March 27, 2009
COACH DIXON: Obviously we had a light workout today in preparation for Villanova, obviously a team that we're familiar with, played them once during the year. We know a lot of their guys, know their personnel. Our guys are familiar with their guys, a little unique in that way, I think, in a Regional final. Looking forward to the opportunity.
We're proud of our guys and how they played last night, but we know that we've got to get our focus on what we have to get ready for with Villanova and understand what they do and things that we have to do.
Looking forward to the game and the opportunity.
Q. Sam, two games in a row you haven't sat a minute. Are you kind of getting used to the idea that you're going to be playing every minute, every game, do you like that?
SAM YOUNG: To be honest, I don't even think about it. If that's what Coach wants to happen, then I'm all over it. I love to play. I never want to come out of the game, anyway. So the more I play the happier I am.
But I never really thought about the situation. I want to play the whole game.
Q. For Sam and DeJuan, do you have a memory of a first Big East player or coach or team that you remember watching when you were coming up that kind of caught your attention about the league, maybe just a great player that you have a memory of?
DeJUAN BLAIR: Well, I watched Darrell Porter, I watched Pitt, I watched Darrell Porter when he played with Sean Miller and the rest of those guys. It was a nice team. They had a lot of depth. It was just Georgetown back in the day, that's who the big dog was. That's who I was watching, Darrell Porter.
SAM YOUNG: Actually, I didn't watch college basketball until I got to college (laughter). No.
Q. DeJuan, the first game you played against Villanova in the Spectrum, what are your recollections of that game? I know you got into some foul trouble. Villanova people put a lot of stock in the atmosphere in that game, they were closing that building and it was hot. What are your recollections of that ballgame?
DeJUAN BLAIR: That ballgame I picked up two fouls early. Of course, I came out, but we played bad and we were still up eight with two minutes to go in the second half and then we blew that. I can't get in foul trouble for my team to win. I've just got to be out on court. I'm going to try my best not to get fouls and just do what I've got to do for us to win. I know we're going to find a way to play good and play well.
Like I said, we've got the motivation to do it, we've got the players to do it and we've just got to show up tomorrow.
Q. Levance and Sam, just to follow up on that, that game was two months ago. Is there anything that you can take from that first meeting with Villanova, whether it's preparation or motivation?
LEVANCE FIELDS: There's a lot of change from two months. You can watch it over and over, but really, I don't think you can gain anything from it.
The biggest thing for us is to definitely keep DeJuan out of foul trouble. His presence alone when he's on the court makes us a better team. So if it is one thing, it's the foul trouble with DeJuan.
And other than that it's going to be a totally different game. Both teams are, I think, better than they were two months ago. Tomorrow hopefully it can be a great game.
SAM YOUNG: I piggyback off of what Levance said. Definitely make sure that DeJuan is on the floor. And I think turnovers, I think we turned the ball over a little bit too much against their pressure. And just being more aggressive on the boards, making sure we I think if we win the boards and collect on the turnovers and keep DeJuan on the floor, we're in pretty good shape.
Q. DeJuan, and I'm not saying this in a team sense, but because of what happened the first time around do you personally feel like you have a little bit of a score to settle here? The second part of that would be Coach Wright said after you guys played that he noticed a difference in the way that you were playing. Maybe there was more discipline. Did you learn something the first time around?
DeJUAN BLAIR: Well, you could say that. But I picked up two fouls against Louisville. I'm more disciplined now. Everybody on my team and my family and my coaches and everybody just say to stay out of foul trouble. I've just got to keep playing. I've got to play disciplined. I've got to go in acting like I've got two fouls, as my coach told me. I just can't get fouls and we'll be hot.
Q. Do you feel at all like you have that personal score to settle?
DeJUAN BLAIR: No. That's two months ago. I don't even know what happened a month ago. So that game we lost because of us, it wasn't because of nothing else. And like Levance says, it's going to be a totally different ballgame. We're just going to go out there, I'm not going to worry about the first game. Whatever happened the first time happened, but there's always round 2. So it's on a bigger stage, this is a bigger stage, so anything can happen.
