Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
NEW YORK — Chris Mullin and Patrick Ewing sat next to one another during a brief question-and-answer session at Thursday’s Big East Media Day at Madison Square Garden. The two old friends whispered and laughed, looking like best buddies instead of the fierce rivals they were more than three decades ago.
That was when the Big East Conference was really the Big East. When three Big East teams, including Mullin’s St. John’s Redmen and Ewing’s Georgetown Hoyas, advanced to the 1985 Final Four. The Cinderella Villanova Wildcats, coached by Rollie Massimino, beat “Big” John Thompson, Ewing and the Hoyas in the final that year.
Since then Villanova has won two more NCAA titles under “GQ” Jay Wright, while neither Georgetown nor St. John’s has cut down the nets.
Those two schools probably won’t do so in 2019 in Minneapolis, either, but one or both programs could go dancing in March.
NEW YORK — Villanova coach Jay Wright is a big fan of the new NBA G League path that will pay select players $125,000 out of high school beginning in 2019.
He also believes that the NBA should adopt a plan similar to baseball in which players must spend three years in college if they don’t go pro out of high school.
“College basketball and basketball in our country needs the NBA to help us because the NBA’s the ultimate goal for these kids,” Wright, who has won two NCAA championships since 2016, said Thursday at Big East Media Day at Madison Square Garden. “Whether they’re playing youth basketball, high school basketball, college basketball, the NBA’s their goal, so we needed their help and one of the problems is the fact that there are guys that are forced to go to college that don’t want to go to college so the NBA can help with that problem and they have.
Add Villanova to the list of basketball champions who won’t visit Donald Trump’s White House.
Villanova coach Jay Wright said Thursday at Big East Media Day that his team hadn’t yet been invited, and probably couldn’t make it anyway.
“We probably wouldn’t be able to get everybody together,” Wright said, according to Reuters and the Asbury Park Press. “We’ve lost staff members, we’ve lost players (to the NBA).”
Former Villanova assistant Ash Howard is now the head coach at La Salle, while four members of last year’s championship team are now in the NBA — Mikal Bridges, Jalen Brunson, Donte DiVincenzo and Omari Spellman.
When the Wildcats won the title in 2016, President Obama met them at the White House.
“Two years ago it was the experience of a lifetime for all of us,” Wright said. “It’s just a different time and I understand it. So it is what is.”