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March 19, 2010
PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND
THE MODERATOR: We've got game 1 winner Villanova who advance to the second round with a 73-70 overtime win over Robert Morris. We are joined now by student-athletes Scottie Reynolds and Reggie Redding.
Q. Scottie, there's been a slide recently, I know, I know you guys are happy with your effort and the fact that you're getting better every day at practice, but is it frustrating not to be able to put together 40 good minutes of basketball?
SCOTTIE REYNOLDS: Yeah, I mean sometimes it is frustrating, but when you don't have the effort, that makes it even worse. When you have the effort there, game in and game out, that's what gives you a chance to be successful and be where you want to be and reach our goal. I think yesterday was a good example of us just -- we played really hard and if we were to lose to Robert Morris yesterday there would be no shame in that because they played just at hard. When you're done playing a game like that and you give everything you have, that's all you can ask for as a player.
Q. Reggie, you guys are playing a team tomorrow that's experienced and tall in the front court. Those are the kind of teams that over the course of the year have given you problems. You guys are not as experienced in the front court. How are you guys going to offset that and what else have you learned about St. Mary's going into this game?
REGGIE REDDING: Well, we know that they also have great guards that can really shoot it and they make plays for each other and they're a great passing team. They always make the extra pass to get to the open shot. But they have a great big man, Samhan, I think he had like 29 and 12, 13, something like that last night. But I think our big guys in our front court are coming along, Mouphtaou played well last night. We got a good effort from Maurice, and Antonio didn't really have the best game but he's going to come out tomorrow and he'll be able to compete with those big guys.
Q. Scottie, I don't know how much you've been able to look at St. Mary's, but that combination of bigs inside and great shooters, have you seen a team with that kind of combination this season?
SCOTTIE REYNOLDS: I don't know about this year, but usually over the past years they remind us of Notre Dame a little bit the way they can get out and drive the ball and make the extra pass. When they have a lane to the basket for a score they usually kick it out and that guy is wide open and he doesn't shoot it, he makes another pass and they just keep the defense moving. We can learn a lot from them and we have. We know it's going to be a tough game tomorrow, just because we see how hard they play. When you have skilled guys in every position, that's tough to guard.
Q. Scottie, obviously you've talked a lot about your family situation and everything. A lot of adopted children look up to you. Coach Wright said what he did with you yesterday was kind of an example for the rest of the team. How much pressure is there in being kind of such a role model and how do you deal with it?
SCOTTIE REYNOLDS: There's no pressure at all. I think that you want to be the best player you can be. You want to be the best person you can be. And that's what Coach Wright intends to do at Villanova is to push you and to drive you to be the best player you can be and do the same for you off the court and make you the best person you can be. He knows being in this game, playing, and being in the real world and coaching that the ball is going to stop bouncing one day and then your character and your pride and the person that you are is going to carry you much further than your basketball is going to.
He told us yesterday we might be able to look ten years past this game and us still go back to it and refer to it and see -- know what kind of game that was and everybody can learn from that throughout the years at Villanova and the teams that come through, they're going to remember that game last night.
Q. Yesterday at one point I think we counted like 12 in and outs, guys shuttling in and out of that game. It's been something that Jay has been doing all year long. I guess two parts again, do you guys understand when he's doing this what he's trying to get at? As players is it frustrating at times that it just keeps rotating in and out?
REGGIE REDDING: Well, it's not like it's a surprise to us. Coach Wright, he explained what he was trying to do. We got a talented group and we got depth and he was trying to use our depth to wear the other team down so we can be a little more, I guess -- we had more at the end of the games. But at first, and maybe for the younger guys, it's probably a little frustrating. But for me and Scottie being the leaders, even if it is frustrating we can't let that get to us, we've got to keep a good attitude.
And it's plain and simple, if you're out there and you're not playing hard or doing what Coach Wright what's you to do he's going to snatch you and put somebody else in that's going to do it. And he just keeps rotating. I think in some games, it really helped us this year.
SCOTTIE REYNOLDS: Like Reggie said, it's different because when you're younger you really don't understand, sometimes you think it's because of a mistake that you thought or -- you make a mistake and you think that's the reason why you're coming out. But Coach Wright sees something totally different. He tries to make that known to you, and as an older guy, he likes to -- if you go out there in the beginning of the game and you don't stick to the game plan or you do something that doesn't set the tone for our team for the whole game then he's going to make a point to the whole team.
