Tag:Jay Wright
Posted on: January 6, 2012 11:35 am
Edited on: January 6, 2012 11:44 am

Jay Wright, Jamie Dixon appear unlikely to dance

No Dixon, no Wright in the tournament? It's looking more likely, folks. (AP)

By Jeff Goodman

Jay Wright and Jamie Dixon were supposed to, at one time before Pittsburgh decided to bolt for the ACC, carry the torch for the Big East once senior citizens Jim Boeheim and Jim Calhoun left. 

Wright and Dixon have been two of the hottest coaches in America over the past few years. Both have spurned no shortage of big-time suitors and both have built their programs into national contenders. 

Both may be watching the NCAA tournament as spectators this season. 

Wright has led 'Nova to seven consecutive NCAA tournament appearances - including an Elite Eight in 2006 and a Final Four in 2009. But this current group is just 7-8 after last night's home loss to South Florida. 

Dixon may not have led the Panthers to a Final Four, but he's been just as successful, going to the Big Dance in each of his eight seasons since taking the reigns from Ben Howland. Dixon actually had a chance to go to the Final Four, but lost to Wright in the Elite Eight in 2009. 

Now his team has lost four straight for the first time in the Dixon Era following last night's road setback to DePaul. The Panthers sit -- along with 'Nova and Providence -- at the bottom of the Big East with an 0-3 mark. 

Villanova, with a sub-.500 overall mark, has virtually no shot of getting to the NCAA tournament this season unless the Wildcats go on an insane run in the Big East. 

Pittsburgh has dug itself quite a hole with losses to two mid-tier Big East teams (Cincinnati and Notre Dame) as well as DePaul. The Panthers most impressive win to date? I'm not sure there is one. 

Dixon needs Travon Woodall back. He has missed eight games due to injury -- including the losses to Wagner, Cincinnati and Depaul. He played 18 minutes in the setback against Cincinnati, but was ineffective and has missed two games since. 

With Woodall, the Panthers can still make a run. However, he needs to come back healthy soon. Next up is a home game against Rutgers, but then comes the key stretch whether Pittsburgh can jump back into the NCAA tournament equation. Four of its next five come against ranked teams - including road games at Marquette and Syracuse to start. 

Just about everyone has down years. It happened to Kentucky in the Billy Clyde Gillispie Era, Jim Calhoun and Roy Williams were in the NIT not all that long ago. 

But few saw this coming with both Dixon and Wright. 

Posted on: August 25, 2011 9:51 am

Jay Wright flash-mobs to Katy Perry

By Matt Norlander

I'd say we've got about a few more months -- till the end of 2011, I suppose -- before this flash mob fad fades out. But if you notice an increase in the activity in the next few weeks, just credit Jay Wright. The man dictates trends. The Villanova coach purposely put himself in the middle of one of these things on Villanova's campus yesterday, as the school had a welcome barbecue of sorts. University president Father Peter Donohue is the other conspicuous fellow who surfaces a few seconds into the video.

Naturally, Katy Perry's "Firework" was the choice for this spontaneous soundtrack. I'm not sure what this accomplishes, and years down the road we may look back at flash mobs as the first sign the aliens sensed vulnerability, but it's clear Jay Wright wins again.

Posted on: August 19, 2011 12:43 pm

Trippin': Yarou shines in 'Nova's overseas tour

In our Trippin' series we're talking to teams as they return from preseason trips to foreign locales. Click here for all Trippin' related stories.

By Jeff Goodman

Jay Wright sounded awfully upbeat for a man whose Villanova team just returned from a 1-4 trip to France and the Netherlands.

But then again, the Wildcats didn't exactly play cupcakes, either.

They played the Senegalese national team, which was preparing for the African Championships, on two occasions, went up against the Netherlands national team, the senior national team from Israel and finished out with a contest against the Georgian national team.

"We played some great teams," Wright said. ``And it was a terrific trip."

Other than the conversation Wright had with captain Isaiah Armwood after the fifth and final game - one in which resulted in the junior forward deciding to transfer elsewhere in hopes of a more extensive role.

``I was really down," Wright said. "That was tough because he's such an unbelievable kid. One of the best I've ever had."

What Wright learned: "We have good leadership (he singled out junior Mouph Yarou and outgoing junior Isaiah Armwood) and the freshman really buy into playing Villanova basketball. Everyone's excited about the chemistry of this group and how they are committed to winning."

What or who impressed him: "Mouph went up against men and pros (he went up against Zaza Pachulia and Dan Gadzuric on the trip) and battled and really kept his composure. He was awesome. I think the lowest rebounding game he had was 12. He played like a beast and was our best player on the trip."

What concerned him: "Youth in the backcourt. We have Maalik Wayns, but we don't really have another guard whose competed in the Big East as a starter."

- Wright said that Wayns was solid, but the opposing teams trapped and pressed him every opportunity they got. "They doubled him, so it was tough for him - he didn't get to go off like he could."

- With freshman Ty Johnson still recovering from a broken foot suffered early in the summer and unable to play (Wright said he'll be back as soon as Villanova starts school), the Wildcats used another frosh, 6-foot-6 Darrun Hilliard, as the backup to Wayns at the point.  "He did a good job," Wright said. "He really knows how to play and makes everyone better." Look for Hilliard to get in the rotation because he brings that aspect to the table - which isn't a strength of the other guards.

- Wright wouldn't come out and say it, but it's hard to gather that one of the reasons why Isaiah Armwood is transferring is because freshmen big men Markus Kennedy and JayVaughn Pinkston are more talented - and both are ready to play this season. Kennedy spent a year in the prep ranks while Pinkston was suspended last season. "Both of them were tough," Wright said. "Both were impressive." Wright said that Kennedy was even impressive in helping to break the press.

