Wright State basketball: Nagy’s tell-it-like-it-is style doesn’t always go over well

FAIRBORN — Wright State coach Scott Nagy is no fan of post-game interviews — not the ones he does, but those he watches on TV.

The way he sees it, they almost always consist of softball questions and predictable responses from coaches.

“I sit there and think, ‘Why are you asking these questions when you already know the answers to them?’” he said.

Anyone looking for the usual fluff from Nagy would be in for a surprise.

Throughout his seven years, the media have always been able to count on getting the unvarnished truth from him — no matter what the subject.

“I’ve made it my goal — on purpose—to not be full of clichés,” he said. “But it’s gotten me in trouble sometimes because I speak pretty honestly.”

Players looking to be coddled came to the wrong school. Fans hoping to hear nothing but superlatives about their team will be sorely disappointed.

“Sometimes people don’t like it,” Nagy said. “Sometimes they don’t like the truth. You’ve just got to tell people things are OK all the time so they feel better.”

Nagy, though, is aware of his weaknesses — often chastising himself for not being more positive. But he can’t help it.

Wright State staffers might cringe when they hear his take on playing on ESPN2 against Detroit Mercy last week, which would seem to be a boon for the program.

Asked if it would help with exposure and recruiting, Nagy said he sees no difference between playing on ESPN2 or ESPN+, which requires an online subscription.

“All these games are on national TV anyway. Are there more people watching ESPN2 than ESPN+? I don’t know,” he said.

“You get maybe more professional announcers. Other than that, they’re all the same.”

Scheduling woes: For the second straight season, the Raiders will finish the regular-season with the same amount of road games as home games, which isn’t ideal.

Almost all Division-I programs shoot for more of the latter in hopes of bolstering their record. But the Raiders will have 14 of each (they went 2-1 in neutral-site games).

“It’s just not very easy because no one wants to come and play here,” Nagy said. “But it’s better than where I came from.”

He was coach at South Dakota State for 21 years, leading the program from D-II to D-I.

“We were almost all road games (in the non-league season). The last year before I left there, we played four home non-conference games — and two were non-D-I,” he said.

“We couldn’t get anyone to come there. Here, you can get Akron and Miami (in a series). But at South Dakota State, it was impossible because all the D-I schools around you were in your league.”

Getting more home games against reputable foes without having to return the visit would require a hefty payout.

“People at our level are probably making $60,000 or $70,000,” Nagy said. “It gets to the point where, financially, it’s not worth it. There’s not enough draw (gate receipts).”

The Raiders had 15 home games and 14 on the road last year after playing the Horizon League quarterfinals in the Nutter Center.

But they had a better mix in 2019-20 with 16 home games and 12 in opposing arenas — and went 25-7.

“If you’re going to play a team like Southern out of Louisiana in here, nobody connects with them. You could play a D-II school like Central State and get more people here. It’s not an easy fix at all,” Nagy said.

Been there, done that: Amari Davis is making his first trip back to Green Bay since starring for the Phoenix as a freshman and sophomore.

He averaged 15.9 and 17.2 points in his two seasons, becoming the program’s first Horizon League freshman of the year and then making the all-league second team in 2020-21.

“It’ll be a good experience,” he said. “But I’m with Wright State now. That’s just the other green team.

“I’m looking forward to going back there and playing against them.”

He transferred to Missouri as a junior and was the team’s third-leading scorer with a 9.0 average. He’s averaging 11.8 points for the Raiders.

Asked if any former teammates are still there, he said: “They’re all gone. They have a whole new team now.”

THURSDAY’S GAME

Wright State at Green Bay, 8 p.m., ESPN+, 980

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