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18 February 2009

Wright admits coaching error

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
2/18/2009 02:39:00 PM

In a long article in the Philadelphia Daily News today, Villanova coach Jay Wright is quoted at length regarding his position at the helm of Villanova basketball.

Of particular interest to Let's Go Nova readers may be Wright's reference to his coaching decision in the West Virginia game to keep star forward Dante Cunningham on the bench in the first half with two fouls.

Wright actually praises Villanova's atmosphere of lesser scrutiny, and the fact that talk of the error died down quickly. How this is compatible with Wright's ostensible goal of striving for excellence is a little incomprehensible to me, but here is the quote:

We get plenty of attention. But you're not under the scrutiny every day. Like, 'Why didn't I play Dante Cunningham with two fouls in the West Virginia game in the first half?' Which I probably should have. But it didn't become a 2-day issue (emphasis added).

This quote demonstrates Wright's excellent understanding of public relations, possibly at the expense of his basketball knowledge and competitive edge. Is Wright correct about the public relations benefits of not being under a microscope like one would be in Lexington or Bloomington? Absolutely. But how does that help Villanova become a better basketball team? It sure is nice for Wright that his voicemail is not overflowing on Day Two of the Dante Cunningham Benching Scandal, but why brag about it?

Is Wright really that saying he is glad that the uproar over his mistakes dies down quickly, instead of saying that scrutiny over mistakes motivates him to make fewer of them?

For the record, Let's Go Nova was all over this issue, even a day after the game. In my review of the WVU loss, I wrote the following:

He got into minor foul trouble early on Friday, and his absence definitely cost the Wildcats dearly. But why did he have to sit so long? I think Wright was too cautious. Villanova was getting blown away with Dante on the bench. Dante picked up his second foul with 14 minutes to play in the first half, and didn't see the court for the rest of the half? Are you kidding me? That would have been ridiculous if we were winning, and it's patently absurd when the 'Cats are being blown out. Sitting Cunningham for the last 14 minutes of the first half might have cost Villanova the game. Oh, and by the way, Cunningham finished with just three fouls thanks to Wright's abundance of gutless caution.

It's nice that Wright admitted his mistake, but why does he think the issue is over, especially considering the NCAA and BET seeding ramifications this loss will most certainly have?

Wright also made what some may also consider to be a revealing statement: winning a national championship is not essential. Ever.

I don't need to win a national championship. Honestly, as long as these guys are graduating and I continue to get the enjoyment I do from the relationship with these guys, I would be fine . . .It wouldn't bother me one bit (emphasis added) [...] Our fans need a national championship. And I would love to do it for them. But for me, personally, I love where we are right now. I love what we're doing.

Gee, thanks, Jay.

Again, it's great that Wright cares more about the players graduating and running a clean program than winning at all costs. But why can't we have it both ways? It would be nice to have a coach who has a larger competitive drive. This is another reason I think Wright would be much better suited as a PR person than a head coach, but I digress.

Anyway, the full PDN article is definitely worth a read. I don't want to harp on only the negatives, as Wright said some good things in the interview. Those two quotes, however, struck me as being worthy of a bit more scrutiny.

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At 3:06 PM, February 18, 2009, Blogger Pete @ LetsGoNova.com said...

What do you think of the two quotes? Agree or disagree with Wright?

At 3:39 PM, February 18, 2009, Blogger Matthew said...

I think you might be letting your personal opinion of Jay Wright blow some of the things he says in this interview out of proportion.

Jay admits he made a mistake. He realizes sitting Cunningham so long was probably wrong. Now he can use this information and move forward through the regular season, BET, and NCAAs. I don't think Wright is being absurd in appreciating a fan base that doesn't ask for his head on a platter after a poor decision, a la Bloomington.

I also think that Jay is privately putting plenty of pressure on himself to win a championship. When he is on the sidelines coaching, it's fairly obvious he has a competitive nature and demands excellence from his players. I think he is simply highlighting that there are larger goals in college basketball and having a team that is consistently performing at a very high level, with one of the highest rates of graduation in the country means more to him than a championship, while to fans that may not be the case.

At 4:03 PM, February 18, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that Nova basketball fans have always been too soft with Jay. The man is a great person, but I question his ability to coach his teams to any real basketball success.

However, since it is Fashion Week, I give him points for the style he brings to the court.

