Jay Wright

Omari Spellman enters name in draft, but doesn't hire agent

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Omari Spellman enters name in draft, but doesn't hire agent

Villanova might be losing yet another star player. 

This time, redshirt freshman Omari Spellman is entering his name for the 2018 NBA draft process. But unlike Jalen Brunson and Mikal Bridges, Spellman won’t hire an agent. That’s an important distinction. 

Basically, this will allow Spellman to test the waters of the draft with the option of pulling his name and returning to Villanova for another season. He would need to withdraw from the draft by May 30 to maintain his eligibility. 

“Omari’s intelligence and willingness to be coached allowed him to make great strides last season,” Villanova head coach Jay Wright said in a statement. “His development as a complete Villanova Basketball player was instrumental to our team’s success. We look forward to working together with Omari and his family in the coming weeks as they go through the process of evaluating the next step in his basketball career.”

During the 2017-18 season, Spellman was the Big East and Big 5 Rookie of the Year. He started all but one game during the season, averaging 10.9 points and 8.0 rebounds. He also led the Wildcats with 59 blocked shots. In addition to his big-man skills — Spellman is 6-9, 245 — he also hit over 43 percent of his shots from three. 

While we’ve heard from Spellman, Brunson and Bridges, still no word from Donte DiVincenzo or Eric Paschall about their future. The deadline for early entry to the draft is at 11:59 p.m. on April 22.

Knicks will reportedly reach out to Jay Wright about coaching job

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Knicks will reportedly reach out to Jay Wright about coaching job

Fresh off a second national championship in three years, this was bound to happen. Jay Wright is a hot name. 

And according to the New York Daily News, the Knicks plan on reaching out to Wright about their vacant head coaching job. 

Just don’t expect Wright to be interested. 

The 56-year-old coach has been determined to build Villanova into a powerhouse since he took the head coaching gig way back in 2001 and he’s finally done that. On the surface, maybe some think that would be enough to make him want to take his coaching to the top league in the world. Not so fast. 

In a recent interview with The Athletic, Wright said pretty flatly that he’s staying at Villanova because he loves it there. 

“The NBA does intrigue me,” Wright said. “That challenge is appealing but it’s not worth giving up working with these guys. The whole thing is, to take a new challenge you have to give up what you have. I don’t want to give up what I have. Would I like to coach in the NBA? Yes. But I have to give this up in order to do that, and I don’t see that happening.”

In that interview, Wright talked about his time at Hofstra and quoted Jim Valvano, who once said, ‘Don’t mess with happy.’ That was true at Hofstra until the Villanova job came around, so maybe there’s a chance the Knicks could blow him away. It just doesn’t seem likely. 

The Knicks just fired head coach Jeff Hornacek after a 29-53 record in 2017. The Knicks haven’t had a winning record since 2012-13. 

The New York Daily News cites a source, who said the Knicks believe Wright would be a “perfect candidate for a rebuilding club.” The Knicks might be right, but don’t bet on them getting Wright. 

Jay Wright during Villanova championship parade: 'This is truly a Philly team'

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Jay Wright during Villanova championship parade: 'This is truly a Philly team'

Most people who packed into Dilworth Park on Thursday probably didn’t expect Jay Wright to give Penn coach Steve Donahue a shoutout. Or talk about the Palestra in the 1960s. Or pump up Phil Booth’s Philadelphia roots so much that he said they have to bring him a soft pretzel after every game.

Whether or not in response to the largely silly debate over whether Villanova is a “Philadelphia team,” the Wildcats coach made his opinion on the subject clear during the team’s national championship parade.

“We are so proud to represent the Big 5, the Big East, and most importantly, the great city of Philadelphia and Philadelphia basketball, which has the greatest tradition in the country,” Wright boomed to the crowd in front of City Hall. “Everywhere we go, when we play in the national tournament, all the Big 5 schools, we root for each other. I was afraid to say this during the tournament but Penn coach Steve Donahue helped us with the scout of Kansas. I didn’t want to say it when we were in the tournament but there’s a tight bond in the Big 5 and we all stick together.”

Now maybe that’s true for the coaches and even some players but it’s doubtful too many Temple and St. Joe’s fans were rooting for Villanova. And yes, the fact remains that Villanova University is located in the Philly suburbs.

But if you do want to wade into the debate, you can also look at the fact that Villanova recruits and develops many local kids, has fans and alums from all around the city, has a storied tradition playing Big 5 schools at the Palestra, and played all of its home games this year at the Wells Fargo Center.

“This is truly a Philly team,” Wright said, before encouraging everyone to throw streamers like they did starting in the 1960s at the Palestra after the first basket of every game.

“We thank everyone at the Wells Fargo Center, we thank the entire city of Philadelphia for coming out and making it a great home for us this year — and home of the national champions.”

Oh and you can also look at where the parade was held — a point 2016 national championship hero Kris Jenkins has been trying to (somewhat saltily) make.

Anyway, walking the parade route on Market Street this year, it was clear there were many people stopping out of their offices to watch and many more who hopped on the train from the suburbs to get there. (After the parade, I overheard a couple of Villanova students yelling, “Where’s Shake Shack?” and “This city is so dirty.”) The crowd seemed a little lighter than the one two years ago (perhaps because of the cold or Phillies opening day) but definitely filled up closer to City Hall. There were plenty of “E-A-G-L-E-S” and “Trust the Process” chants and a crazy amount of people hawking Villanova T-shirts (the price dropped from $10 to $5 when the rally ended).

A few other highlights for those who didn’t go or watch:

• The biggest applause may have been when team chaplain, Father Rob Hagan, was announced. Sister Jean residual effect?

• “I thought you guys would get tired of parades,” Wright said to the #CityofChampions. (Not yet.)

• Mikal Bridges kept his speech short, to which Wright quipped; “He only weighs 185 pounds, he’s freezing.”

• There were “One More Year” chants directed at Bridges. Wright mostly shot it down by saying he’s about to get his degree anyway.

• National player of the year Jalen Brunson introduced title game star Donte DiVincenzo as the “red-headed Italian” before leading a “Di-Vin-Cen-Zo” chant.

• There was a “One Shining Moment” video with only Villanova highlights, which was pretty cool.

• There didn’t seem to be too many signs out there but I did spot at least one interesting one:

Only in Philly?