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05 March 2007

Inquirer's Smith praises Jay Wright

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
3/05/2007 02:06:00 AM

Sunday's Philadelphia Inquirer ran a piece in praise of Villanova coach Jay Wright penned by Stephen A. Smith, the columnist perhaps best-known for his high-decibel speaking voice during television appearances on the sports network ESPN.

Smith attributes the current team's success to Wright's positive attitude and dedication to substance over image. It's interesting that Smith chose to emphasize that latter point, as Coach Wright's image has had no shortage of admirers.

Nonetheless, Smith is right to note that this team has exceeded all reasonable pre-season expectations, which were generally muted in appreciation of Villanova's on-paper talent dearth.

Smith quotes Jay Wright at length in the article, but Wright sounds particularly effusive in this passage:

There were so many question marks in regards to me and all the young kids, losing the guys we lost, I really just wanted to maintain the tradition we established of being tough, competitive and hard to play against. That's all I ever wanted from my guys. And I wanted my seniors to maintain our leadership, and they did that. But then they went beyond the call of duty. They stuck together through injuries. [Reynolds] really stepped up. We go at Oklahoma and win. At Providence, we win. At Georgetown. Things that usually don't happen... happened. We beat Texas, and Sumpter didn't even play in that game. He didn't play against Providence, either. So things like that takes things to another level for us. It really impressed me about these groups of kids. It's what is fun about college, coaching these kids.

Smith's full article is worth a click, if only to watch Stephen A. restrain himself by making just one "Wright stuff" pun.

Please do not be alarmed by this paragraph, however:

That much was easy to notice yesterday afternoon, after Villanova's thrilling 78-75 win over Syracuse at the Wachovia Center, a day when the Wildcats probably clinched an NCAA tournament berth - barring a collapse in the upcoming Big East tournament.

Villanova fans, do not despair. Villanova did not "probably" clinch an NCAA bid, "barring a collapse" in the BET. The Wildcats are a solid an NCAA lock as any team in the country, no matter how far they advance at Madison Square Garden.

It looks like Joe Lunardi's bracketology job at ESPN is safe for now, as is Stephan A's gig of being heckled at NBA drafts.



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