At 4:25 PM, February 18, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't have a big problem with what Jay is saying here. Sure, I would love to hear him come out and say he won't be satisfied until we win a national championship, but saying that sort of thing publicly begins to create exactly the sort of crazed environment he (and, it seems, many of today's recruits) want to avoid.

I do have serious problems with Jay's coaching ability when it comes to Xs and Os. I don't think he imparts in our players much in the way of basketball smarts. His inbounds plays are embarrassingly bad. Our shot selection and late-game decision-making are not good. On defense, we neither help-and-recover nor fight through screens very well, which results in too many open looks for our opponents. Our half-court offense relies way too heavily on "take and kick." We don't run enough screens and cuts to get our guys open looks. (I do like how we regularly feed the ball to Dante in the post, but it kills me that the other 4 guys then just stand and watch him operate, instead of cutting, screening, or relocating for an open shot.) And because of all this, we aren't as good as we could be.

But, what I can't argue with is that Jay has somehow created an environment that top players want to play in. And because acquiring talent is the most important part of the equation, I am not going to complain too loudly as long as Top 50 players keep streaming through the door. With talent like that we can contend for Big East Championships and Final Fours, even despite Jay's X and O shortcomings.

Ideally, Jay would cede some authority to an assistant who has the basketball IQ and teaching ability necessary to maximize our talent -- and do it in a way that players don't view as constricting. Who knows what the chances are of that ever happening.

In the meantime, I'm fairly content to settle for Top 5 recruiting classes, finishing in the Top 1/3 of the Big East, and entering the tournament with the potential to make a legitimate run.

At 4:43 PM, February 18, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whoaaa. There is no bigger Nova hoops fan than - I. But this is college basketball. Get a life! Jay Wright has his head screwd on right and his priorities straight. His reruiting is what it is because "families" see the whole Nova atmosphere, rightly concerned about winning in life. I can agree with several of your criticisms - but when I put them in perspective - they are sophomoric. Jay Wright is a class act, the comment you headline with says a lot about him as a grown man; your comments say a lot about you as...

At 4:51 PM, February 18, 2009, Blogger Pete @ LetsGoNova.com said...

What do you mean, get a life? This site is about Nova basketball and this was a major story about Nova basketball.

Also, if I were one of the families of a recruit, I'd be very concerned with Jay Wright's track record of losing transfers. What kind of a lesson would a kid learn about "winning in life" from Jay Wright, under whose tenure five, count-em five, members of the "villanova family" had to go to other schools? Not just play for another basketball team, but pack up their rooms, say goodbye to their friends, worry about credits transferring, and actually move to another school. So if I were in a family of a recruit, I wouldn't want that recruit going to Villanova. But that's just me. Hopefully, it won't apply to the school's future recruits.

At 6:10 PM, February 18, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seriously? Transfers? That's what you take away from this?

Jay Wright doesn't make anyone transfer. If he did, you could bet your ass Frank Tchuisi would be gone, instead of sitting on the bench with a scholarship.

Players transfer out of their own interests. Drummond, Ott, Grant, Benn wanted more playing time because the bench was too deep. Frank Tchuisi wants an education, and the fact that Jay Wright is fine with that speaks volumes. All programs have transfers, this is not some Villanova epidemic.

I don't care if Jay Wright doesn't bend to overhyping his program. I think Whodat Kevin makes a great point in by noting that hype like that creates its very own vicious cycle.

The kids Wright recruits are always a part of the Villanova family, and they're welcome at Nova for as long as they wish. If they need to go somewhere else for themselves, then that's a decision that the Player makes, not Jay Wright.

At 6:43 PM, February 18, 2009, Blogger pete said...

Except for when Wright refuses to play someone like Grant, defying all logic. Grant was the best player in his class by far. So what happened?

Except for when Kraidon Woods has to leave before he even has a chance to put on a Nova uniform.

Except when Casiem Drummond leaves "for playing time' when there was no reason he shouldn't have been starting at center every single game.

Except for when Bilal Benn has to leave, even though he is proving himself an excellent player at Niagara. And let's hope we dont get any injuries in our backcourt, because it is thin when it comes to ballhandling.

Andew Ott -- I can see why he transferred, but still, losing 5 players is a bit too many.

At 7:28 PM, February 18, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At which point in any one of those examples did Jay Wright force the player to transfer?