Q. Jermaine, your brother won a championship in 2002 with Maryland. How much have you reached out to him just for that experience and tried to draw anything from his experience running through and getting to a Final Four and winning a championship?
JERMAINE DIXON: Me and my brother talk about that. He said it's a top program and playing with the players they have that they brought back, we could definitely win a national title. Before the tournament started he told me take one game at a time, take no team lightly. That's basically what he told me. He just told me to go out and play hard. He told me to have DeJuan stay out of foul trouble. And just make sure we play as a team and we can definitely win it.
Q. I'd like to pose the same question I posed to the Villanova team. When you look at their team who defines the term "baller" on their team?
TYRELL BIGGS: Corey Fisher.
JERMAINE DIXON: I would definitely have to say Corey Fisher, too.
DeJUAN BLAIR: I'd say Scottie. He's the general for their team.
LEVANCE FIELDS: Fisher.
SAM YOUNG: I'll say Dante, because he plays tough and he's aggressive. He always does whatever it takes to win.
Q. DeJuan, Coach Wright was describing what a Philadelphia basketball player, I asked him: What is a Pittsburgh player like, and he used you as a reference. Can you describe a typical Pittsburgh basketball player, what are the attributes? Is there any kind of Pittsburgh Philly rivalry going on when you're coming up in the high school ranks, anything like that?
DeJUAN BLAIR: Well, he said what a Pittsburgh basketball player I'm the only basketball player that came out of Pittsburgh (laughter). So Pittsburgh, it's the same as Philly, hard nosed, same as New York. We're all from the city. We fight for what we want. And that's what we do.
As a rival, you could say that, Pittsburgh Philly. But in high school we beat all the Philly teams, Chester, Robinson. That's the only team. We played we played them in the championship. So it's kind of I didn't know he was from Philly, but now you just made a rival, then, me and Coach Wright (laughter).
Q. Levance, a lot has been said about the senior leadership of Villanova's seniors. How have you and your fellow seniors contributed to the success of this team in terms of leadership?
LEVANCE FIELDS: Starting the tournament Coach said he was going to ride the whole team, and the underclassmen are going to ride me, Sam and Tyrell, throughout this whole tournament. That's what we've been doing, trying to lead by example, stay together and help any way possible for our team to win. Our focus has been better than ever.
I think Sam's even turned it up another notch as far as his focus. And Tyrell, he's the guy that's undercover. Nobody talks about him, but he does all the little things for us that helps us win games. So from that standpoint we all are just trying to do whatever we can, once again, like I said, to help our team win.
Q. Same question I asked DeJuan, sort of your recollections of how the game in Philly went. The Philly people, at least at this point, put a lot of stock in the setting, the Spectrum was a crazy thing that they were closing it down. You guys led by five at the half.
COACH DIXON: Yeah, we were up early. It was great to be involved in that game. Not growing up in Philadelphia or in Pennsylvania or really the East, I didn't have any real vivid memories, personal memories, of playing and being involved in the Spectrum. But it was great to be involved. Obviously I remember certain games and games that have been there. It was a nice event, nice setting.
And I think it was a good game. We played well. We got off to a good start. Everybody talks about DeJuan, but we had a number of guys in foul trouble. I think the numbers were 24 fouls. It was very one sided on the foul count. Tyrell was in foul trouble. DeJuan didn't even foul out. Tyrell was in foul trouble, he hurt us. Brad was in foul trouble, even though he played well early, we couldn't get him in as much in the second half because of fouls. That was a big difference in the game.
We've only had really two games where we've had that game and the game at Louisville where we've had the entire team everybody talks about DeJuan, but we've had other guys in foul trouble. Tyrell is the other one. I think we can handle one, we can't have them both in foul trouble. And that's obviously for every team in the country. You can't have your two starting big guys in foul trouble.
It was a very well played game and hard fought. And I thought it was I didn't realize going in how important it was to be playing in the Spectrum for the last game. But I'm glad we were a part of it.
Q. Jay had said that there's kind of some symmetry between your programs. You both have been to a certain point since you've been there, since he's been there, but not really gotten through. Is it an irony you're facing off to be the next Big East team with Louisville and Syracuse and UConn getting to the next level, going to a Final Four?
