Mere hours after Kris Jenkins delivered perhaps the greatest shot in college basketball history, Fox Sports college basketball analyst Vin Parise dropped by CBS Sports Radio, still trying to put into words what he had witnessed.
“What a classic last night,” a stunned Parise said on Gio and Jones. That’s going to be one we’re going to talk about for decades. Forget about years. Just phenomenal.”
Indeed, Villanova outlasted North Carolina, 77-74, on Monday to win its first national title since 1985. Four Wildcats finished in double figures, including Jenkins, who scored 14, Ryan Arcidiacono, who had 16, and Phil Booth, who scored a team-high 20 off the bench. Villanova coughed up a 10-point lead in the final minutes but won on Jenkins’ last-second heroics.
The Wildcats finish the year 35-5 and are now 68-8 over the last two seasons.
As for Jay Wright, well, the haters have been silenced. Yes, Wright was criticized for going six years without a Sweet 16. Now that he has a national title, however, Wright, 54, will remain at Villanova for as long as he wants.
“Oh, no doubt,” Parise said. “I think it’s two angles now with Jay. First off, he’s looked at as an elite defensive coach and an elite X-and-O coach now. He’s always been known as a great coach, but I think the good looks, the nice suits, the unbelievable recruiting – I don’t think he ever got enough credit for being an X-and-O, grind-it-out guy. I think this raised his profile in that way. Personally, I feel that he’s going to be an institution at this school. Whether it’s (Jim) Boeheim at Syracuse or Jim Calhoun at Connecticut, I really think he is. He loves the place. He met his wife at Villanova. his wife was a Villanova cheerleader. I really don’t think he’s leaving.
“However, this was a game-changer for him personally as well,” Parise continued. “You’re going to hear this guy mentioned now with NBA jobs, being the next maybe Billy Donovan to jump and move. You’re going to hear this guy mentioned the next time Kentucky becomes open if (John) Calipari leaves. I think this puts him into that top-five, Izzo-Calipari class of guys. However, I don’t think he’s leaving. I think they’re going to have statues for him on that campus one day.”