I don't know Kraidon Woods' story, but the rest all involve playing time. Dwayne Anderson stands out as proof that if you're willing to work hard, you'll get your look. Supposing that players deserve time is conjecture from the outside that carries no weight in reality. You're presuming that everything as it appears to be is everything as it is.

In a theoretical vacuum, Grant would never come off the floor, and Casiem would start every game. Bilal Benn would throw down nightly in a Nova uniform and you'd be happy as a clam. But for Christ's sake, we don't live in a vacuum. I've got to go with the majority opinion on this one and assume that Jay Wright is not an irrational tyrant who decides playing time on a whim.

Are you so informed as to be able to provide proof of why these players received no time, and simply do not want the rest of the world to know, or are you just crying that the world isn't fair?

At 7:36 PM, February 18, 2009, Blogger pete said...

The truth is we don't KNOW why Grant (above all others) was denied playing time. Obviously, all playing time is a judgment call by Wright. I don't think it was logical to not play Grant. That is where, evidently, I disagree with Wright.

It's naive to say that Wright caused all the transfers, but it is equally naive to say that each player was 100% responsible for his own transfer. In reality, both Wright and the player play roles in the player's future. That's why I can understand a few transfers, but this looks like it's becoming a trend, and a problem.

Anyway, we've gotten a bit derailed here. The meat of this post was supposed to be about Jay's comments to the PDN.

At 7:58 PM, February 18, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You happen to be the guy who brought up transfers, no one else.

At the bottom line, the PLAYER HIMSELF makes the decision to transfer. Chris Charles, Frank Tchuisi, probably others down the line, these are players who chose to stick it out at Villanova when transferring would have gotten them more playing time elsewhere. The player's priorities are the motivating factor in all transfers. Assume that logically, Wright has a reason for playing or not playing kids (He does. He's a successful Division I coach. People incapable of making rational decisions do not get far in life). Wright does not force the player's hand by not playing them. It ultimately comes down to where the kid's priorities lie. They have ALL of the responsibility for their decisions. Just because you don't like a kid's priorities, don't attempt to construe transfers as a crippling phenomenon particular to Villanova.

If you want to get back to the article, you ought to start by crediting Wright with being honest, grounded, principled, and behind his players 100%.

At 8:29 PM, February 18, 2009, Blogger pete said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 8:30 PM, February 18, 2009, Blogger pete said...

If you are clearly one of the most effective players on the team -- and Grant was, both subjectively and as proved by greyCat's efficiency numbers -- then Wright does, indeed, force your hand by not playing you.

Let's not forget that Malcolm also prepped a year just to play at Nova. Malcolm prepping allowed us to get Reynolds. So a kid makes a commitment to Villanova that way, and performs on the court, and still doesn't get off the bench.

That makes no sense. And Grant's hand was forced. If you don't call that forcing, what is?

"You ought to start by crediting Wright with being honest, grounded, principled, and behind his players 100%.." Sure! Fine! But this should be a given! Would you expect anything less from even a high school coach?

What I want from Wright are better basketball decisions and a greater competitive drive. So far, both have been lacking, and this article lends some evidence to the lack of both.

At 8:40 PM, February 18, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, Malcolm Grant forced Malcolm Grant's hand by deciding that he needed more playing time instantly, elsewhere. What part of this is unclear? You think he deserved more time, and so did he. So he transferred to get it. Jay Wright didn't make him transfer by not playing him. Grant prioritized playing time over team loyalty, and his decision was a result of that.

And yes, you're 100% correct that Jay Wright's character should be a given. Again, this is the world according to "how things should be", not how things are. Plenty of coaches do not have such upstanding qualities. They're more concerned with winning now at any cost, regardless of the character of the individual they recruit to play for them.

At 8:45 PM, February 18, 2009, Blogger pete said...

So, Anonymous, are you saying that like the pope, whatever Jay Wright decides must be infallible? For example, what if Kobe Bryant were given back his college eligibility, came to Villanova, and then got no playing time. If he then transferred, would you say that Kobe chose playing time over team loyalty -- or would you say that Wright is the one in the wrong for not playing the best player in the world.

Obviously, Grant is no Kobe, but the question remains, how good does a player have to be until the decision to not play him is objectively wrong? I'd argue that Grant crossed that threshold, and hence, Wright was almost fully responsible for that transfer, not Grant.

At 8:45 PM, February 18, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And if you're basing your assumption about Jay Wright's "competitive drive" off of what the man says to a news paper reporter, you're being ridiculous. Watch the man on the sidelines and then tell me he has no competitive drive. He's simply gotten good press and people to talk about the program using the media.

