Happy Thursday Nova Nation! I hope everyone had a safe and fun ‘Merica Day yesterday, I know I did! But now that the holiday’s over, it’s back to what we all think about on July 5th: college basketball.
In sorting through today’s links our first one struck me for a number of reasons. The premise is simple enough for an off-season article: “what’s the biggest question for the top teams”. There’s a lot of the pandering in the Top 10 that you’re used to seeing (Does Kansas have too many players? Do Kentucky and Duke have enough shooters?), and there are a few player focused questions as well (Is Josh Perkins of Gonzaga good? How about De’Andre Hunter at Virginia?). No big surprise, they’re all leading questions that for the most part lead to the answer, “yup, they’re good.”
Then I read Villanova’s question, and it pissed me off to no end: Can ‘The Wildcat Way’ survive the kind of talent exodus college basketball’s elite deal with? So many things wrong with that question I don’t even know where to start. Villanova is an elite program (their win totals and Championships over the last few seasons prove that pretty soundly), so phrasing the question as if they’re not in that group doesn’t start things off well with me. I also don’t like how the article goes on to forget that Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree is in the sophomore class or that it contradicts itself by saying Villanova players both “made something out of nothing” and were “a bunch of guys that a lot of very good teams wanted”.
But what really got me was the notion that the “Wildcat Way” may not survive if Villanova had a bad season. Are you freaking kidding me!?!? You think that if things didn’t continue at the elite standard Wright has set the past few years that he would have to question everything that got him there and start from scratch? Just because something that worked 5 years straight didn’t work one time it’s time to pack up and go home? That’s not only ludicrous to even suggest about the Wildcats, it’s something that wouldn’t even be brought up about anyone else at Wright’s level.
In 2010, UNC missed the NCAA tournament after winning the Championship and losing four players to the NBA Draft, only two of which were leaving early. Did Roy Williams have to tear apart how things were done at UNC? Of course not, he’s been back to the Final Four twice and won another Championship. In 2013, Kentucky missed the NCAA tournament after winning the Championship and losing six players to the NBA Draft, five of which were leaving early. Calipari has done the exact same thing with the exact same culture every season since then, and no one thinks it’s going to end any time soon!
As Villanova fans, we’re just going to have to take these ridiculous questions in stride. It’s fair to ask if the Wildcats can sustain the high bar of success they’ve achieved in terms of their record, but not if their entire culture will crumble if they lose more than five games. Jay Wright is the best college coach in America today, and when you’re the one on top of the mountain everyone is trying to climb up and get you. That’s fine, because Villanova also has the best culture in college basketball and that’s not something someone can just tear away. And Nova’s gonna be great again anyway, so in the end it doesn’t matter.
In other “news”, Jay Wright is great, the freshman class looks awesome, recruiting updates, and Omari Spellman doesn’t like losing. Enjoy!
The pressing question for every team in our preseason rankings | NBC Sports
This is what should be in the minds of fans all summer long; especially Villanova fans.
Jay Wright’s Balancing Act | Main Line Today
Villanova University’s head men’s basketball coach Jay Wright works to balance academics and athletics.
Villanova Basketball: Breaking down the 2018 recruiting class | Busting Brackets
Villanova basketball is traditionally a program that relies on upperclassmen. Yet, Jay Wright has a top-10 recruiting class coming in for 2018-19.
Toyota Team Player: Saddiq Bey | WJLA
Sidwell Friends graduate Saddiq Bey recently made a big announcement when he committed to play basketball with he defending NCAA champion Villanova Wildcats. "Opportunities like this only come once in a lifetime, so for me to end up here is amazing."
Class of 2019 Five-Stars: Predicting where top 15 will land | Rivals.com
Villanova split picks for both Josh Green and Bryan Antoine.
Hawks rookie Omari Spellman learning to focus 'energy and intensity' in the right direction | AJC.com
NBA summer league games are informal and unofficial, but it was hard to tell by watching Hawks rookie Omari Spellman during his debut Monday night.