An early entry candidate for the 2003 NBA Draft. Originally committed to attend Illinois. Spent three academic years at Blair Academy after starting high school career at Newtown High School in Queens, N.Y.
High School Career Highlights: Named to USA Today High School Boys Basketball All-USA Second Team. Named a 2003 McDonald’s High School All-America player and played in the McDonald’s High School All-America Game and the EA Sports Roundball Classic. Generally regarded as one of the top 10 high school players in the nation. Helped Blair Academy to three consecutive New Jersey Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) Championships in his three seasons there. Was a First Team All-State Prep selection by Newark Star Ledger.
2003 Postseason All-Star Games: In the McDonald’s All-America Game, registered 17 points, five rebounds and two steals to help the East grab a 122-107 victory. Hit seven of 12 shots from the field, including a couple of spectacular dunks on passes from East teammate LeBron James. In the EA Sports Roundball Classic, scored 18 points, grabbed five rebounds and dished three assists as his West team took a 120-119 victory. Hit seven of 12 shots from the field.
Senior (2002-03): Blair Academy finished 25-4 behind Villanueva and Luol Deng, a Duke recruit and the Star Ledger’s Prep Player of the Year. In the final game of the season, the New Jersey Prep championship, Blair dropped a 55-53 decision to St. Benedict’s. Blair played without Deng, who had suffered a broken foot in the semifinals. Villanueva carried the team with 21 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks in the two-point loss. For the season, Villanueva averaged 19 points and 10 rebounds. In the victory over Mercersburg that clinched Blair’s third straight MAPL championship, he contributed 16 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. In a win over Lawrenceville, posted 23 points, 12 rebounds and six assists. At the GlaxoSmithKline Holiday Invitational, poured in 26 points in a win over Nansemond River of Virginia.
Strengths: He is a very fluid runner on the court and an excellent leaper. Showed acumen for passing.
Personal: His favorite NBA player is Tracy McGrady. Favorite actor is Denzel Washington. He is the son of Roberto Villanueva and Doris Mejia. He suffers from Alopecia Areata, an autoimmune skin disease resulting in hair loss on the scalp and elsewhere in the body. The disease is actually relatively common, affecting four million Americans. It is not a life-threatening disease.