The 2018 Men's Basketball Champions enter the new NCAA season with a weakened roster, but not a dampened spirit. Four of Villanova's key players from their March Madness are currently playing including last year's AP Player of the Year Jalen Brunson, who now occupies a second unit role with the Dallas Mavericks. That being said, Villanova is still the favorite to win the Big East, with or without Brunson, Mikal Bridges, Omari Spellman, or Phoenix Suns' rookie Mikal Bridges.

The team's two remaining starters from the previous campaign confided with the outgoing NBA talent, and came to the conclusion: the 2018 Villanova Wildcats would not represent the program in the traditional White House visit, as is custom with sporting franchises that win major tournaments in America, making them the 2nd Philadelphia-area team to lose out on a "once in a lifetime" POTUS exchange. Trump famously rescinded the Philadelphia Eagles' after veteran players spoke out against him.

TMZ caught up with Paul Pierce, who visited the POTUS once himself as a member of the 2008 NBA champions. Mind you, his visit accounted for a meet-and-greet with then-President Barack Obama, in his first term in the oval office. Nevertheless, Paul Pierce is totally behind Villanova's decision to skip the ritual, in fact, he thinks the whole ordeal is bogus. 

"I think that's overrated," Pierce told TMZ ... "Why you gotta visit the White House? You got your trophy, you won your championship."

In canceling their trip, Villanova coach Jay Wright explained that in 2016 when they won the National Championship, the circumstances were far different under Barack Obama. "Two years ago it was the experience of a lifetime for all of us. It’s just a different time," he stated to the press.