Bucks: Ranking 6 replacements for Budenholzer after playoff meltdown (Updated)

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 04 (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 04 (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks
Jay Wright, Villanova Wildcats. Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images /

Bucks coach replacement No. 5: Jay Wright

College coaches making the leap to the NBA have seen mixed results, although lately, those transitions have largely been positive ones. While the 1990s and early 2000s were littered with disappointing showings, in recent years Brad Stevens and Billy Donovan have been positive examples of looking to the college ranks for a coach (Fred Hoiberg, not so much).

Jay Wright retired a season ago from coaching college basketball and seems quite happy working as a studio analyst. Even so, Wright is just 62 years old, and the grind of coaching the college game (recruiting, NIL deals, working the transfer portal) is much different than the NBA. Wright might be enticed to return to coaching at the NBA level.

If so, he would bring a lot of championship experience. Wright was the head coach of the Villanova Wildcats for 21 seasons, building the program from mediocre to dominant. He led them to eight conference championships, four Final Fours, and two NCAA National Championships.

What’s more, Wright’s teams were known for their modern offenses as he embraced the 3-point shot and spaced the court. Many of his former players, such as Jalen Brunson, Mikal Bridges, and Josh Hart made the leap into the NBA and thrived early on. Wright would bring experience, fresh offensive concepts, and a different kind of voice to a team that may have tired from Budenholzer’s message.