He usually picks me or Reggie out, especially this year he picked me out a lot to sit out in the first half and things like that. And it's just to set the tone for the game and what we're trying to do and what we're trying to accomplish. And everybody has to understand that. He tries to make examples, especially out of his leaders. And you've got to be on all cylinders and that's about it.
Q. Scottie and Reggie, between the losing at the end of the season and three benchings with Taylor and you and Corey and the way you guys kind of played for most of the way yesterday, does it feel like things are kind of out of sorts at Villanova? Things aren't just running as smooth as they have been the last couple of years?
SCOTTIE REYNOLDS: No, it feels the same. I think a lot of people on the outside -- it's hard for people on the outside to understand what's going on with our team. And there ain't nothing wrong with our team. Like I just said about Coach subbing us out to make an example, he does the same thing off the court. And some of those teachings, it's just within our family. And it makes us better people, it makes us better players, and I think people on our side, it's hard for people to understand because they don't have the full story, they're not 100 percent in our inner circle and that's okay with us.
When we're on top when we're 20-1 everybody is praise go us, and we ask for it. And when we loss 5 of 7, we didn't ask for the negativity. We had to take the bad with the good, the good with the bad, and we move on from it.
Q. Reggie, you didn't get off to the start this year that you wanted to. How challenging was that, this being your senior year and everything?
REGGIE REDDING: I was just grateful just to have a chance to play this year, even if I only got half of the year to play. But I just wanted to come out and just show my teammates and my coaches how thankful I was and how happy I was to have the chance to play. And I wanted to come out and be a senior leader and do whatever I needed to do to win.
Q. Scottie, talk a little bit before about St. Mary's, you certainly seem pretty well versed in at Gaels, but before Sunday how much did you know of Omar Samhan and Mickey McConnell?
SCOTTIE REYNOLDS: I think when we had the Selection Sunday, somebody asked me about our bracket and our field and I saw St. Mary's so many times because they come on late at night and that's usually when we get home from practice and are watching film, about 10:00 at night. So that's the only thing really on TV. So we got to watch -- I did, the championship game against Gonzaga, a couple of other games within the conference. We saw them play. And you're just impressed with how they play and the different kind of guys they have, the different versatility they have.
They just are a real good team. A lot of people might say something about the athleticism or whatever, they know how to play the game of basketball. Their basketball IQ takes over your athleticism for most of the time.
Q. Scottie, two years ago you had a situation where you fell 18 behind Clemson and won. And then had a surprise team in the second round, like St. Mary's with an upset. Some similarities that you can draw between this or is it completely different?
SCOTTIE REYNOLDS: In a way there is some similarities. I think that when Abraham hit that four-point play, it was, we knew how difficult it was going to be to come back because coach referred to it today in practice, when I hit that banked 3 against Clemson, the four-point play, we were saying we've got this, we've got this. We knew they were saying the same thing and it was going to be tough for us to come back. For us to overcome that and us to have that will was special for us because we knew how bad they wanted it.
The Siena game, the upset kind of thing, I don't know that there's any similarity between the teams, but we know they're going to be ready to play tomorrow.
Q. Just wanted to kind of ask you again about St. Mary's and your knowledge of them. When you were watching that West Coast Conference championship game, what impressed you about Samhan, especially when he refused to back down when the other guys seemed to kind of call him out a little bit?
SCOTTIE REYNOLDS: I saw him when I was going off the court yesterday and he looked a lot bigger than he was on TV. I was like, whoa. So I was a little intimidated. But him and that championship game, that was really the first time I kind of watched from start to finish and he just has quickness that you wouldn't think he would have as a big man. He's got that little spin move baseline that seems that nobody can stop. He's got a good feel for using the glass, different kind of layups, like he's a guard and a huge body.
He just has a very good feel for the game. When he sets screens he sets screens not to get himself open but get his teammates open, and he gets offensive rebounds. He's a talented player and he's fun to watch.
Q. Reggie, how important is it you guys mentioned Mouphtaou and Eddie yesterday, who stand right there and erase your mistakes at defense, does it allow you to play anymore aggressively?
REGGIE REDDING: I think it gives you a little more confidence, especially for us guys to really get into the other team's guards. It will be big, I think, for this game. So we don't allow them to dribble, dribble and pull up for threes. We can get into them more, and knowing if we there was a chance we did get blown by, those guys will be back there and can just change their shots. I think that's a big key to tomorrow's game.
Q. Scottie, you're expecting to start tomorrow?
SCOTTIE REYNOLDS: I don't know what to expect. I think tomorrow, yeah, we will start. We had the first team out there when we were practicing. It felt good to be back out there.
