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Dick's Tidbits: 'Nova has Wright man for job


Oct. 24
This weekend, Villanova will have a special event, bringing back the school's basketball legends.

Guys like Paul Arizin, Howard Porter, Wali Jones, Bill Melchionni and Ed Pinckney -- along with former coaches Jack Kraft and Rollie Massimino -- are scheduled to attend.

Now it's time for the Jay Wright era at Villanova.
Porter was brilliant in teaming up with Chris Ford to help the Wildcats to the final game in 1971 before falling to a UCLA team led by Sidney Wicks, Curtis Rowe and Henry Bibby. Pinckney and the '85 squad provided many memories, cutting down the nets in Lexington, Ky., with the perfect game against Georgetown and Patrick Ewing.

Now it's time for the Jay Wright era at Villanova. Fans there are very excited about the new coach. The Wildcats are trying to get the big-time edge at home, with DuPont Pavilion rocking.

Something tells me Villanova is going to build something special. Wright is creating magic on campus and he is a wizard in recruiting. Just check out what he has done already for next season: He has commitments from 6-foot-7 Curtis Sumpter of Brooklyn and 6-1 point guard Allan Ray of St. Raymond's in the Bronx.

You can see that Wright and his staff have worked around the clock to make sure Villanova basketball is in the public eye, especially in the New York metropolitan area. Now you know why Wright was considered a hot name in coaching circles when he built a middle-major program like Hofstra into great respectability.

There are limited expectations for this season, though the Big East lacks a truly dominant team like a Duke or Maryland in the ACC. That could bode well for the 'Cats. The future of the program is very bright with a guy like Wright in charge.

Down in Gainesville, Fla., I can hear cries about the Florida facility now in place for the men's and women's basketball teams.

The practice facility is a $10 million, state-of-the-art building. There are practice courts for each team, coach's offices, conference rooms and lounges that blow you away. There are great weight-training rooms where the kids can develop a bond and a sense of pride.

I can hear cries from other coaches across America that this is a recruiting tool for Billy Donovan and his staff.

Like he needs any help with recruiting. Look at the class he has brought in for next season already: Anthony Roberson, the standout guard from Saginaw, Mich.; forward Matt Walsh from Germantown, Pa.; Mario Boggan, the 6-7 banger inside; and 6-4 guard Rashid Al-Kaleem from the Boston area.

Donovan can sell with the best of them. This new facility should keep the Gators coach happy.

Let's salute Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley; he's not afraid to spend the megabucks as an investment. What he has done to keep Steve Spurrier and Donovan happy is a good return on the dollar.

I've said it many times -- the best coaching combination in the two major revenue sports, basketball and football, is Spurrier and Donovan. You couldn't get a better tandem, baby!

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