Many of Mike Francesa’s predictions are taken with a grain of salt. But not this one.
The WFAN legend’s ties to Jay Wright is well-documented. The recently-retired Villanova coach has been on Francesa’s shows and podcasts many times and they have a friendship dating back to Wright’s days at Hofstra. So Francesa has genuine insights into Wright, which make comments on his latest BetRivers podcast noteworthy.
Francesa believes Wright, 60, will coach again and he would be “surprised” if he does not take an NBA job at some point.
“I think it’s the same as it always is,” Francesa said. “When you’re great at something, when you found your life’s calling, when you had great success at the thing you were meant to do in life. Then you try to stay away, you try to find other interests. If you don’t find it, you come back. I think Jay will be the same.”
(Is Francesa also talking about himself?)
Wright said he was done coaching when he stepped down in April after leading the Wildcats to another Final Four. But the two-time national champion then pushed the door back open a bit in subsequent comments and did not rule out the NBA in the future.
“Forget college. I don’t think Jay will coach college again,” Francesa said. “I think the new rules and the new protocols (NIL, the transfer portal) in college play away from what Jay does. Jay wants to develop players, and the game is played away from that with what’s going on with these recruiting protocols, it plays away from developing and having teams that are based over three or four years of development. But I don’t think there is any question Jay is going to be an extremely hot property for the NBA.”
Wright has been a perpetual 76ers coaching candidate and there seems to be a good chance Doc Rivers will move on after the Sixers are eliminated from the playoffs. But the timing is bad. But if you’re the Nets or the Knicks, you are already working on your pitch.
“It will be very hard for him,” Francesa said. “Very, very hard for him to continue at a young age and healthy and vibrant — and Jay is every bit of that — I think it will be very hard for him to resist the NBA for long. I would be surprised if he doesn’t coach in the NBA.”
James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]