- Don't be surprised to see James Bell get a bulk of his minutes at the power forward spot.

Posted on: August 18, 2011 10:55 am

Villanova captain Isaiah Armwood transferring

By Jeff Goodman

Jay Wright doesn’t want Isaiah Armwood to leave.

But the Villanova coach wants what’s best for the Wildcats captain – and that’s an opportunity to play a major role in another program.

Therefore, the 6-foot-8 junior has decided to transfer elsewhere.

``He’s the greatest kid in the world,” Wright gushed. ``He’s our hardest-working guy, our captain. We started him every game on our trip. I love him to death.”

``I just want to see him achieve his goals,” he added.

Wright sat down with Armwood at the end of the trip to France and the Netherlands and the two, days later, came to an agreement that it would be best for Armwood to go elsewhere.

With the addition of frontline guys JayVaughn Pinkston and Marcus Kennedy – along with starting center Mouph Yarou back – minutes would likely be precious for Armwood.

The Maryland native started seven games last season, averaging 2.5 points and 3.6 rebounds.

If he leaves prior to the start of school, he’ll sit out this season and have two years of eligibility remaining.

Sources told CBSSports.com that schools in the mix for Armwood are Maryland, Iowa, Texas Tech and George Washington. Armwood grew up near Maryland and GW and both Iowa and Texas Tech have former Villanova assistant coaches – Andrew Francis (Iowa) and Chris Walker (Texas Tech). 

Posted on: May 8, 2011 12:21 pm
Edited on: May 9, 2011 9:56 am

Big East coaches now in Maryland's sights

Should Pitt's Dixon be Maryland's number one choice?Posted by Eric Angevine

After being granted a contract extension, Sean Miller is staying at Arizona. That means the Pac-12 is safe from further upheaval for a while. The ballooning conference can focus on adding new teams and getting used to a new schedule without having to break in a new coach in Tucson.

That means the conference in the crosshairs now is the Big East, and why not? The always-tough league sent more teams to the NCAA tournament than any other conference this past season, and has become a hothouse for growing top coaches.

Three names come up most frequently now that Miller has withdrawn. Notre Dame's Mike Brey, Pittsburgh's Jamie Dixon and Villanova's Jay Wright are the clubhouse leaders in the search at this point. Each coach has a spotless profile and a bright future, but they're hardly identical.

Mike Brey is reportedly meeting with Maryland officials next (though Brey is saying otherwise, natch, and Gary Parrish confirms) and he's a good choice. Brey's recent South Bend teams have been very efficient on offense, and Brey has done a masterful job of keeping his team relatively old. What does that mean? It means he uses redshirts wisely, so that when a player like Luke Harangody graduates, a player like Tim Abromaitis or Tyrone Nash is ready to step in and lead the team for another couple of years. Brey has a commanding presence, is well-spoken and would bring top-notch recruits to College Park. Brey is also from Bethesda, coached in the ACC as a Duke assistant, and has taken teams to the NCAA tournament nine times (Delaware twice and Notre Dame seven times).

Dixon, on the other hand, has been to the NCAA tournament eight times in just eight seasons as a head coach at Pitt. He's also 45, so he offers a younger version of the tough, grizzled coach Brey has become. Dixon has notched a 78 percent winning mark, which is better than Brey's total. He's never been to an NIT, and doesn't look to go that way any time soon. His teams are known for playing tough man-to-man defense, and he also brings in fantastic recruits. He just lost assistant Pat Skerry to Providence, so perhaps he'd like to make the leap to the well-known Delmarva recruiting grounds and nab an assistant who can help him return Maryland to national championship form.

Finally, there is Jay Wright. Wright, 49, is known for wearing nice suits and teaching a very guard-oriented offensive attack. His bombs-away style would be a pretty radical departure from Gary Williams' style, but that's not the worst news anyone ever heard. Wright has shown a propensity for building strong programs out of mediocre beginnings, as he did at Hofstra and then at post-Steve Lappas Villanova. Wright has been to the Final Four, which counts for a lot, but his follow up teams over the past two years have fallen progressively into the doldrums, with the 2009-10 version of the squad barely getting past Robert Morris and then being destroyed by St. Mary's, and last season's bunch barely making the field and bombing out immediately to George Mason. That apparent inability to capitalize on a supernova season has to hurt Wright's profile a bit. Nonetheless, he's the sort of coach who would bring a lot of hope to Maryland fans who are dying to get back to really competing with Duke and UNC on a regular basis.

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Brey got the first look, but looks to be bowing out of this wide-open search. With a little patience, Brey could find himself as the successor to his former mentor Krzyzewski some day - a move that could be made easier if he's a Domer instead of a recent rival.

Dixon really seems like the gem of this bunch. He's younger, he's experienced amazing success in a short time as a head coach, and he did it at a school that hasn't always been an elite destination. Whether he considers Maryland to be a step up from that or a lateral move may determine whether he even seriously entertains the idea of leaving. At his age, and with his resume, he could easily wait for one of the nation's really plum jobs to open up. Or, he could continue to turn Pitt into one of the nation's plum jobs. Dixon's motives and thought processes are pretty opaque to the outside world. It'll be interesting to see which way he goes.

If the Terps really want a young tyro with Maryland ties, they could always follow the suggestion of instant legend Grievis Vasquez, who apparently supports a movement to draft 28-year-old Terps assistant Robert Ehsan. It ain't gonna happen, but wouldn't that be bold?

Photo: US Presswire
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com