At 8:53 PM, February 18, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, what I'm saying is that Jay Wright has his reasons. It's not that they shouldn't be questioned, it's that they shouldn't be strung together to create some doom and gloom prophesy of underhanded dealings and program corruption.

It's entirely possible that Wright was in the wrong concerning Grant. People are human. But Grant did not want to stick it out, so he left. Dwayne could have left, Tchuisi could have left, Charles could have left. Regardless of whether or not Grant "deserved" more playing time, the final decision was ultimately in his hands. He would have gotten his chance just like Dwayne did, probably sooner. But he felt that he couldn't wait, so he didn't. That's on him.

At 9:00 PM, February 18, 2009, Blogger pete said...

Why would anyone want to "stick it out" with a coach whose decision not to play a player who deserves time is at best random and arbitrary and at worst totally petty and downright wrong.

My point is that Grant's leaving was perfectly logical; Wright's not playing Grant was illogical. I am going to place the blame on that one on the person whose actions were, to me, illogical.

I never implied anything about "underhanded dealings" or "program corruption." Not once. What I did imply was if I were a recruit, I would not want to come play for Jay Wright -- because what if Wright had "his reasons" not to play me, perhaps incorrectly, and I had to uproot and transfer?

At 9:16 PM, February 18, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nothing MAKES these kids transfer. No one puts a gun to their head and says "TRANSFER".

By your line of reasoning, you're supposing that one instance (Grant) out of one hundred or so (Nearly every other player) ought to govern the decision making of anyone. This is preposterous. Your reasoning is based on an outlier rather than the general trend. Grant's case is singular in its dimensions, and you allow it to govern your opinion of the rest of the transfers. They are not identical cases, and they should not be equated. There is no trend, there are simply coincidences.

Transfers are not the indication of a bad program. Low graduation rates, scandal, poor perception of the players on the team, these would be causes of concern. Not the transfer of five players.

At 9:24 PM, February 18, 2009, Blogger pete said...

If your definition of making or forcing starts at "putting a gun to a head" -- that is one reason we are getting nowhere in our discussion.

If a player isn't getting playing time, he has two options: transfer or stick it out. Sticking it out makes sense for players like Dwayne, who needed time to develop. It doesn't make any sense for players already playing a high level, because there is no reason to believe that player will ever get a chance -- it would be blind faith in Wright, blind faith on the tail of already being spurned by his decision.

So, yes, if you are a good player, with no academic or disciplinary problems, as Grant was, and you are being benched beyond your control, yes, you are forced to transfer. Because even if you stick it out, how do you know Wright will even play you at all? If you're already on top of your academics, behavior, and level of play, you are out of variables you can affect by yourself.

Grant's case is one transfer, correct. But there are four more players that had to leave. If that's not already a "trend," however you define it, it certainly is moving beyond the bounds of coincidence.

I am not charging corruption. All I am saying is that eventually, this is going to come back and hurt Villanova, as recruits wise up to Wright's horrendous playing-time and strategy decisions. If my son/brother/grandson/nephew were a recruit, I would tell him to go play for a team where his future is secure. Under Wright, that's not Villanova; at least that wasn't Villanova for Grant, Drummond, Woods, Benn, and Ott.

At 9:36 PM, February 18, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Forgive the hyperbole, with both the gun and the corruption.

Your points about Grant are accurate.
That's one accurate account of a transfer, one of five.

Just as a point of comparison, do you believe that Duke is going to lose recruits because Taylor King decided to transfer to Villanova?

Explain the other four transfers in such dire terms as Grant, and I'll see your side of the story. Other than that, please refrain from drawing the conclusion that 5 transfers are the hallmark program that cannot be entrusted with your future.

At 9:46 PM, February 18, 2009, Blogger Pete @ LetsGoNova.com said...

Well, like I said, I cannot attribute all of the blame for the five lost players to Wright. The specifics of each case really shouldn't matter. Wright's job is not only to win basketball games, but to develop student-athletes into young leaders of society. Losing players to transfer, for whatever reason, is counter to that goal. A few cases may be a coincidence, but when you get up to five players, it starts to become, in my opinion, something to watch out for.

If five is not enough for you, what would the number have to be? Eight? Ten? More? When do you start to think, hmm, maybe something isn't right at Villanova?