Q. I had to ask?
SCOTTIE REYNOLDS: Yeah.
THE MODERATOR: We're now joined by Villanova head coach Jay Wright. Would you like to again with an opening statement.
JAY WRIGHT: Sure. We're very happy to be alive another day in beautiful Providence and we've learned to fall in love with Providence this time of year. Usually we're up here and it's snowing and people are killing us in this arena and getting beat up by Providence. We're having a good time here. We have a great St. Mary's team to play. You always dread playing these kind of teams.
One of the things I like about it and don't like about it is when you watch film of them you get caught up just enjoying the style of play and admiring how they play because they're so smart and you're not really dissecting them as much as you should. But they pass the ball as well as any team I've seen. Forget their shooting, which is amazing, but just great passers. We have a lot of work to do between now and tomorrow. We had a good practice. But you've got to play these guys a little differently and it's going to be a great challenge.
Q. Between the way you guys lost at the end of the season, the 5 of 7 and the three benchings and the way you played for most of the way yesterday, does it seem like things are out of sorts at Villanova at all to you?
JAY WRIGHT: It doesn't to me at all. I'm very excited about the way things are at Villanova. As a matter of fact one of the challenges this year was seeing these young guys and keeping myself from -- our coaching staff, keeping ourselves from being too excited about the future and really driving this group. It's been a challenge because we love the young guys and we've got two seniors and juniors are going to be really good, too.
But I do understand what it looks like from the outside. So I can't argue that. There are a lot of little things, but they're little things we believe in in our program and we just believe it's going to make ourselves stronger. I think they were in the past too, but they weren't in the spotlight as much and weren't as big a story. A lot of it is just college kids being college kids and learning and us trying to teach them.
Q. Who does Samhan remind you of? Is he the best big guy that you maybe have faced this year?
JAY WRIGHT: You know what, I didn't think of it that way. I do think that McConnell reminds me of Mark Price. I love that, they sing the song for them. They were saying playing I'm Mickey, you're so fine, you're so fine. It was awesome. He reminds me of Mark Price, and everybody on our team was like yeah, yeah.
Greg Monroe is really good, really good. Samhan is different but might be -- I hate to compare the two because they're so different, but they're effective for the same reasons, because of their length, their ability to pass the ball, their great hands and their mobility. That's who I would compare him to, although completely different players.
Q. How do you play him?
JAY WRIGHT: You know, the good thing for us right now is we've never -- we've always had to -- there was no choice going into the game, everybody knew we were going to have to double team and front the post because we're small. We have two young big guys that are only freshmen, he's a senior, but we're going to give them a shot at playing him. We're going to try to play them and see how they do and make adjustments from there but we'll let them try to play him.
Q. How much pressure is it that he's obviously looked up to by adopted kids? You talked yesterday about how much you put on him to set an example. How much pressure is that and how is he able to deal with all that pressure?
JAY WRIGHT: He's an amazing kid, he really is. We all say that about our players, but just the issue about being adopted. Since someone ran the story or someone did a piece on him about that that was national, I can't remember if it was TV or print media, but after that he got flooded with e-mails and calls from people that wanted to use him as an example and wanted him to talk to their adopted children or talk to him, they wanted to talk to his parents. And we had to make a decision. I was going to let him do what he want, but I said you just can't -- you can't keep up with all of this. And he said I'd like to help everybody. But I'll wait until the end of the season. So we've been putting all those off. That's one thing.
But he tries every time he can personally if someone meets him to always talk to people, he goes out of his way. And we do put a lot of pressure on him. One of the things about this group of guys and Dan mentioned about all the little things we're going through, just young guys, and sometimes our older guys. We put him in charge of awful it. He's got to take the brunt of it. He loves the responsibility. He loves impacting other people and I think that's -- he really lives his life for other people, he really does, I think that's what's most impressive about him.
Q. You said earlier that St. Mary's is a team that you have to play differently. I wondered exactly what you meant by that. Two, your team has had a history of really struggling in the first rounds and then putting that behind them and marching forward. Can you talk about how that happens or how you're able to do that?
JAY WRIGHT: I'll answer the second one first. I haven't figured that out about the first round and I really -- I think after the end of the season, we're going to take a look at that. Up until this point we've been just really worried about getting to the first round. So now that we've had some success I think we have a pretty good team coming back next year, I really do want to look at that.
