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April 4, 2016
Villanova - 77, North Carolina - 74
THE MODERATOR: We are joined by Villanova. Coach will begin with an opening statement.
COACH WRIGHT: It's an honor to receive this trophy. I have a great respect for Jim Haney and our National Association of Basketball Coaches. This is our convention this weekend, which that's what I'm usually doing. I'm usually at the convention during the Final Four. I take great pride in being a part of that organization, the National Association of Basketball Coaches. To have Jim present this is really nice and it means a lot to me personally.
I also want to start by saying that was one of the great college basketball games we've ever been a part of. We all have great respect for North Carolina. We didn't just beat a great team, which this team is, but a great program, classy program.
Before they determined that shot was good, Roy came right up to me and said, I'm really disappointed for our guys, that was a great game, but I'm really happy for you.
I know he means that. He's a coach's coach. He's got a great team. Some of those seniors, Brice Johnson and Marcus Paige, were just great examples of what you want college basketball players to be. They played with class, won with class, and lost tonight with class. We have great respect and admiration for them.
For our guys, you know, you're like a parent when you're a coach. I just couldn't be prouder, couldn't be happier to see them enjoy this and fulfill their dreams. That's what it's all about for a coach, just to see their eyes, to see their satisfaction, their enjoyment. There's no better feeling in the world for a coach or a parent.
THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for the student-athletes only at this time.
Q. Ryan, you have talked a lot about the connection that you have with the '85 team. It's often said they played the perfect game. You might have the greatest game ever. What is that like? Can you put into words what those last five seconds were like for you?
RYAN ARCIDIACONO: First off, Coach Wright does a great job of keeping former players around the program. So they're always around us, every single time, from the early 2000s. It's a great honor to be in that class with the '85 team. Just to know we'll be kind of in the same sentence is an honor.
But the last five seconds, starting with Marcus Paige's shot, unbelievable shot. Daniel went for a lose ball. To make a double-clutch shot is just unbelievable. Great player, great competitor.
We drew up a play, we knew what play we were going to at the end of the game, because we work on it every single day in practice. I wanted to be aggressive. If I could get a shot, I was going to shoot it. But I heard someone screaming in the back of my head. It was Kris. I just gave it to him and he let it go with confidence.
Q. Arch, how fitting is it to you, how rewarding, that the final time you touched the ball as a Villanova basketball player, was an assist to set up the winning shot in the national championship game?
RYAN ARCIDIACONO: I mean, it just happened to be me on that play. I think it could have been Jalen, it could have been Phil. Coach just had me in that situation throughout the year. It was just an honor to run that play.
But I think maybe it just shows how much confidence we have in each other, we were just trying to find the right shot.
Q. Arch, how did you get Jim Nantz' tie? If you could describe what Jay said and how you guys kind of reacted in the huddle before the final play.
RYAN ARCIDIACONO: First, we were walking off the floor and the team was walking off the floor. Jim Nantz came up to me, stopped me. I just thanked him for a great tournament, everything he did.
He said at the end of the tournament I always go to the winning team and I pick a senior who has inspired him throughout the tournament. He gives him the tie at the end. He said it was me. I was in awe. I didn't know what to say. It was just a great honor from a really nice person.
The last play, we were just calm in the huddle honestly. We knew what we were going to do and we just executed.
Q. Kris, what were you screaming in Arch's ear? Your coach said you live for those shots. Why?
KRIS JENKINS: Well, when was I screaming at Archie? When?
RYAN ARCIDIACONO: At the end. All I heard was, Arch, Arch, Arch.
KRIS JENKINS: I was able to get in his vision. I was open, so I was screaming at him.
For him to be so unselfish and give up the ball, you know, it just shows what type of teammate he is, what type of person he is.
You know, we put a lot of work in. This team, everybody has the confidence to catch and shoot. So when Arch threw me the ball, one, two step, shoot 'em up, sleep in the streets.
