Happy Tuesday Nova Nation. If you’ve ever wondered what an early departure by Jay Wright to the NBA would look like, just cruise on over to the Michigan message boards. It’s a mild (ok, not so mild) state of panic over there. It wasn’t like they hadn’t talked about Beilein leaving, they just didn’t expect it to happen. This is a guy who was a perfect fit in the college game, a proven winner who could recruit talent as well as get the best out of players others may have passed over. Sound familiar?
The stories of these two coaches aren’t too dissimilar. Beilein has two more years as a head coach, Wright has one more year as the head of a Power Conference team. Beilein leaves the college game with 571 career wins, while Wright sits a game behind at 570. These are two guys that started below the DI ranks in upstate New York. They were brought in one year apart to the Big East, and by 2005 they both took their teams to the NCAA Tournament. Since 2013, they’ve both been to two Final Fours, facing off against one another in 2018 for the National Championship. Of course Wright and Villanova won that game, their second title in three years. But leading up to the game it was clear how similar these coaches were.
There was a side by side interview of the coaches leading up to the title game. Outside of the school specific dialog, you could flip the script on these two and you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. They both have a passion for basketball and truly love the impact they’ve had on their players. Which of course brings us to yesterday’s fork in the road.
Beilein is gone to the NBA. In a time when it seems every text chain gets reported on, this hiring came out of the blue in the sense that it hadn’t been reported that the two sides were even talking to each other. But that doesn’t mean that fans didn’t know Beilein was considering the NBA, or that NBA teams were interested. It’s very close to what Villanova fans have seen with Jay Wright, except that Wright’s name is even hotter when it comes to coaching candidates. And now with the possibility of the hometown Philadelphia 76ers job opening up, a job Wright has discussed with ownership in previous seasons, it’s a reality that Villanova fans have to consider. Especially when we see the hypothetical become a reality in Ann Arbor.
I’m still squarely in the “Wright stays” camp, but I’ll admit that could be equal parts what I want to happen as it is what I think will happen. If there’s one thing I’m sure of, it’s not the money that would lure Wright away from the Main Line, it’s the basketball. The NBA game isn’t about university events, donors who want face time, and the endless recruiting cycle. It’s about basketball. It’s about coaching at the highest level with the greatest athletes the sport has to offer. That could be too tempting for Wright to pass up, even with how much he really does love coaching at Villanova.
Maybe Brett Brown will keep his job. Maybe Wright will turn down the advances of numerous NBA owners. Or maybe it’s just a matter of time until Wright joins his friend John at the next level. Either way, the college game is going to miss Beilein and everything he did right at this level. Best of luck, and if you could, tell Jay how awful it is once you get there.
In other “news”, a look at 2021 recruit AJ Griffin Jr., Josh Hart’s health is important, and Memphis becomes the latest school to jump Villanova in the 2019 class recruiting rankings. Enjoy!
John Beilein to Cavs: Five coaches who should consider going to NBA | USA Today
Here are five coaches who should consider going to the NBA -- just like John Beilein has done in leaving Michigan for the Cavaliers.
John Beilein leaving Michigan to coach the Cavaliers is a loss for all of college basketball | Chicago Tribune
Michigan's John Beilein was an unintentional PR campaign for a sport muddled with scandal, running a program free of public accusations of misconduct.
The top candidates to replace John Beilein as Michigan basketball coach | mlive.com
A list of candidates, from the big names to the rising stars.
How have college coaches fared in the NBA? | ESPN
With John Beilein leaving Michigan for the Cavaliers, we look at the last 25 years of coaches leaving college for the NBA -- and history shows it's a mixed bag.
Nike EYBL Indianapolis: Top Performers | 247 Sports
EYBL Session 2 in Indianapolis was loaded with talent. Here is a look at 10 of the elite performers from the weekend. AJ Griffin Jr. of the class of 2021 could be the next great Villanova wing.
Could Josh Hart’s Health Be the Key to the Lakers Woes? | Heavy.com
Find out if how healthy Josh Hart could alleviate some of the most pressing issues for the Lakers.
Four-star guard Boogie Ellis commits to Memphis | 247 Sports
Four-star guard Boogie Ellis committed to Memphis just a day after leaving their campus on an official visit.
Temper Tantrum against Modernity: The NCAA’s three-point shot proposal will negatively affect Alabama | Roll 'Bama Roll
Some more Get Off My Lawn-ism from the NCAA