One of the things I've thought about is maybe having coached at Hofstra and having such respect for those teams, maybe I personally, to our team, give them too much respect. Maybe that could be it, I don't know yet.
To answer your first question, you just can't go -- they look like a team, you could just go get in them and guard them one-on-one, and these guys shouldn't go by you, but you can't play them that way. They're so good. They're so quick, even though they don't look quick, they're quick. They're really ball quick meaning they catch and pass quickly. They make decisions quickly. Their handles are super quick. They get down low on their drives.
So we're going to have to adjust to their personnel. A couple of guys are great off the dribble, a couple of guys are great shooters and passers. That's what I mean you can't just play them the same as everybody else.
Q. Similar to last month or so of the season your focus has been on improving the defense of this team, you almost take the offense not for granted, but the offense has been there. Playing against a team like St. Mary's where interior shots on paper look like they're going to be difficult to come by and you're going to have to get those good outside looks, which you really didn't get yesterday. And maybe it's unfair because Morris is such a good defense team out there. Did you put emphasis on the offensive end looking at this game as much as you have any game you've been trying to prepare for recently?
JAY WRIGHT: We did put emphasis -- we just finished it, on offense, we did, you're right. They're a great job on interior defense, outstanding length with Allen and Samhan. I thought we got decent shots. No. 1, you've got to give Robert Morris credit, you really do. I think one of the mistakes we probably made is we didn't get enough shooting in. It was my fault. The day before practice we took our 40 minutes here, we wanted fresh legs and we scrimmaged. We didn't shoot. And then we didn't get into an arena early to shoot. So I thought we got good looks.
I think offensively we probably gave the same as we do, but defensively, we were most concerned with defense in practice today.
Q. Even before the five out of seven to end the regular season it looked like your defensive numbers were slipping, so it maybe has been a 10 or 12 game trend. And Robert Morris yesterday had some significant success getting to the rim, getting to the basket, getting to the offensive glass. Do you think the book is out, so to speak, that Villanova is what it is defensively? What are you trying to do to sort of bandage that against a team that threes on paper looks like it has the capability to expose some things you might not be good at?
JAY WRIGHT: I think you're right. You always are what you are, what you see. You don't hide that from anybody in basketball. They watch film, they see it. And we are what we are. And we just try to get better every day in every way that we can. When you have one day in between you've got to make your choice on what you're going to work on. I think that's what Bob was referring to.
We spent a lot more time on defense and you've got to watch more film and talk defense. And you've got to go to the board and keep teaching defense. The only thing we know to do is to just keep teaching. If we're not good defensively it's partly we haven't done a good enough job teaching it, the players haven't done a good enough job executing it, we have to keep teaching, keep practicing, that's all we can do.
Q. Picking up on that, 10 or 11 guys in your rotation for most of the season, including that game the other day, which goes to your point, I think, about the other team passing quicker, making quicker decisions, it seems to slow you up. It seems to frustrate you at times. You use the word excited about this team. But where you are right now, did you think you would be somewhere else by now with this team?
JAY WRIGHT: Honestly if you would have told me in the beginning of the season this team would be in the second round and 25-7 I would have signed up for it in the beginning of the year. Everyone else was saying that we were -- I don't know what we were preseason, like three or four. I was like, wow. I was shocked at that. But I would have thought we would have been better -- I thought to get here we would have had to be a lot better defensive team than we are.
We've got here a lot of different ways. We've won some games we shouldn't have won, and yesterday, you know. It's just not -- it's not the way we want our Villanova basketball teams to be yet. But they're working at it. No one is fighting it. We're working at it and I love the resiliency of this team, I love how we're working at it, I really do. Things just don't work out the way you want all the time, that's what a season is.
You like every season to be, you know, you play great, you play your best at the end of the season. And sometimes you're not playing the best at the end of the season but you find a way. And that's what this group is doing right now.
Q. You mentioned yesterday that the last 40-minute game you played was at West Virginia. How frustrating is it to not have been able to have done that since then and what do you have to do better? I know you talked about defense, but what do you have to do better to get closer to that 40 minutes?
JAY WRIGHT: I really think, St. Joe's it's the same answer. We have to keep coaching, our guys have to keep listening. And you have to be creative in the way you coach this time of year. You can't get them on the floor all the time and just drill, drill, drill. You've got to use film. You've got to use walk through. You've got to go to the board. You've got to try everything because you can't wear them out. And it's kind of the way we did it today.
We did a lot of teaching on the board, watching film, walking through defensively. Because we want fresh legs. And we did some smoothing. But most of the time was spent on defense. I think for us to play a 40-minute game, it's usual I where our breakdowns are is defensively and rebounding.
