Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Wright Man

Everyone knows what Jay Wright has done for Villanova. He walked onto the Main Line with a program in disarray—suspensions, sanctions and the like. But it didn't take long for the Council Rock High School grad to turn things around.

He brought in one of the most talented recruiting classes in the history of the Big 5, with Curtis Sumpter, Randy Foye, Allan Ray and Jason Fraser headlining, and watched them grow into a national power. Now Villanova is back on the map, a perennial power in college basketball with big-time recruits like Scottie Reynolds calling Nova home. Since leaving Hofstra, he amassed a 148-83 record heading into the season at Villanova with an overall coaching record of 270-168.

Clearly, the man can coach. He's bright, he's endearing and man can he recruit. Strictly from a basketball standpoint, Jay Wright is a coach any school, any team would be privileged to have.

But as impressive as Wright has been as a coach, he's just as impressive as a man. This truly struck me earlier this week when he was being interviewed on "Daily News Live."

Recently, junior forward/center Casiem Drummond expressed his desire to transfer from Villanova, which the university granted, to go somewhere that has some more playing time for him. With the emergence of Dante Cunningham and some talented underclassmen shining, Drummond's minutes diminished this year.

Well, on "DNL," Wright was asked about Drummond, and his response was just phenomenal. He did nothing to downplay Casiem at all. He discussed how he is part of the Villanova family, a great guy, and that he will do anything he can to help Casiem find the proper fit. He wants Casiem to go somewhere where he can play a lot right away. He talks with him regularly and did nothing but talk up the kid.

This might not sound like much, but from what I've seen, most coaches try to change the subject. They will typically speak favorably about the player, but then try quickly to move on to something else. Wright embraced it and used the question, the topic, to support Casiem, explain to the world how he understood his frustrations and would do whatever it takes to make Casiem feel comfortable in a new place. He didn't skirt the issue at all, and he spent a lengthy amount of time keeping the conversation alive. It was the epitome of class, and I just wanted to applaud him for that.

In a culture that often breeds coaches and players with large egos who tend to lose sight of others and simply look out for number one, it's great to have a coach like Jay Wright around—a man who can coach with the best of them, and not lose his touch with reality in the process.

1 comment:

  1. you're right on with this post, and im not just saying that because of my allegience to 'Nova. when i met him last year i got exactly the same impression.