Jay Wright is about to be a very wanted man in NBA circles.
After leading Villanova to their second national championship in three years by beating Michigan on Monday, the Wildcats coach has raised his stock through the roof and set up a critical decision on his future.
He can either choose to continue growing his legacy at the nation’s top basketball programme, or take on the next challenge in the NBA.
Ambition would suggest there isn’t much of a choice. The NBA is the highest level of basketball and succeeding there is unlike thriving anywhere else.
Irrespective of Phoenix, among his many ++ traits, the player development component Jay Wright & Villanova have become known for speaks to NBA front offices. Checks several boxes for teams. Fit with F.O./ownership vision is key. Real question is does he entertain it at all?— David Griffin (@dg_riff) March 30, 2018
Reaching that level has to be the ultimate dream for a coach, right?
Well, Wright is already living his own kind of dream, and while it may not see him follow in the path of someone like Popovich, it’s not far off from another coaching legend: Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski.
‘Coach K’ is widely considered one of the top basketball coaches in the world, all without ever having coached a single NBA game. He’s been at the helm of the United States men’s basketball team during three gold medal runs at the Olympics and is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame alongside the likes of Red Auerbach and Phil Jackson.
Wright still has a way to go before reaching Coach K – three titles separate them – but at the rate he’s going, it won’t be long before he’s the face of college basketball.
Only three active coaches have won multiple national titles.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 3, 2018
Welcome to the club, Jay Wright. pic.twitter.com/Hey5gdniiu
His road to becoming one of the best coaches in the NBA is both longer and more arduous. Wright would have to start from scratch and his success would be much more dependent on the talent he has to work with.
The spotlight would burn brighter and the scrutiny would be unlike anything he’ll face going forward at Villanova, where he’s already done enough to warrant a statue.
The money – potentially the difference in a couple million annually – likely won’t be an overwhelming factor either.
And even if he were to succeed in the NBA, there’s a wide gap between an elite coach and a legendary one.
At 56, Wright also doesn’t need to be in a rush. If the NBA is truly what he wants, he can patiently wait for the perfect job to open up.
In the meantime, Wright will be sitting pretty.
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