Jay Wright brought together a lot of Philadelphia history for his induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball of Fame, writes Pat Ralph for PhillyVoice.
Wright, from Bucks County, was exposed to the sport early, through the Big Five and the Sixers’ NBA championship in 1967.
In the 1980s, he coached at Drexel before joining Rollie Massimino’s Villanova staff.
By 2001, he was Villanova’s head coach and, in the last 20 years, has:
- Led the Villanova Wildcats to 12 Big 5 titles
- 15 NCAA Tournament appearances
- Eight Big East regular season titles
- Four conference tournament titles
- Three Final four appearances
- Two national championships
- One Olympic gold for the U.S. men’s national team
The four Hall of Famers presenting Wright Saturday had Philadelphia basketball ties of their own.
“I wanted to go with the guys from my hometown that were a part of my Philadelphia basketball upbringing,” Wright said.
Herb Magee recruited him out of high school. Charles Barkley was a good friend and one of the greatest basketball players ever. Billy Cunningham was great friends with Massimino, who brought a championship to Philly. And George Raveling is “one of the great Villanova legends of all time,” Wright said.
Read more about Jay Wright at PhillyVoice.
See Jay Wright’s Hall of Fame speech.