COACH DIXON: You know, they have that National Championship, I think, that we don't have. But over the last couple of years, I think I've been there ten years now, and I think we've kind of our program is thought of differently and looked at differently during this time. And I think they've been on a great run, as well.
Just going off the top of my head, I think over the last I know we've got the best record in the league the last eight years and I'm sure they're up there with us, as well as Connecticut.
I think we're both teams that have been consistently very good and are very familiar with their players. There's a lot of connections, I think, with all their guys. A number of them we recruited. We go into Philadelphia and recruit. They don't seem to go into Pittsburgh to recruit very often. I don't know if the symmetry still exists there. But we have great respect for their program at the same time. So I think that is something we both have in common, as well.
Q. What do you say to DeJuan or any big man you've ever had who has had foul trouble to kind of tone them down a little bit but without losing what makes them special, the aggressiveness and physicality?
A. He hasn't been in foul trouble that often. Those are the games that have been talked about. Generally we won 31 games and we tend to talk about the ones that we lose. And there's a couple that he was in foul trouble. But, again, we've talked to him. I think he's cut down on some.
Sometimes there's going to be a bad call that may happen once in a while. You guys may see one out there. The first one against Villanova, I just watched it today, you have to wonder. So it's part of the game. And you play. You play with the mindset that they're going to even out and it's going to be balanced. And you play smart.
We've talked to him about you can't have the, we call silly fouls, and those often fouls aren't from aggressiveness, from fatigue, frustration oftentimes or not being prepared, not anticipating. And that's where you get your fouls. So again, he's done a very good job.
I think it's just been the games that he's been in foul trouble we've had other guys in foul trouble. And that is sometimes has been lost in the translation, I guess.
Q. Two parter, could you discuss what you like about Villanova seniors, Cunningham, Clark and Anderson. And what about the contribution of your own seniors to your success this year?
COACH DIXON: That's interesting, both teams with three seniors, three prominent seniors, all three starting. Interesting with their guys because we know them very well. I can remember being in Dante's home, doing a home visit with him. And I thought we were going to get him, actually. We were recruiting him. We did a lot of really were on top of that recruiting. We thought he was going to be a very good player, not surprised how he developed. He's a great kid.
Shane, another kid that we recruited, as well. Didn't know as much about Dwayne. But three tough kids. You love to see kids that gradually got better each year, and I think that was something. Again, Shane and Dante, I had a pretty good idea that they were going to be very good players. I'm not at all surprised by their success.
And with that we've had great leadership with our three seniors. They have grown as players, but more so as and I've said this throughout as leaders. You're talking about three very different individuals.
Sam is, kind of like he said, he wasn't really a basketball guy growing up. He really is new to the game, relatively speaking. But he's opened up. He's become more vocal. He's become more comfortable speaking out in front of people and speaking to his teammates and letting them know, and even today, just through our walkthrough and stuff he pointed out some things to a freshman, which if you'd seen him as a freshman that would be something that maybe would have been hard to envision.
And then Levance has always been a leader in a lot of ways with his toughness and competitiveness and his winning attitude.
Tyrell has been a solid, great kid, a rock. And again, undervalued guy because when he's been out those have been the games that we've actually had our few losses that he's been in foul trouble in those.
Q. Sam had talked about leaving after sophomore year and you were able to convince him that he was going to blossom as a player. What did you see in him the first few years that you thought maybe this is going to be your time?
COACH DIXON: There was a couple of things, I have no problem with kids that want to play more. I want kids that want to play more. So that's not sometimes people look at that as a negative. If you don't have kids that want to play more, then you've got real problems. It was nothing other than he felt he wanted to play more.
The basic thing is he was making adjustment position wise. He was an inside guy, a five man, really, in high school, that was becoming a three four. He wanted it to happen in a day and it takes some time. And he's still getting better and better.
