That’s what happens when your live podcast slash Flyers game watch turns into a celebration of sport (Flyers notwithstanding) as the Sixers dismantle Mallory Edens’ team and the Phillies walk it off in FUN fashion as you sip Bulleit bourbon and muddled fruit drinks all night.*
*Bulleit is about as run-of-the-mill bourbon as you can get, but it makes a fine sipper on the rocks or with a mixer, even if it doesn’t compare to the Elijah Craig barrel picks and Jefferson’s that frequent my Glencairns.
Anyway, imagine shaking that off and waking up to a headline that the Knicks (LOL!) are targeting Jay Wright. Bleh.
Jay’s not going anywhere, certainly not to the Knicks.
This article gets written every year, with a struggling NBA team leaking Jay’s handsome name to the media to get some attention and throw a feeler his way. That’s not to be confused with the annual column version that’s written by some old hardened media type who knows of no other motivating force in coaching than money. Bob Ford already wrote that one for 2018, when he laughably, and fully baselessly, speculated that Jay could leave for the NBA or, even more ludicrously, another university. Yeah, Jay Wright has turned Villanova into the premier team in college basketball and has built a program in his likeness, one which has enabled him to construct a practice facility and renovate the home arena, but he’s going to jet to a better school, like the ones he trounces every year in the tournament. Good take, Bob.
Fact is, Jay has admitted to being interested in an NBA job, so the notion that he would take one isn’t crazy. But that doesn’t mean he will. Here’s what he told The Athletic, presumably behind a paywall but presented to you for free here:
“The NBA does intrigue me,” Wright told The Athletic. “That challenge is appealing, but it’s not worth giving up working with these guys. The whole thing is, to take a new challenge you have to give up what you have. I don’t want to give up what I have. Would I like to coach in the NBA? Yes. But I have to give this up in order to do that, and I don’t see that happening.”
And there it is. Besides being successful, ridiculously good-looking, and winning, Jay has so much control where he’s at. He’s the most powerful person ever at Villanova. No one tells him what to do. He gets to run the program his way, and it’s working. You give that up in the NBA, where you have multiple bosses and a more urgent expectation to win, never mind that pros would never put up with Jay’s curfews, cell phone lockdowns, and thought-policing the way hungry and humble college kids, hand-selected by Jay, do.
So, the offer would have to be perfect.
Before the Sixers finished the season on a tear and solidified Brett Brown’s job for their next two championships, one could argue that the Sixers job could have presented just that scenario. They are young, play a wide open, three-point system familiar to Jay, and are run by two Villanova guys (Scott O’Neil and Chris Heck) and the Colangelos, one of whom (Jerry) has deep ties to USA Basketball, for which Jay has been a coach, and was sitting behind Villanova’s bench during the National Championship. That would’ve been the team. But not now– it’s Brown’s job.
The Lakers? Maybe. Jay would look the part and, I suspect, be intoxicated by the Hollywood thing.
The Knicks? No. That organization is a mess, and regardless of how much respect Jay has for the team, arena and city, leaving his gig at Villanova to go to that coach-killer would be a very poor decision. And while this is going on, Jay is in Rome meeting with the Pope:
Those who know Jay Wright believe he'll stay at Villanova. (He's apparently in Rome and will have an audience with Pope Francis. The Knicks can offer an audience with JD & The Straight Shot. So there's that.)
— Frank Isola (@TheFrankIsola) April 12, 2018
Jay will likely stay at Villanova, find other ways to supplement his relatively low salary with camps, speaking gigs and endorsements, and become one of the most famous basketball coaches of all-time by cementing Villanova as a national powerhouse. And how might he scratch that pro itch? By coaching the men’s olympic team after Coach K steps town. That’s my bet. But what do I know?
He’s not coaching the Knicks.