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Villanova’s Jay Wright talks off-season basketball

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Wright hopped on Andy Katz’s podcast this week to update us on the Wildcats

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Happy Wednesday Nova Nation! You know I love when we get updates from head coach Jay Wright, and it’s even better when it comes directly from the source. This week, Jay Wright sat down with Andy Katz to update everyone on what’s been going on over the past five months.

They touched on a number of topics including the differences between the summers of 2016 and 2018, an update on the White House invite, looked back on Jalen Brunson’s career, and of course a look at how next year’s team is shaping up. Since that’s really what we’re looking for, here’s a quick synopsis for those of you that don’t want to listen through the full audio:

  • Eric Paschall and Phil Booth were obviously mentioned as team leaders, but Colin Gillespie also got a shout out from coach as a returning player that’s shown leadership skills. Incoming grad transfer Joe Cremo was also noted as a player that brought maturity to the team.
  • The young guys are coming along as expected. To quote coach directly, “Not one has really separated himself yet, and not one has looked like he struggled either. Just a basic, solid progression for all of the freshman.”
  • Wright noted that they don’t take on a lot of transfers because of the characteristics and mentality that players often need time to learn in the Villanova system. Jay said “thank god” that Joe Cremo reached out to them, and then when looking into him and doing their research, the staff found that he already had the qualities of a Villanova basketball player. It’s made the transition a lot easier.
  • Katz points out that Paschall surely is a presence, but he’s not Omari Spellman or Daniel Ochefu. Wright acknowledged that they couldn’t turn to Paschall to play that role, and specifically called out Dylan Painter and Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree as the guys that needed to step up and and fill Omari’s shoes. Coach said they’d need two guys to replace Spellman, because there isn’t one guy who could do what he did.
  • It’s been great having some of the recent graduates around this summer like Jalen Brunson and Donte DiVincenzo, especially for the young freshman. Wright said that the freshman aren’t being asked to live up to what those guys did, but that they’re up for the challenge.
  • When asked how he’d rank the other teams in the Big East, Wright he mentioned Butler, Marquette, Georgetown, and St. John’s. He said the rest could also get there, but specifically called out DePaul.
  • Wright said it’s not critical for St. John’s and Georgetown to both be good at the same time, because the league has been great during their down years. But if they both got good again, it could add some “real juice” to what the Big East has already become.

Is it November yet!?!?

In other news, best/worst case scenarios for the season, recruiting, NBA talk, and a really great piece on former grad assistant turned G-League head coach Connor Johnson. Enjoy!

College basketball: Villanova coach Jay Wright talks team predictions and Big East competition | NCAA.com
Villanova still has Phil Booth, Eric Paschall and highly-touted newcomers Cole Swider and Jahvon Quinerly to make up for some of the major losses that hit the Wildcats. The Wildcats will be deep but not as experienced in Jay Wright’s style of basketball. The addition of Albany transfer guard Joe Cremo is a huge boost for the Wildcats, and he was recruited because Wright and his staff believe he will fit right into the Villanova way of doing things.

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