But I think we talked about a couple of things. I knew he would become our leading scorer going forward. It was a big jump, but it was something that we knew going into his junior year. I talked to him. I told him that he would be. But along with that came some responsibilities. Leadership, on and off the court, other things that you have to do. He was somewhat reluctant to talk to people, media, players. And those were things that come with being a leading scorer, and that was something we talked about.
Q. The Villanova players and Jay Wright kind of agreed that your first game or the game in the regular season was a benchmark for them in terms of they began to expand beyond Dante and Scottie. Do you see them playing a lot differently or significantly differently now than when you played in the season?
COACH DIXON: I think Dwayne Anderson has really become much more of an aggressive offensive player. I think he and Shane, as well. I think their seniors have really stepped up in that regard. I think they've settled on their rotation and feel like, as every team, you try to get better. I think we're a better team now than we were then. I think that they probably feel the same way about themselves.
That was, again, a long time ago, two months ago in a regular season game. That's a long time ago. And so there was a lot of room for improvement and I think we've made improvements.
Q. If you think back to growing up on the West Coast, what was the reputation of the Big East then and has that changed in your mind since you've been at Pittsburgh?
COACH DIXON: Well, I grew up in the west, but I spent my, as I like to say, my parents, I was the only guy that summered in the Bronx. My parents were from the Bronx, and we would drive across country and I would stay with my grandparents in the Bronx and Throgs Neck and Port Chester. I did both.
I can remember going to St. John's and playing and shooting around over there and trying to play games and different things. So I had an affinity for the Big East, even in the west. And plus the fact back then those were the games that were on TV. The Big East was always the main draw, the main conference as far as college basketball.
Obviously because of my family and my roots and New York, the Big East had even more of a special meaning than a typical kid out west. It's always been a big always something I've been well aware of and have always been now it was a draw to me when I came to Pittsburgh ten years ago, to be honest with. That was something when I made the decision to come to Pitt, that was part of it.
Q. You referenced recruiting in Philadelphia. I noticed that this year Nasir Robinson's playing time kind of dipped at the end of the season. What's your plans for him going forward and was there anything that happened during the year that may have caused that playing time to diminish like that?
COACH DIXON: I'm very excited about Nasir Robinson. He's a great kid. He plays hard. He's getting better. We're playing him at the four this year, because of having Sam and Gilbert, they're experienced guys, fourth year guy, three year guy, at the three. Next year, we've talked about it over and over again, he's going to be a three for us.
He's become a much better shooter and defender. He's a great kid and a great teammate. And I'm just so happy that he's part of our program. He's a great kid.
You know, rotation, we've kind of cut down on rotation a little bit. He's been in there, in and out of the games, and he's always ready. He's going to be a very good player for Pitt, I know that.
Q. Now that you've gone to five Sweet 16's in the last eight years, but now breaking through to the Elite 8 for the first time in your tenure, did you feel more relief or pure joy after the game? Is it fair to say you're relieved you don't have to answer those questions about Pitt hasn't been to the Elite 8 since '74?
COACH DIXON: I didn't give it much thought. As soon as the game was over it was about who we're going to be playing and getting our guys back to the hotel and getting them rested and preparation for the next one.
I think it's an interesting thing. I know there's about 330 programs that would like to ask that question and call the Sweet 16 like a bad thing. It's been an accomplishment. It's something that we as a program I never considered as a possibility, and we were getting there on more often than everybody but two schools in the country. So I think Kansas and Duke are one up on us.
So we've had a very good run, very good success. But at the same time we know that a National Championship is something that we have as a goal.
Q. It's almost an axiom in basketball, big men, particularly guys with great mass don't get the benefit of the doubts often with fouls, whether it's the one they have to absorb or the ones they're called for. Is that a learning thing for DeJuan, that it's not always fair, but you have to adjust your game to that perhaps unfairness?
COACH DIXON: I think DeJuan is just a sophomore. He's going against older guys oftentimes, but he's developed and gotten better. His development has been anybody that saw him in high school. I can remember telling people, local people, media, that he was going to be our starting center, and I was laughed at. Who was going to replace Aaron Gray. And he's doing pretty well. The kid is doing pretty well.
