Villanova coach Jay Wright is a closet fan of the Knicks — and of course a big fan of his former point guard Ryan Arcidiacono, who helped lead the Wildcats to the first of Wright’s NCAA championships in 2016.
And so when news broke that “Ryan Arch,” as he is known, had agreed to a 10-day contract with the New York Knicks via the hardship exemption, Wright texted his former floor general and the two had an extended talk.
“This is awesome and I’m psyched for you,” Wright told Arcidiacono.
Wright, recently inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame, knows Knicks President Leon Rose from their time together in Philadelphia and on the Jersey Shore. And Wright said the 6-foot-3 Arcidiacono is Rose’s type of player.
“We always talk in the summer when we see each other around Philly or the Jersey Shore about guys and about basketball and I know Leon looks at the game very similar to Ryan Arcidiacono,” Wright said Tuesday on a video call with reporters.
“He likes tough-minded, unselfish talented skilled team players and I know Tom Thibodeau does also. I think those two are a great pair, a great team and I know that Ryan will fit into that culture extremely well and be proud to be a part of it.”
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Arcidiacono went undrafted out of Villanova and then spent time in the NBA G League before spending parts of four seasons with the Chicago Bulls, where he averaged 4.8 points and 2.2 assists.
Per reports, Arcidiacono can’t officially join the Knicks until later this week due to them already having two other hardship players on 10-day contracts.
He is expected to provide insurance at the point guard spot with Derrick Rose out with ankle surgery and Kemba Walker day-to-day with general knee soreness.
Arcidiacono would become the ninth former Villanova players in the NBA — yet none are one-and-dones, which speaks to player development under Wright and his staff.
“I’m a closet Knicks fan from having lived up there all the years I love my Sixers but I’m really excited for him and I know Ryan’s really excited to be a part of that organization,” Wright said.