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Jay Wright: 'Nova Knicks' Have a 'Great Shot' at NBA Finals

Former Villanova Wildcats head coach Jay Wright is enthused at the championship chances of former proteges/current New York Knicks Jalen Brunson, Donte DiVincenzo, and Josh Hart.

Jay Wright believes his former Villanova Wildcat proteges are up to scratch when it comes to hanging with the NBA's finest.

This New York Knicks season has been built and defined by the efforts of Wright's disciples, as the ex-head coach and current CBS Sports college basketball analyst previously guided Jalen Brunson, Donte DiVincenzo, and Josh Hart to amateur glory just outside Philadelphia. 

Wright is presently preparing for more March Madness antics across CBS' family of networks, but gushed about what the Main Line trio have been able to accomplish in their first year of collaboration during an appearance on USA Today's "Sports Seriously."

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"It's cool when you see a night where all three of them score in double figures and the Knicks get a win and they're contending," Wright told host Tony Anderson. "I think they've got a great shot in the East to play for an NBA championship." 

"Obviously, they've got to get to get by the (Boston) Celtics and Milwaukee (Bucks) but I think they're going to play good enough basketball and playoff basketball to do it. It's really cool to watch the three of those guys playing together."

The antics of the "Nova Knicks" are headlined by Brunson, who continues to live up to and exceed every expectation a $104 million contract placed upon him in 2022. 

Hart, a depth star who came over at last year's trade deadline, has been exceptional in overtime work brought about by injuries to OG Anunoby and Julius Randle, fully vindicating a five-year commitment made over the offseason. DiVincenzo came over from Golden State and has firmly established a lasting role in the Knicks' starting five with a career-best season that has him standing among the Association's finest in three-point shooting.  

Wright is used to victorious get-togethers on Madison Square Garden's famed hardwood thanks to the annual Big East Men's Basketball Tournament: with a little help from the aforementioned trio, Wright's efforts helped Villanova become the first program in the history of the competition to win three in a row, part of five won between 2015 and 2022. Along with Jim Calhoun and John Thompson, Wright is one of only three head coaches to prevail in five Big East visits to Manhattan.

Ironically enough, Brunson, DiVincenzo, and Hart face the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday night (7:30 p.m. ET, TNT), which will serve as the Knicks' final game at MSG before the Big East's annual descent on Wednesday.