Former Jay Wright Assistant: I Won't Be Shocked If He's A Wildcat For Life

“I think that there is an intrigue to (the NBA), but he’s not going to jump for the money"

Taz and the Moose
April 03, 2018 - 10:34 am

USA Today Images


Now that Jay Wright has won his second national title in three years, the question is inevitable: Will he leave for the NBA?

Tom Pecora, who served as Wright’s assistant at Hofstra from 1994 to 2001, dropped by CBS Sports Radio on Tuesday to discuss that very topic.

“I think that there is an intrigue to it, but he’s not going to jump for the money,” Pecora said on Taz & The Moose. “He’s going to jump if there’s an opportunity when he perceives an NBA team and their entire organization working together coherently – similar to the way Villanova’s program is set up, the way he can win.”

That, however, is easier said than done.

“Most college guys don’t get good jobs,” said Pecora, now the associate head coach at Quinnipiac. “Then you go to the NBA and all of a sudden every night you’re getting kicked in the teeth and you’re not winning. You go 36-4 this year. Well, you might lose four games your first week if you’re not with the right team, and how do you handle that continued losing? I think that’s a whole different mindset, and I think that could be really, really challenging for people as they go into that league.”

When Pecora was head coach at Hofstra, he remembers seeing a Boston Globe spread about then-Celtics coach Rick Pitino. There was a photo of Pitino walking with his head down. The caption? “Dead Coach Walking.”

“This is Rick Pitino,” Pecora said, still in disbelief. “This NBA eats anybody up. This is friggin’ Rick Pitino. They’re one ping pong ball way from getting Tim Duncan and the whole thing changing. It’s that fragile an equation.”

Wright, by the way, is 136-16 (.895) over the last four seasons, and his incoming recruiting class is, once again, stellar. If there’s incentive to leave, it has little to do with on-court success. 

“Their children are older now, and their youngest is in college,” Pecora said of Wright’s family, “so if there was a time to make a move, it would be this time or later in his life. But Coach (Rollie Massimino) used to say, ‘Villanova is divine.’ I think Jay truly believes that. I know he won’t coach anywhere else in college. I think it’ll be interesting to see if the right team were to come and approach him about it and they felt it was the best thing for their family, their true family, for him to make that kind of move, then he would consider it. But I would not be shocked at all if he was a Wildcat for life."