I have already explained my case for Grant.

Drummond's case doesn't make much sense to me. Nova is SUPER thin up front this year. With the redshirting of Sutton, the only true bigs we are left with are Cunningham and Tchuisi. Tchuisi was never going to be a factor no matter what. So it's really just Cunningham. Pena, Shane, and Stokes are all more 3s than 4s. Stokes is more like a 2.5 and Pena is more like a 3.5, but they're all about 3s. So why on earth would Drummond have to transfer for playing time? He started several games last season -- so either he regressed, which a cynical person could blame on Jay; or he was never good enough to play in the first place, which also would be Jay's incorrect decision; or he was really good enough to play and the transfer is another mystery. It has to be one of those three, because we didn't gain any bigs who'd have moved ahead of him. AND we graduate Cunningham next year to boot!

As for Benn, I can understand his perception that the backcourt would have had a backlog he couldn't overcome. However, that was before the Grant transfer. I can't blame Benn for wanting to be a bigger fish in a smaller pond; however, it is obvious he would have been earning minutes on this team.

For Benn, Ott, and Woods -- Villanova made a commitment to them, and they made a commitment to Villanova. Whenever that commitment is broken, it's a bad thing, regardless of reason. And if those broken commitments keep piling up, something might be rotten on the Main Line.

So that's my rationale about transfers. Again, I am not saying there is corruption. All I am saying is that 1. it will probably hurt recruiting down the line and 2. it makes Villanova basketball less enjoyable for me, knowing about the five broken commitments in the past few years.

At 9:47 PM, February 18, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well I can answer the question that Pete has had all this time. Jay will ALWAYS play a defensive player over an offensive player. Yes, Grant was a good, FRESHMAN, offensive player. BUT, and this is a big BUT, he and Fisher were both massive defensive liabilities, later in the season against bigger, better competition in the BE and NCAAs. The same can be said for Drummond who didn't have the footspeed to play defense in the BE, and god forbid you remember the couple of minutes of playing time that Ott ever got. He looked like a statue with the trainers for both teams on the court. Jay values defense, hence Reggie starting this year instead of Fisher. Nuff said. Pete, this isn't "irrational", this is simply valuing a different end of the court than what you value. You are completely entitled to your opinions, but opinions can be wrong. Just cause they are opinions doesn't make them magically right. Pete, I love your blog, but your opinions fall into the category of wrong or simply plain ignorant as to what Jay has been doing and valuing with regards to playing time, basketball philosophy, and substitution rotations, since he has been here.

At 9:53 PM, February 18, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon, just let it go. These are Pete's views, it's clear that even though the conspiracy theories and Grant haven't been brought up for awhile, they still weigh heavily on Pete's fandom of Nova basketball.

Don't let it get to you, and don't bother trying to change an opinion he is entitled to.

In the end we're all fans of Villanova basketball, just some fans show it differently.

And to get back on track, of this post, I think Jay's comments are fine. I find it refreshing that we don't have to hear the same token line that it's all about winning a championship. We haven't even won a Big East Tournament in the Jay Wright era, why make grandiose goals that set up to mark our players and teams a failure if they don't succeed? There are other ways to measure success.

All of the sweet 16s, the memories, and all of the players hanging around for 4 great years are a mark of a successful program. The goal is always to win it all, but there's more to coaching and to college basketball than that. Maybe it is good coaching to make it less about WINNING IT ALL, and maybe that's why we've been so successful the last several years. Unless of course you don't that we have been successful....

At 10:02 PM, February 18, 2009, Blogger Pete @ LetsGoNova.com said...

@ 9:47

the "defense-first" theory lost its credibility long, long ago. Nova was playing HORRENDOUS defense in the 5-game losing streak, the latter parts of which Grant barely played at all. Are you trying to say that Grant would have been even worse than what happened? And even if you are, who cares? We were already losing to the likes of Rutgers!

At 10:02 PM, February 18, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stop. Please just stop. There is nothing "Rotten on the Main Line". Using language like that is irresponsible and merely sensational.

You're extrapolating and applying an outsider's perspective to something that is quite clearly only understandable to those it directly involves. Stop supposing things that you either have no true idea about, or refuse to share with the rest of us.

Transfers happen. If we were getting de-commitments, or a number of transfers that left our team dangerously depleted, then you could bitch and moan.

Outside of that, stop over-dramatizing an unremarkable occurrence in the world of college basketball.