He's improved from his high school year to his freshman year. In his freshman year, he's improved in his sophomore year and as this year has gone on. He is a sophomore. He's getting better. I think he's had some great games and continues to be just a great, great teammate. He's a great guy to have around and a great leader as just a sophomore, too, which is an amazing thing to do, especially for a big guy.
Q. I talked to DeJuan a few times about the legacy he's created for himself in Pittsburgh, and at such an early age being so successful. Can you talk a little bit about how much this means to the city as you guys are having so much success and what it would mean if you guys can make it to a National title game?
COACH DIXON: I've said all along that I think DeJuan, the things that he's going to do for our city, and I've really talked to him about it and really challenged him. I think he can be really have more of an impact in our city, in the Hill District from where he's from, after he's done playing. I think he's going to be a role model for kids and as an adult he's going to be a member of the community and the city in a lot of different ways.
I encourage him to do that and I try to put him in a position to do that even now as a young sophomore, 19 years old. That's something we've really talked to him about and grown with as the years went on.
He's handled everything well. It's a great thing for us. I think what's made it bigger is obviously everybody knows the difference is that we've not had a lot of Pittsburgh basketball players over the years. So it probably feeds upon itself even more so. He sticks out even more. It's a challenge that he's handled well. I think that I'm very proud of everything that he's done, because I think he's going to touch our community in more ways than just on the floor.
Q. What's it like to have your dad with you every step of the way with you, as you advance further in the tournament?
COACH DIXON: You know, it's something it doesn't seem any different to me, because he's been there everywhere I've ever been, really, where I've played and where I have coached. I think it's something that I'm just used to. I know he's having a great time. And I think we really encourage family in our program and talk about we want all of our families around whenever possible. And I think it's just something that I'm very fortunate that he's around and I know he's enjoying it.
Q. I can you think about the scope of the entire league? There's still a chance you'll have an all Big East Final Four, there's five teams still alive. Have you been able to take a second and think what we're competing in right now is one of the high water marks of a league that's had some very high water?
A. There's no question, I have talked about it. And I've said, and I think early on, I spoke to how good this conference was going to be, I think in the spring last year. I said looking at the teams coming back, the players coming back, I should say, that this thing had the potential of being the best conference in history of college basketball. I know that I made that comment.
And as coaches and promoters of our leagues sometimes we tend to overexaggerate and inflate some things that never really seem to come to fruition. But if anything has lived up to it, it would be this conference and what's happened this year.
As the year went on, now as we go in the postseason play, to be in this position is quite remarkable. Usually you beat each other up, but somehow we've had some teams survive it. And to be in this position, however it ends up, I think it did what is very hard to do, live up to coaches' lofty proclamation. I think it's really put itself in that position.
Q. Your team has obviously won all the first three games, they've all been by close margins. When you look back, do you feel like your team has had something missing through those first three rounds, hasn't been firing on all cylinders or do you look at it as we've been a that knows how to win in these close situations?
COACH DIXON: You always feel you can play better. So we have that thought. I've never come out of a game saying we can't play better. But there are no bad wins in the NCAA tournament.
I think we've played well. I think we can play better and our players feel we can play better. I think every team feels that way, there's still a lot left. We've played three very, very good teams that I recognize as being very good teams going into the game. I'm happy with how we played. We've played hard. We've battled. We haven't shot it great yet, I think we will shortly. And that will be something that can really push us to another level.
Q. If you could give me your perspective on if you thought it was critical in that first match up in the second half, it seemed like Villanova was blitzed and double teamed Levance a lot, and got him out of offensive rhythm and it seemed to take him out of the rhythm to run the offense. Is that accurate and do you think from looking back at the film that was a key to Villanova's success in the second half is to slow down the offense and only score 26 points?
COACH DIXON: There was a lot of things that went on. I think the biggest key is everybody knows the foul trouble, the number of guys we couldn't play in the second half. We were playing a lineup that we've never played. And that's part of it. So that would be the key.
They we know what they're going to do and they did what they normally do in the first half as well as the second half. It wasn't really any change in that. But I think we had a five point lead, gave up a three to start the second half and really it became a back and forth game there down the stretch. We clearly got, as we talked about, we can't get beat at the free throw line, and we got beat at the free throw line that game, and we talked about that going in. That to me was the biggest difference.
