Thanks to an informal survey of coaches out on the recruiting trail by CBS Sports' college basketball crew, Jay Wright has found himself listed with other coaching luminaries like Roy Williams, Jim Boeheim and Ben Howland. The only problem is that the list itself was for coaches viewed by their peers as "overrated." The Villanova head coach was ranked 5th among overrated head coaches, receiving the votes of about 6% of the 100+ coaches that were surveyed.
According to the article, the results went as follows:
The question is: Who is the most overrated coach in the country?
- Roy Williams (North Carolina): 23 percent
- Rick Barnes (Texas): 17 percent
- Scott Drew (Baylor): 11 percent
- Steve Lavin (St. John's): 9 percent
- Jay Wright (Villanova): 6 percent
- Ben Howland (UCLA): 6 percent
- Jim Boeheim (Syracuse): 4 percent
- Tommy Amaker (Harvard): 4 percent
Also received votes: Too many to list.
More after the "Jump."
As Gary Parrish noted, the coaches involved in the "survey" were holding their answers almost exclusively to the X's and O's of the game, which might be a shortsighted view of what is important in college basketball. Good motivators, recruiters and program managers (who hire good assistant coaches) are perhaps as valuable -- or more valuable -- to a college program.
That said, at least one opposing coach was particularly harsh on Wright's ability to coach X's and O's:
On Jay Wright: "I'll tell you this about Villanova and Jay Wright. In all our prep over the years, he's the only coach we never prepared a scouting report for."
Wright has never been applauded for his in-game coaching, but it would seem implausible that a coach can win on elite talent alone. It was, in fact, a group of players who were far from Wright's best recruiting class that made their way to the Final Four in 2009. That team had one NBA player -- a second round pick -- while the 2006 team that fell a game short had two first round picks and another player who signed in the NBA as an undrafted rookie.
Maybe that success can be attributed to the assistants on the coaching staff, but even then, give credit to the head coach for putting a strong staff together.
Perhaps most important is the relationships that Wright builds with his players. VUhoops spoke with a prominent recent Villanova basketball alumnus last night, who was surprised to hear that fans or observers would be calling for Jay Wright's head.
They played differently in the past under Wright, and the alum noticed that. Jay Wright is trying to get back to the style of play that he had success with from 2004-05 through 2008-09.
Even if Wright succeeds in getting there, he will still likely be tagged as "overrated" by coaches and fans. Such is the life of a college coach. Even Roy Williams can't escape criticism.