Hall of Fame coach keeps Villanova in title hunt


VILLANOVA, Pa. (AP) — Jay and Patty Wright held hands as they weaved their way all around the Madison Sq. Backyard court docket, trying —- if only for a 2nd or two — to thank the crowd that stuck all over soon after the Major East Event title video game until eventually ushers blocked anybody from approaching the pair.

For the students, the band, the coach flashed the “V” as he does following a victory. The former Villanova players get a rapid wave or a hug. No 1 who needs a instant with the coach is left unrecognized amid the hoopla and Kool and The Gang blaring more than the seem system.

“You go to the very first spherical of the NCAA Event, it is not like this,” Wright mentioned about the New York championship scene. “And you’re not in this arena. And you are not in New York City. This is a significant jolt. This is large time. And we all know it and we really feel it.”

Now with that social gathering around, the trick is keeping away from the comedown as the 2nd-seeded Wildcats (26-7) head to Pittsburgh for the NCAA Event opener Friday towards No. 15 Delaware.

“When you go by means of that experience at Madison Sq. Yard, and you’re in that enjoyment, and then you appear down from that and men and women are hyping you up, you have received to get you refocused,” Wright mentioned. “It issues me. It is something we have completed prior to.”

Yes, they have.

Wright has been as masterful at staying away from the upsets in new yrs in the NCAA Event as he is schmoozing donors and supporters. He can refocus in a snap – with two national national titles considering the fact that 2016 to clearly show for it.

This time he’ll try to do it from a neighbor just 43 miles different the colleges. But the gap in budgets, expertise and national prominence concerning the basketball applications is wider than their seeding: Villanova is 15- towards the Blue Hens (22-12).

That doesn’t necessarily mean Villanova is hunting previous Delaware.

Even though the Wildcats are on roll, Wright’s method stopped remaining measured in Big East titles and match appearances years back, at least due to the fact he received the first of two nationwide championships in 2016 (2018, the other).

Wright preached caution with his Wildcats.

He pointed out the 2015 postseason when the Wildcats romped previous Xavier in the convention event final, earned a No. 1 seed and thumped Lafayette, only to get upset by NC Condition in the next round.

And there was pressure that period: President Barack Obama experienced picked Villanova to access the NCAA Event championship recreation. At that issue, Villanova had not arrived at the second weekend underneath Wright considering that 2009′s Ultimate Four run.

Acquire a glimpse about the Pavilion or throughout the road at Villanova’s follow facility, and it’s very clear the Wildcats have figured out some classes above that span. They have so a lot crystal beneath the glass it seems to be like Tiffany’s. There are two countrywide championship banners in the rafters, and the common dominator by way of the buzzer-beating triumphs and breezy blowouts in the championship runs is the 60-calendar year-aged Wright.

“He’s a stylish person and a definitely great coach,” former UConn coach Jim Calhoun explained at MSG. “Even though he thinks he looks like a motion picture star, he’s basically a serious nerd. He’s a film guy. I was hardly ever a movie man.”

Wright’s wardrobe may well really be the only genuine alter by way of the seasons. Once regarded as the GQ Mentor, Wright gave up satisfies as the pandemic turned sideline attire into a permanent everyday Friday.

The dresses moved off-rack as Wright held racking up milestones:

— He achieved 25 or much more victories for the 10th time in his 22 seasons.

— The Wildcats have gained a regular period or postseason meeting championship in every single of the nine seasons due to the fact the Large East reconfigured in 2013.

— It is the eighth time the Wildcats are a No. 1 or No. 2 seed below Wright.

— His 516 victories at Villanova (638-231 all round at Villanova and Hofstra) are the most in the program and gained him an induction into the Naismith Basketball Corridor of Fame. Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski is the only active mentor with far more countrywide titles (5) than Wright

Krzyzewski is the NCAA profession leader in wins. The mentor at No. 2 is Philadelphia’s personal Herb Magee, who retired this thirty day period with 1,144 victories above a career used at Division II Thomas Jefferson. Also a Corridor of Fame coach, the 80-yr-aged Magee reported Wright stands amongst the all-time greats.

“I feel 1 of the ideal coaches that ever coached is Jay Wright,” Magee reported. “It’s his model of play and what he does to acquire online games. It’s straightforward points like breaking stress or applying pressure. Final-next things. He’s as organized and as very good a basketball coach as any one I’ve ever noticed.”

As soon as a college that only made the occasional player to the NBA, Wright’s tenure has provided Mikal Bridges, Kyle Lowry, Jalen Brunson and Saddiq Bey.

“He’s just a great human being that you want to be close to, that you want to find out from,” reported previous Wildcat Kris Jenkins stated. “That your mother and father want you certainly to be all over. He actually, really cares about each participant and I consider it is quick to engage in for a mentor when he feels that way about you.”

Wright and the Wildcats are wanting to minimize down extra championship nets.

The brackets are out this 7 days, and so, at Villanova, is a ladder. Just in scenario.


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