At 10:03 PM, February 18, 2009, Blogger Pete @ LetsGoNova.com said...

Also, 9:47 --

Are you trying to say that Jay recruited players who couldn't play defense -- why did he do that? Or are you saying that Wright failed to teach or motivate the players to play defense -- why couldn't he?

It all comes back to Wright, doesn't it?

At 10:07 PM, February 18, 2009, Blogger Pete @ LetsGoNova.com said...

@ 10:02 --

Well, how would you define dangerously depleted? Considering how well this year's team is doing, imagine if we had Benn, Drummond, or Grant to deepen the rotation? To run with potential future opponents like Memphis or UNC. To get a bit of offensive spark when we are in a drought. To have five more fouls to give against a stacked frontcourt. Sometimes the true cost of transfers is in missed opportunities.

So, I would argue that the loss of these players left the team depleted for the tournament run, simply because would have liked the team's chances this year a lot better with Drummond and Grant.

At 10:07 PM, February 18, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

IMKL, you're right. I just abhor the use of inflammatory language that is so actively detrimental to the image of the university.

At 10:09 PM, February 18, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...




At 10:09 PM, February 18, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pete, you live in fantasy land. You can't seem to escape a world of potentiality which does not exist. When big time recruits start transferring, then I'll start to worry and concede the point. Before that, give it a rest.

At 10:13 PM, February 18, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon, I can't fault you there. I too wasted typing trying to understand or see Pete's reasoning, and I gave up.

All you are doing is causing those viewpoints that you loathe to gain more and more attention.

Take the exit I eventually got off on, and just look the other way when we get Malcolm Granted. That verb encompasses all of the negativity surround LGN since late 2007. The real tragedy is that it's not just Pete, it's us too.

You have no control over Pete's opinions. So focus on the part you can control.


At 10:14 PM, February 18, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the Lost finale sucks, I blame Jay Wright.

At 10:19 PM, February 18, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The whole thing just bums me out because I did really enjoy watching Grant play, and I was disappointed when he left. But there was a glut in the backcourt, and he lost time to the 5 star recruits. It disappoints me that his departure has fueled bad feelings against Wright and the program.

At 10:48 PM, February 18, 2009, Blogger Pete @ LetsGoNova.com said...


If you don't like reading the back and forth on the comments... don't read them. What can I say? Why are you ordering me to let something go? What's the point of this site if not to discuss our opinions?

We're not curing diseases here. We are bullshitting about basketball.

At 10:49 PM, February 18, 2009, Blogger Pete @ LetsGoNova.com said...

@ 10:19 --

NYC's player of the year was not "bigtime" enough for you? Just wait till he lights up the ACC next season.

At 10:52 PM, February 18, 2009, Blogger Pete @ LetsGoNova.com said...

ANYWAY, how this conversation always goes to Grant is crazy.

Let's talk about Wright's BONEHEADED decision to not play Dante at all after the 14 min mark in the first half. Which he just admitted was wrong!

And then Wright's statement that he is glad he doesn't get so much scrutiny?! That is bonkers! You should want more scrutiny for your mistakes, so you can stop making them.


At 12:43 AM, February 19, 2009, Blogger Villanova Viewpoint Publisher said...

Hello, Pete-

My two cents, for what they're worth, on the original post:

I would agree with Wright that he doesn't *need* to win a national championship, in the sense that he's using the word. There are a lot of coaches that have built great programs, who have never won any simply due to the numbers involved. There are six increasingly large power conferences, and we only award one national championship a year. (And there is always the possibility that someone from outside those conferences will win one, as Memphis nearly did last season.)

Also, given the context in which he said it, Wright did not dismiss winning a national championship as insignificant in any way. "Our fans need a national championship. And I would love to do it for them."

On the question of Cunningham not playing more in the WVU loss: certainly, I personally think that he should have played more. But I don't think that Wright's decision was a terrible blunder. And at least he's willing to publicly acknowledge a mistake that he made (especially since it wasn't an obvious mistake at the time Wright made the decision).

Nonetheless, thought-provoking post. Thoughts are welcome.

At 12:58 AM, February 19, 2009, Blogger pete said...

VV Publisher,

What do you think about the part that Wright is glad there isn't much scrutiny of his mistakes? How is that in any way appropriate for a leader to say?

At 1:26 AM, February 19, 2009, Blogger Villanova Viewpoint Publisher said...