Q. Kris, your coach said on the court that you said in the huddle that you were going to be open. Do you recall that? What are you thinking prior to that play, thinking could you be the one to take that shot?
KRIS JENKINS: Well, I always take the ball up. So from previous games I realize when I take the ball out, the ball gets up the court, the defenders usually follow the ball.
I knew when I gave Arch the ball, he was going to be aggressive. They were going to try to take Arch away because he's hit big shots in his career.
When they all followed the ball, I just knew if I got in his line of vision, he would find me.
Q. Kris, Nate said if you won, you wouldn't hear the end of it. I'm sure this summer is going to be a tough one in the house. How do you go home and handle Nate?
KRIS JENKINS: I'm not going to say too much to him tomorrow, but tonight I'm going to be right at him, that's for sure (smiling). I read that comment, I said, Oh, man.
Q. Kris, what does it mean not only to hit that shot, but you said you didn't want anything more but to beat your brother, but to be the one who actually did it?
KRIS JENKINS: We did it as a team. We fought the whole game. Fouls called against us, shots not going in. You know, this team, we accept coaching, we listen to Coach Wright and our coaching staff.
We've gotten better all year. The first half, we didn't play Villanova basketball. But for us to make the adjustments that coach told us to make, for us to just go out there and compete, man, we played hard.
This team, we gave it all we had. Today we were just, you know, lucky to hit the shot at the end.
Q. Ryan, I'm a little confused. You said you ran a play, but you also make it sound like it was a bit of an improvisation on the last thing. Was it a play, improvisation or what?
RYAN ARCIDIACONO: No, it was a play. It's what we do every single day in practice. Daniel set the screen for me because they let the ball come in. I was going to be aggressive off the screen. Kris did a great job of sprinting into the play. Once I heard him, I just flipped it to him. So that's definitely part of the play.
Q. When you were dribbling up towards the basket, did you think you were going to take the shot or were you going to plan to kick it to Kris?
RYAN ARCIDIACONO: We work on that play every single day in practice. I'm always the one with the ball. I think coach has confidence in me and my teammates have confidence in me. I was trying to be aggressive.
It's not about me taking the right shot, it's about me making the right read. I think I just did that.
Q. Daniel, you mopped the floor yourself. One of your coaches said one of your mottos is, Be the best street sweeper you can be. Is that what you were doing there?
DANIEL OCHEFU: Definitely. I knew the little kid was having a hard time. I knew exactly where I had to set the screen. I didn't want to slip. I didn't want Arch to slip. The kid was having a hard time.
I'm the one that dove, so I left a big wet spot on it. So I was, like, make sure the floor is dry. Thank God we didn't slip on that (smiling).
Q. Kris, how frustrating was it being in early foul trouble? How did it affect your play when you got back in the game?
KRIS JENKINS: I mean, I always want to be out there with my guys, but there was no frustration. Next man up. We have so much faith and confidence in each other. I just knew that if we kept the game close, when I got back in there, we were going to make a run for it.
Q. Daniel, the last five seconds, Kris' shot, obviously was the game winner. It was your defense really, especially in the second half, that really made the difference. Can you describe what you guys did differently in the second half.
DANIEL OCHEFU: I mean, we just recommitted to Villanova basketball, you know, in the locker room. We did something we don't normally do. We asked everybody, all the managers, all the coaches, everybody to leave the locker room. Guys was getting on each other.
We came out. Coach Wright was on us. All the coaches were on us. We were on each other. We got back to Villanova basketball. We started defending better, started rebounding the ball better. We just got it done.
Q. Kris, what was it like facing your brother in a national championship game with millions watching? Have you heard from your family? Do you expect your mother to be more happy for you or do you think she's going to try to keep Nate's spirits up?
KRIS JENKINS: Nate is my brother. I love him. To play against each other in the national championship, it was something special for our family. I'm happy that we won, for sure, so I don't have to hear him talk smack.
