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April 26, 2022

Jay Wright needs a break, but leaves door open for potential NBA move

Appearing on ESPN radio, the longtime Villanova coach talked retirement and NBA chances

Jay Wright is retired from coaching and said he definitely needs the break.

But should an NBA opportunity arise? Well, it's a "no" right now, but the longtime Villanova head coach may have left the door open. 

Wright joined ESPN's Keyshawn, JWill & Max show on Tuesday, and talked about the process that led to his decision to retire, his and the program's future, and (inevitably) the possibility of a jump to the NBA.

"Not right now," Wright said. "That was something I always thought about. My experience with the Olympics kind of scratched that itch. 

"It gave me so much experience with those guys last summer with coach Pop (Greg Popovich) and [Warriors coach Steve Kerr] and [Celtics coach Ime Udoka] and all those guys and Kevin Durant...We did that some years before that with the (2019) World Cup, that was so awesome. I kind of feel like I did it a little bit, and I loved coaching those guys."

Wright, 60, retired as the head coach of Villanova's men's basketball program last week after 21 years, two National Championships, and a Final Four appearance this past season. 

He built the Wildcats into one of college basketball's powerhouses, but coming into the 2021-22 campaign, Wright felt he didn't have the same "edge" he believed he had in the past. That started the path toward retirement.

"Right now I definitely need a break," said Wright, who will remain at Villanova as a special assistant to the university president. 

Wright has garnered attention from the professional level in the past, and in his question about a potential NBA future, former NFL receiver and co-host Keyshawn Johnson even mentioned old rumors involving the Sixers and the Los Angeles Lakers' current coaching vacancy.

But Wright said he's focused on his new gig right now and knows he made the right call to retire when he did. Beyond that? Who knows. 

"Honestly down the road, I'd be lying, I don't know what I'm gonna feel like," he said. "I know I made the right decision because I don't think going into next year I'd be able to do the things I need to do to keep this program at a high level.

"But I'm gonna take this year and really throw myself into this position at Villanova and then see what's out there. I just didn't want to be the coach at Villanova and not be 100 percent in."

Hey, with his resume, NBA teams will definitely come calling if Wright wants a new job. (Maybe even the local one if things go completely south in the next week).

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