Q. Jay was talking about playing at Bucknell, coaching at Hofstra, and how much that helps him appreciate getting to this point. What about you at TSU, being at Northern Arizona, Hawaii, how much you appreciate getting to this point?
COACH DIXON: LA Valley College, don't forget that. And TeAute College in New Zealand, that was my first coaching job, I coached kids. There was no question. I started out to get into this is I wanted to be a California junior college coach. That was something that was in my mind. I thought that would be a great way to coach and be around kids. It wasn't about the level. It wasn't about it was about coaching, being around the game, being around kids and the competition.
And that's what it is, to be at this and to be at a great university. A university I'm proud to watch it grow and watch it develop. That to me is the most exciting thing. Our University has gone from a school that's ranked has dramatically increased the rankings in every academic field over the last ten years. And being some small part of that has been to me the most gratifying thing.
COACH WRIGHT: Well, it seems like we all just left here. I can't believe we're back. We got back to the hotel and we got to enjoy that victory. We wake up today and it's next game.
It's one of the things that this group right here, we've got three seniors and Scottie who's played so many games, he's like a senior, have been very, very successful with this year is just put the last game behind them, whether it was a good game or bad game, move on to the next game and keeping their focus on that.
So I think that's going to be important. The higher the stakes get the more there's distractions around you. And we're really counting on these upperclassmen to make sure we concentrate on Pitt, who is I know I sound like a broken record, but when you get to this point in the season you're playing great teams. We know them. These seniors have played against their seniors so many times.
It's going to be a great game. We know each other very well and we've had a lot of great battles. We have great respect for them, as I said last night. We'd love to win this game, but at least I hope we do win, but at least if we don't, there's a Big East team going to the Final Four. We'll be proud of them and happy for them, but I hope it's us.
Q. In 2006 your current seniors were freshmen on the 2006 team that went to the Elite 8 and lost. What do you think they learned from that experience and how are they applying it for tomorrow's game?
COACH WRIGHT: You know, we haven't got to talk about that a lot yet. We're just getting over last night's game. But I'm hoping that just this, you know, the next step and everybody talking about the Final Four and all that, I think these guys know, and this is what I referenced earlier, that none of that talk really matters. You've got to play the game.
And I don't think that cost us the game last time against Florida. I think Florida just played a great game. But I think these guys understand that none of the rewards of this game matter. What really matters is just concentrating on playing our best game that we can tomorrow and preparing for Pitt the best we can. And then we let everything else take care of itself.
Q. Talk a little bit about the last game against Pitt, just your memories of what that was all about.
COACH WRIGHT: You know, that was I almost don't count that as a game that we can refer to in terms of preparing for this game. I almost in a weird way felt sorry for Pitt that night. It was like it's the last game of the Spectrum. It's about 100 degrees in there. The place is packed, there's all kinds of history. Everybody is fired up. They're just walking in for a regular Big East game.
The game had been promoted in Philadelphia. And the place was electric. At the end of the game the whole place is standing. There was a huge banner, the last game ever played, Pitt versus Villanova. For them it was a regular season game. For us and everybody in Philadelphia it was a big, big event.
And I just thought the crowd that night and that environment had a big effect on the game. That's not going to be here tomorrow. It's going to be a different kind of game.
But as a Philadelphia guy, what I remember at the end of that game, we're holding the ball out, that place is standing, and as I said, it just reminded you of the old great Villanova Georgetown games there, Villanova Syracuse games, that sold out the place when I was an assistant. It was a really touching night for me. I was very honored to be a part of that last game in Philly.
Q. Ever think you'd see Pitt again?
COACH WRIGHT: No. I said to our staff after the game, I said, Thank God we played them in here on this night and we don't have to see them again. That was exactly what I said to our staff after the game. I really didn't think we were going to see them. But here they are. And they are good.
Q. Dante and the players, everyone talks about how tough the Big East is and all the different styles of play, all the different coaches. Can you talk about how going through the Big East prepares you for the tournament and for playing different styles in the tournament?