But, you know, no, our family was neutral the whole game I'm pretty sure. They're going to be there for Nate, be there for me the same. So that's it.
Q. Daniel, you guys were talking yesterday about the Villanova way of playing basketball. The way you guys took ownership of the locker room at halftime and paid attention to detail in those final seconds, is that kind of a reflection of everything you worked for for four years?
DANIEL OCHEFU: Definitely. Our biggest word we use in this program is 'attitude.' Myself, a lot of guys, Arch to start with, we weren't blocking defensively and we were taking some crazy shots offensively. We set the tone. That's how the team played in the first half.
In the second half, you know, I looked at Arch, I looked at myself, said, Yeah, we got to pick it up. Thank God we did. Everybody stepped up to the plate.
That's the Villanova way. If something isn't going right, we don't hang our heads, don't feel bad for ourselves, just attitude and next play.
THE MODERATOR: We'd like to congratulate the student-athletes.
We'll continue with questions for Coach Wright.
Q. A lot of things happened in this game that you probably expected. Tough on the offensive boards for you. Some things unexpected. They were better at three than they usually are. Was it playing with your mind when you were in halftime, how am I going to sort this one out?
COACH WRIGHT: We actually went into the game saying that this is a great team that plays inside. But these guards can get it going, too.
We didn't go in there saying, This is just a team that has big guys. We said as a group, We're going to have to adjust within the game, because they all can really play. They share the ball really well.
So we didn't know exactly what was going to happen, but we knew we could have had to adjust to post play, we could have had to adjust to perimeter play. I don't think we thought they would shoot it that well from three, but we knew they could shoot it from three.
Q. It's been 20, 30 minutes. What was the feeling like when not just the shot went through, but you realized it was real? How does it feel now, national championships first time since '85?
COACH WRIGHT: You know, it is still surreal. I don't think I've really digested this yet. I really don't. I'm still in my coaching mind, making sure we handle things properly, making sure we cut down the net correctly, we take care of our responsibilities here. I don't think this has hit me yet.
It's amazing. It's amazing to be out there watching One Shining Moment, standing up on the stage, seeing those kids cut down the net. I don't really think I have the words to explain it.
Q. Your reaction was just to say, bang, walk over to Roy. How did you not react beyond that in that moment? Were you that confident that what you had drawn up in the huddle was going to work?
COACH WRIGHT: About my reaction, when you're a coach, you're always thinking about the next play. I was really thinking, Is there going to be more time on the clock? I'm the adult. I got all these 18- and 22-year-olds around me. They're going to go crazy, and I'm going to have to get them gathered up here and we're going to have to defend a play with .7 seconds. That's what I was thinking.
Then Roy came up to me while I was still waiting to see if it was real. We embraced and had a really nice talk.
Then I went to Terry, the official. I said, Is this done or is it not?
He goes, I think it's good, but it's not official.
So I was really just in coaching mode, you know.
Q. What did you say to the guys in the huddle?
COACH WRIGHT: We do practice that. We have certain plays with less than four seconds, from four to seven seconds. Every coach has this. Zero to four, four to seven, seven to 12. We have plays. So we know what it is. We practice it every day.
I didn't have to say anything in the huddle. We have a name for it, that's what we're going to do. Just put everybody in their spots.
I'll tell you what. Kris Jenkins' explanation was brilliant. That's what I said to him when he was walking out. Because he's the last option because he's the inbounder. If he can catch up with Arch and get ahead of him and get in his vision, that's your last look.
But the first look is Arch, then Josh Hart is screening for Phil Booth. He's last look. For him to realize that the inbounder wasn't staying with him, he's one of the smartest basketball players we've ever had.
Q. You said when you came in here this is one of the greatest games in college basketball. Why do you think that? Do you think this will stand the test of time 20 years from now like the '85 perfect game has?
COACH WRIGHT: Yeah, I just think it was so exciting to watch, both teams making great plays. They had a great first half. We had a great second half. Neither one of us could break each other.
