How Jay Wright sustains the Villanova culture and the resulting success
05 April, 2018, 02:03 | Author: Rosalie Gross
Not all too long ago, Jay Wright was still one of those many standout coaches without a national championship despite repeated winning seasons and appearances in the NCAA Tournament.
"I knew we were good, but you don't think, 'We can win this.' After the West Virginia game, I knew we had a shot", Wright said.
Villanova sophomore guard Donte DiVincenzo captivated the country with his 31-point outburst in Monday night's title game victory over MI, drawing rave reviews from the likes of even LeBron James.
DiVincenzo finished with 31 points - a title game record - plus five rebounds and two emphatic blocked shots. I was just trying to make the right play. "I didn't know how many points I had, I didn't know any of that. And Omari [Spellman] was setting great screens and getting me open".
The sophomore guard dropped in 18 points on 8-10 shooting before halftime, providing almost half of Villanova's scoring as they went into the locker room up 37-28.
The top-seeded Wildcats (36-4) won by margins of 26, 23, 12, 12, 16 and 17. He made the best of it as a sixth man. Wright waited all of 52 seconds in the second half to get him back on the floor. Jalen Brunson, the national player of the year, can suppress his game, watch his playing time shrink and still marvel.
"When I looked at their scores in the NCAA Tournament, there were not even any close ones", Michigan Coach John Beilein said. "I wish we would have maybe gone out and doubled him or something".
DiVincenzo was 5-of-7 from the 3-point line.
DiVincenzo is a sneaky good athlete who shoots the three-ball at a 39.5 percent clip which would be good enough to lead most teams. "It was an incredible performance".
"I'd love to win a national championship for those guys, for the University of MI, for all those great students, all of our alums", said Beilein, who officially just assumed the mantle as the best active coach without a title. So, it wasn't really a surprise when DiVincenzo said he was most proud of the two blocks in the title game than the game-high 31 points on 10-for-15 shooting. But Brett Brown has seen "The Process" through to a playoff spot this year, and seeing the future fruits of it should happen until further notice. Numerous key players for the Wildcats have redshirted and used that time to develop.
"Unfortunately a Twitter account belonging to Donte DiVincenzo was hacked tonight", Villanova said in a statement.
But even with Monday's Cinderella story game, Deadline Hollywood noted that "fans aren't tuning in at the rate they did a year ago".
With Bridges probably heading to the National Basketball Association and Brunson and potentially Spellman following him, DiVincenzo could become the go-to guy on next season's Villanova team.
That DiVincenzo badly wanted to crack this starting lineup illustrates how deep this team really is.
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It started with 18 points in the first half, many of which came after the sluggish start that left the Wildcats trailing 21-14. No. 3 MI tried to fight back, but DiVencenzo kept hitting shot-after-shot to keep the Wildcats on top.
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