Q. Randy Bennett, what he's done the last years at St. Mary's, he's built a solid reputation in the Bay Area and the West Coast. How well known is Randy among East coast coaching circles?
JAY WRIGHT: That's a very interesting question. I don't know if I can answer that honestly. I know him really well because when I was an assistant at UNLV, he was an assistant at San Diego, and a very well respected guy at that time as an assistant. Did he go to St. Louis after that? Then he came back. But at that time, I was not known -- no one knew me out there. East coast guys coming out there, but I recognize that everybody really respected this guy. And then when he got the job there I knew who he was because of my timeout there.
You know, it's interesting, Randy and I were joking about it. I always love to stay up and watch those games. I think basketball guys in the East like watching those games and they watch those St. Mary's, Gonzaga games. I think everybody knows him pretty well.
Q. You said defensively you are what you are. But this late in the year, can you get that much better than you have been if they continue to develop like that and how have they developed throughout the year?
JAY WRIGHT: You know, we've said this all year, we just haven't been able to get the points. We need Mouphtaou and Maurice Sutton at the back of the defense. Going tomorrow against the big guy, we need them. No excuses, everyone has their issues during the season. Just getting Mouphtaou, he's still taking his medication, just getting him -- he's still not 100 percent. He's got to come out. He gets tired. But just getting him to know what we're doing, and everyone can trust him. And Maurice Sutton is the same thing. Maurice is a different character in a lot of ways. He's a wonderful kid, but just getting him to understand what we were doing.
Both of them were big factors in that game yesterday and maybe it's not too late. Maybe those guys can get it going, and make us a better defensive team and a better rebounding team.
Q. Great play at the end of the regulation, where you threw it in, well designed. Whatever assistant drew that up, you should give him kudos?
JAY WRIGHT: Sometimes they look good, but they don't go in.
Q. You watch Robert Morris like the two freshmen guys, I don't know how much you saw the Ohio U game, they had a freshman guard, No. 5, who was terrific. I see freshman guards in the Big East, the ACC, the Big Ten, I expect them to be that good right an wasn't it was surprising to me, maybe it shouldn't have been, that teams at that level had kids that good as freshmen. Are there that many good players around, are they exceptional kids, how do we account for that?
JAY WRIGHT: You know, Jim, I was thinking the same thing. As we were preparing for Robert Morris I was thinking to myself Abraham -- Jones is actually a redshirt freshman, and we have one in Maurice Sutton. Those guys are playing like seniors. I didn't get to see the Ohio U game. But I think they're exceptional guys. We had a guy -- Scottie Reynolds was like that as a pressure man, I think Maalik Wayns could be as good as Scottie Reynolds one day. But he's not there yet the way Scottie was as a freshman. Every player takes his own journey. We had a guy at Hofstra called Speedy Claxton that did it as a freshman. There are certain unique guys that have a maturity about them immediately. And those few guys are unique.
JAY WRIGHT: The kid at St. Mary's, Dellavedova, he's the same way. Either that dude is 30 or -- he's incredible. He is incredible. But you can just see -- you could just see there's a maturity. He makes a great play. All of them. Look at all those kids. They don't go chanting around, point, look at me. They just is have a maturity about them and they're just unique kids. There's tons of freshmen out there that aren't getting it done. I think you're looking at really unique ones that's why their teams are where they are, and that's why they are where they are.
Q. When you were talking about Samhan and the impact he has on the game, obviously yesterday it seemed like they ran a lot of stuff through him. But it seemed to be Richmond's lament that he was difficult to guard. How difficult is that for a team to focus their energy on stopping him when he's surrounded by the cast that he is?
JAY WRIGHT: You know what's interesting is back in the day everybody had a post player, everybody played through their post player. So all your drills you would do in preparation for your season were how to you play the post, do we blitz from the guard position, do we blitz big on big, we had all these rotations. Now everybody is perimeter oriented, how do you guard, drive and space, how do you guard ball screens. You're not used to having to do this. That's one of the things that makes them so unique.
It's like everybody -- you had Kareem Abdul-Jabaar, he goes inside, he kicks it out. Now they play that way. That's unique. That's another way that you can't play them the same way. It's really difficult, because you don't play against that all year. And when we used to play four guards years ago it was an advantage because no one played that way. Now everybody does and it's not really an advantage, because everybody knows how to guard it. It is old school and it's good.
End of FastScripts