The plays they made down the stretch, they executed. When they got down at the end, they executed everything perfectly. Even to the point, when they needed it, when they had the ball with 13 seconds, we were in a defense that does not allow threes. We were going to give up a two. We were going to foul with under five seconds.
Daniel Ochefu goes for that steal, and Marcus Paige has the intelligence to not go by him and shoot a two, but to pull up, hit a three. Then we execute.
That was just great college basketball. Two great teams.
In a national championship game, to hit a shot at the buzzer, I mean, I haven't seen many better than that.
Q. In a game that would not be a heavyweight title fight with the last punch being the knock-out at the very end, Phil Booth might have had the biggest shot at the end with that fade away. He was doing that the whole game. Reserves a lot of times, the moment is a little big for them on this stage, but not him.
COACH WRIGHT: He also hit two big free throws, too.
You know what, he did that as a freshman last year. Last year in the game against NC State, he had a great game. I had a decision at the end of the game, we had a decision at the end of the game, do we stick with the freshman, or we had a senior, Dylan Ennis, when the freshman was really playing well.
We went with the upperclassman.
Phil never complained, never said a word.
He was feeling it in this game. We had a decision in the end. Do we go with the guy coming off the bench or Jalen Brunson, the starter, who had a great year. This time we went with Phil and it worked out.
Q. I saw you after the game walking on the court with your arm around Coach Massimino. What was it like to be able to share that experience with him?
COACH WRIGHT: Very rewarding for me. Everyone in coaching has to be given a chance by somebody. You don't have internships or apprenticeships in coaching where you learn the craft. Somebody has to give you the opportunity, then they have to spend the time with you to teach you. He did that for me.
To share this with him, our Villanova people love him. He's a magical figure. So to be able to share this with him...
We did a Westwood One interview with John Thompson. That's where it was going. It was awesome with those two. I love that stuff. I still remember the days when they were going against each other. So it was really rewarding for me.
Q. They're going to love you now, too.
COACH WRIGHT: I hope so (smiling).
Q. Again, about the execution down the stretch, reflects everything you taught in your program. Address what it meant to have mature guys like that in that position being able to pull it off.
COACH WRIGHT: Yeah, it was even rewarding just listening to them explain it here. Because Ryan knows the play is to put people in positions where the man with the ball knows exactly where everybody's going to be, and then you trust. You have to have a guy that you trust to make the right decision, not be selfish, want to be the star himself. And that's Ryan.
You got to have a guy that can make the shot, be smart enough to know where everybody is going to be, and a guy that can make free throws if he gets fouled. That's Ryan. The backup guy to him is Jalen if Ryan's not available.
He's made that play a lot of times. We run it with four to seven seconds. He's made it a lot of times. He's missed it a lot.
The other part of that is you got to have a guy that, when he misses that shot, it's not going to crush him. And Ryan is so mentally strong.
Kris' explanation was perfect, exactly what he saw, and that's why he was open.
Q. The significance of you and your program winning the first national championship for the new Big East Conference.
COACH WRIGHT: Yeah, I'm really, really happy for the Big East. I'm really proud of them. You know, we got beat this year by Providence. We got beat by Seton Hall. We got beat by Xavier. It's very obvious any one of those teams could be here.
We're a new entity that college basketball just is trying to figure out, you know. And I just hope the power five sees a value in us as a part of all of this in basketball.
We want to keep up with the power five. We want to do everything they're doing, just do it in basketball. I hope this gives us a place at the table because basketball is really important to all these schools.
I hope the power five schools can see that we're really important to college basketball, the league.
THE MODERATOR: We'd like to thank Coach Wright for joining us.
COACH WRIGHT: I want to thank everyone in Houston, too. Houston police getting us through traffic were unbelievable. Everybody in our hotel was great. The town of Houston, we had a great time, and everyone treated us really well. Thank you.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports