By Harry Allison
Villanova’s Jay Wright has been the Cats coach since 2001, and he has made three Final Fours and won two NCAA titles.
But because of the pandemic he feels like a stranger in a strange land, like the rest of us.
“I’m concerned anyway just because of all of the time we’ve missed,” Wright said Thursday.
“With COVID and [getting] back late, we didn’t do anything this summer. We’re definitely not where we would be at this time of the year, in a normal sense, but you have no idea where anybody else is either.”
The team also cannot scrimmage anybody, or bring in referees due to COVID-testing requirements on Villanova’s campus. Right now, they are focused on staying healthy and playing a full season. Wright noted that if the schedule is affected by COVID, there are plans in place to deal with that.
“My hope is that our guys stay disciplined and we pull through this, and we get all our games in,” Wright said. “We’re planning that if some of our games get canceled, we’re communicating with other schools so we have backups. Getting to 13 [games] is an important goal. I think every program when they get to 13 is going to breathe a sigh of relief, and then go from there.”
For their upcoming game against Boston College next Wednesday at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut, the Wildcats need to follow a new routine.
“We’re leaving on Monday for a Wednesday game, which we wouldn’t normally do,” Wright said. “We have to test here, and then we have to get up there in time to test on Monday night. Then we have to quarantine in our rooms and eat meals individually in our rooms that night, so all unique experiences.”
These individual experiences before game-time will be new for the ‘Cats, who draw a lot of their success from the community that Wright has formed within the team. Nonetheless, the players are still excited for the season.
“All of us, players coaches, are more excited and anticipate the start of this season more than any season we’ve been involved with,” Wright said.