It's a little late, this evening, so here's my quick answer, to the question:

Here's the relevant quote from the PDN:

"To me, it's perfect," Wright said. "We get plenty of attention. But you're not under the scrutiny every day."

He really didn't say that there isn't much scrutiny, in absolute terms. What he meant (at least as I interpret it) is that he's not under *as* much scrutiny as he would be, if VU were the only game in town (w/o pro sports occupying the primary limelight), or if he were somewhere such as UCLA or UNC. Which I agree with. It also came in the context of him discussing how happy he is to be where he is, and so I think it was within the bounds of propriety... But, it's just my opinion, of course... that's about as much as I can say tonight...

At 7:33 AM, February 19, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pete, @ your 10:48 comments, I didn't mind reading them the first 50 times you said it. There must be something else worth talking about.

At 10:48 AM, February 19, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wasn't it both Ott's and Grants choice to transfer. I'm sure they both could have stayed and eventually got there playing time as they became upperclassman. Like Dwayne. I mean they were both freshman.

At 11:10 AM, February 19, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As riveting as it is to discuss ad nauseum the transfers of marginal role players from the past few years, anyone want to talk about Rutgers coming up? Not that it's the most exciting marquee matchup or anything but given it's senior night, it's worth noting that Jay Wright has a very cool tradition of starting all his seniors for the senior night game.

It'll be great to see Frank Tchuisi out there at the start playing a couple possessions, and hopefully he'll be back in the game before too late in the 2nd half!

At 12:12 PM, February 19, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

pete you really are looking too much into this, you bash wright for almost everything after one bad game and say something is "rotten" on the main line? are you kidding me? would you want to go back to the days of steve lappas patrolling the sidelines because i am a student at nova and before that i grew up in a house and family of all nova graduates and i have seen the low points of this team and right now we are in the best of times, so just leave it alone

At 1:59 PM, February 19, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 2:16 PM, February 19, 2009, Blogger Pete @ LetsGoNova.com said...


I think Lappas was way better than Wright, at least on the sideline. But that's in the past. We have to go forward with Wright now.

At 3:12 PM, February 19, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pete at LetsGoNova: "Losing arguments since 1842"

At 7:39 PM, February 19, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i like this website alot but you are way off base, lappas couldnt even cut it at umass

At 8:50 PM, February 19, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Dude, you ARE stupid." I'm glad four years at Villanova taught you how to engage in intellectual debate. Seriously, anons, you are the embarrassments to Villanova if you can't allow Jay to be criticized, if you can't recognize that Pete is a polemicist (i.e. a less attractive Ann Coulter), and if you can't engage in serious debate without resorting to name calling.

At 8:58 PM, February 19, 2009, Blogger pete said...

Come on now, I think he made an excellent, reasoned point with "HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA"

At 2:33 AM, February 20, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

pete this goes back to the situation regarding malcolm grant transferring. i agree that he played at a high level (though not all the time, he had his games where he would be a liability offensively and defensively) and deserved playing time. that said perhaps theres something you havent considered....there could have actually been a problem between grant and the team/wright and wright simply took the high road to not present the problems in a public forum. i can definitely see this as a possibility. either way, i believe there was some "behind the scenes" problem that ultimately made grant transfer.

At 5:15 AM, February 20, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember hearing that there were some serious issues between Malcolm and Scottie. Obviously I have no idea if that is 100% accurate, but that's what I was hearing as a freshmen last year. I was in Grant's orientation group and some of my friends knew Stokes, Fisher, and Cunningham. And I remember that Reynolds and Grant didn't play together often down the stretch. I'm not saying that the rumors were true, but if they are (where there's smoke, there's fire) then Jay was forced to choose between Grant and Reynolds. While it's not fair to Grant, the older guy who was much better is going to get the benefit of the doubt. I really liked Grant as a person and as a player, but I'd rather have Scottie.

At 12:02 PM, February 20, 2009, Blogger pete said...

If that is at all true, which I am not saying it's even likely, it's part of Wright's job to work those issues out

At 12:57 PM, February 20, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

its still a possibility and nonetheless theres only so much a coach can do. no matter how much you try to push people to get along there are just some people that rub each other the wrong way. believe me, there are plenty of egos on this team (i support them anyway) but you have to realize that its not fantasyland and players with egos will definitely clash sometimes. its possible that grant was a locker room problem


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