and signed an NCAA Letter of Intent last November. After Wildcat scouts spotted Kim playing for Gallagher Team Mizuno 17U in a mid-summer tournament that took place in Georgia, he says he received a phone call from VU Baseball Coach Adam White.
“I went on a visit there last summer and I just fell in love with the place,” explained Kim. “Everything Villanova has to offer is exactly what I need, athletically and academically.
“I was looking for a place where I could major in finance and Villanova has the number one-ranked business school in the country.
“That’s what really attracted me.”
Ironically, two years ago, Villanova was exactly where Kim had decided he did not want to play. As a high school freshman, Josh played on the Wildcats’ home field on Germantown Pike and Walton Road in Plymouth Township and despised it. Back then, the infield turf was bluegrass and the outfield was Pennsylvania rye.
“It was just bad hops everywhere and it was uneven,” said Kim. “I hated it.”
Both the infield and outfield have since been replaced with artificial turf. But even before administrators at Villanova baseball made the decision to switch to artificial turf, Josh decided he wanted to play for the Wildcats.
“I realized that going to college is more than just about baseball,” he said. “I realized all the things that ‘Nova has to offer.”
Though some high school playoffs have taken place on the field, Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth is a college stadium, for sure. It’s 320 feet to the outfield fence down the baselines, 375 down the power alleys and 400 to straightaway center field.
Last season, the Wildcats went 20-32 overall, 5-13 in the Big East, finishing the year in sixth place in the conference. With Kim in the lineup, Villanova will surely improve upon those numbers.
TOP PHOTO: Council Rock South senior infielder Josh Kim (17), left, applies pickoff tag to North’s Nolan Hartwell (13) in recent baseball matchup between the schools. Kim recently committed to Big East rival Villanova University. (John Gleeson – 21st-Century Media)