Villanova’s Jay Wright amongst 14 finalists for Basketball Hall of Fame

Jay Wright Villanova
Villanova head coach Jay Wright led the Wildcats to two NCAA Tournament national championships.
Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

Villanova head coach Jay Wright, NBA stars Chris Bosh and Paul Pierce, and WNBA great Lauren Jackson are among the 14 finalists for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame’s Class of 2021.

Those four are among the nine first-time finalists up for election, along with five previous finalists.

The Class of 2021 will be unveiled on May 16 and the enshrinement ceremony is scheduled for September.

Wright has carved out his Hall-of-Fame resume in Philadelphia at Villanova for the last 20 years, coming by way of Hofstra University on Long Island. He’s led the Wildcats to two NCAA Tournament national championships and has won 675 of his 802 career triumphs at Villanova.

There’s little time for the 59-year-old to revel in being up for consideration as his program is set to take on the winner of No. 8 Georgetown and No. 9 Marquette on Thursday in the Big East Tournament quarterfinals.

Bosh was an 11-time All-Star and two-time NBA champion. Pierce made 10 All-Star teams and was a Finals MVP; Jackson was a seven-time WNBA All-Star and three-time MVP.

The other first-time finalists are: Rick Adelman, the ninth-winningest coach in NBA history; five-time champion and five-time All-Defensive Team selection Michael Cooper; seven-time WNBA All-Star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Yolanda Griffith; NCAA national champion and WNBA Coach of the Year Marianne Stanley; and Bill Russell as the first Black NBA head coach (he was inducted as a player in 1975).

Previous finalists up for consideration again are Leta Andrews, the all-time winningest high school coach; five-time NBA All-Star Tim Hardaway; consensus collegiate Player of the Year Marques Johnson; four-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year Ben Wallace; and five-time NBA All-Star Chris Webber.

“While our timeline of events over the past year has been adaptable and reimagined due to the global pandemic, we have never wavered in our commitment to renovating our beautiful museum and recognizing the greats of the game who deserve to be immortalized there,” Hall of Fame chairman Jerry Colangelo said in a release. “Revealing the finalists for the Class of 2021 today is an exciting step towards honoring the men and women who have contributed greatly to the game we celebrate.”

The Hall of Fame’s Class of 2020 enshrinement ceremony was delayed and relocated from Springfield, Mass., due to COVID-19. It will take place at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut from May 14-16.