Villanova men’s basketball coach Jay Wright talks team spirit, winning an Olympic gold medal and what he’s most looking forward to this year.
Jay Wright has been coach of Villanova men’s basketball since 2001.
You can add Olympic gold medalist to the already impressive list of accomplishments for Villanova men’s basketball coach Jay Wright. This summer, he traveled to Tokyo to serve as assistant coach of Team USA men’s basketball alongside head coach Gregg Popovich and NBA players Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Damian Lillard. His dream of “bringing back the gold” came true when Team USA earned its fourth consecutive Olympic men’s basketball championship by defeating France in the final game 87-82.
With the Olympics behind him, Wright is ready to get back to business for Villanova basketball season. He says that, despite unprecedented challenges, this year’s team is incredibly close.
Wright is known for his sideline style.
“Believe it or not, team spirit and chemistry was really easy this year, because we didn’t have any distractions. During quarantines, the players were separated in the dorms but on Zoom all the time. When we were able to go on the road [together], the guys all lived together in a pod, so they became even closer. The team chemistry and spirit were probably the best we’ve ever had, because of COVID.”
At the Villanova victory parade in 2018.
Wright is equally optimistic about the level of talent. “We have two great seniors coming back from their extra senior year—Collin Gillespie and Jermaine Samuels. And Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree possibly, if he gets healthy [from injuries]. We have a lot of great freshmen coming in. We worked out all summer to be prepared for the fall.”
Basketball aside, Wright is looking forward to simply being back at Villanova. “I had missed being outside on campus, being able to talk to Villanova students and faculty… Having students and fans at the games, we missed that.”