Wooga Poplar commits to Villanova

Wooga Poplar commits to Villanova

One of the best players left in the transfer portal came off the board Wednesday when ex-Miami guard Wooga Poplar committed to Villanova.

The Philadelphia product returns home after starting 65 of 100 games for the Hurricanes in three seasons.

As a four-star prospect coming out of high school, Poplar arrived in Coral Gables in 2021. He played in 34 games as a true freshman, logging 8.6 minutes per contest. On a team that advanced to the Elite Eight, Poplar averaged 2.3 points and 1.4 rebounds per game.

In four games during the 2022 NCAA Tournament, Poplar played 30 total minutes, contributing two points, eight rebounds, one steal and two assists compared to one turnover. He made just 1-of-6 field-goal attempts and missed all three of his launches from 3-point territory.

As a sophomore in 2022-23, Poplar started 36 of 37 games and played 23.6 minutes per contest. He averaged 8.4 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.1 steals per game. Poplar made 47.0 percent of his FGAs, 37.5 percent of his 3-pointers and 86.7 percent of his free throws.

Miami advanced to the Final Four before losing to eventual national champion, UConn. In the Hurricanes’ 88-81 win over second-seeded Texas in the Elite Eight of the 2023 NCAA Tournament, Poplar played 33 minutes and produced 16 points, six rebounds, two steals and four assists without a turnover. He drained 6-of-7 FGAs, buried his lone 3-pointer and made 3-of-4 free throws.

Poplar was also in double figures with 15 points in a 63-56 come-from-behind win over Drake in the first round, and he scored 11 points in an 89-75 Sweet 16 victory over top-seeded Houston.

But Miami’s 2023-24 campaign was a nightmare. The ‘Canes finished 14th in the ACC with a 15-17 overall record, prompting Poplar and other veterans to hit the portal.

Poplar started all 29 games he played, averaging 13.1 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.1 APG. He hit 42.6 percent of his FGAs, 38.5 percent of his treys and 86.4 percent of his free throws.

The four-star transfer is one of five new players for Kyle Neptune in a 2024 recruiting class that’s ranked #30 overall, according to the 247 Sports Composite. Neptune has a pair of incoming four-star prospects from the high school ranks.

Josiah Moseley is a 6-foot-6 power forward that’s ranked as the nation’s #65 overall prospect and the #1 player out of the state of Texas. Matthew Hodge is another power forward, a 6-foot-8 New Jersey product, who is ranked by the 247 Sports Composite as the #74 overall prospect in the country.

Tyler Perkins, a combo guard that’s a transfer from Penn, and three-star center Malcolm Thomas, round out the class.

This is a crucial third season for the 39-year-old Neptune, who took over for Jay Wright after the 2021-22 season. He had been Fordham’s head coach for one season, posting a 16-16 overall record, after serving on Wright’s staff at ‘Nova from 2013-21.

In his first two seasons at the helm, Neptune has led the Wildcats to a 51-49 overall record and a 20-20 mark in Big East play. Both of his teams made the NIT and were eliminated in the opening round.

Therefore, it’s safe to say that Neptune’s seat is warming up in The City of Brotherly Love.

FanDuel has the Wildcats listed with 120/1 odds to win the 2025 NCAA Tournament.