DANTE CUNNINGHAM: Definitely. You know, the Big East just has such a variety of styles. You definitely come across a lot of them in the NCAA tournament, just the toughness that every team comes with every night. It definitely prepares you.
SCOTTIE REYNOLDS: I think that in the Big East there's so many good teams you've got to prepare, focus just for that team and you can't look ahead. And it's the same thing in the NCAA tournament or in the Big East tournament. You have to create the habits that every game is an elimination game. And I think in the Big East that prepares you for situations like the NCAA tournament and the Big East.
In the Big East, if you look ahead you can lose the game that you're playing that night and you can also be going in a three game losing skid. So I think every game is vital to your season.
Q. Scottie, not to discount what Coach Wright said, but you guys, despite all that emotion of that first Pitt game, you were still down five at the half. It was the second half you all came back and got after them. What are your recollections after that, I remember you hit a big 3 point shot at the end. What are your recollections of that comeback in that game?
SCOTTIE REYNOLDS: I think that was one of the starts of all five guys trying to be on the attack. Early in the season some guys on our team that are very talented and that can do a lot of things were not looking to be aggressive all the time. And now we have all five guys who step on the floor being aggressive, having great confidence in doing that.
And I think that Pitt game was one of the first games where we started to do that. And it's continued throughout the season and right now we're playing great basketball and being aggressive and all five guys being on the attack.
SCOTTIE REYNOLDS: Yeah, he's he has unbelievable talent. His IQ is unbelievable. He can play all he could play all five positions, but he usually plays all four positions for us. He can handle it, post up, and he can guard just about anybody, and that's a Villanova basketball player.
Q. Dante and the seniors, I think Coach and Randy Foye came by and had special words to the seniors. What are your recollections of that team and what do you want to do now that he wants you guys to do well here?
DANTE CUNNINGHAM: The history that Villanova has, the Nova Nation, just the pride that the ex players take in us, when we play UCLA, the '71 team was there. They were talking about the last time they played them in the NCAA tournament they lost in the championship round. And they have most of the '71 players there, that coached them then, all came in the locker room. Just to feel that pride and intensity that they brought, that they have in us. It's just special. It's a special place.
DWAYNE ANDERSON: Just for them to come back shows how much pride they have in Villanova University. They contact us all the time and just tell us how proud they are of how hard we're playing. And for Randy Foye to come back, he talked to us in the practice, and he just gave us words of encouragement, you're doing an excellent job, just keep pushing, and believe what Coach is saying, and I think it's really paying off now.
SHANE CLARK: I think those guys, to keep in touch with us, always talking to us about every game we play is unbelievable to have the guys behind us and still supporting us and having pride in what they came and played for. It's unbelievable how they stick with us.
Q. This is for each one of you guys, and I'd like you to take the time to maybe think and just give me your quick response to who on the Pitt team, who on Pitt's team best defines the term straight baller? Who on that team best defines that, each one of you?
DWAYNE ANDERSON: I'm not sure if you can choose one player, that's why they're in the position they are.
Q. Choose one.
DWAYNE ANDERSON: Levance Fields.
SHANE CLARK: I'm going to have to go with Sam Young.
DANTE CUNNINGHAM: Blair.
REGGIE REDDING: Dixon.
SCOTTIE REYNOLDS: Whoever is left. It's Biggs, yeah. (Laughter.)
Q. Among the starting lineup, who is the guy that stands above the rest?
DWAYNE ANDERSON: I think probably Levance Fields, as you saw last night. At the end of the game he wants the ball in his hands. And he didn't score that much in the beginning of the game, but he made other plays on the defensive end. That just shows how great of a player he is. He took that shot when they were only down two. Levance Fields, he's their motivation, he keeps them going.
Q. Dante, considering all Scottie has done, do you feel he tends to get overlooked? And can you talk about what he brings to your team.
DANTE CUNNINGHAM: In terms of getting looks, we're never worried about it. Our team is so deep in the sense that I think all of us here had 20 points at one time in a game. Anytime whoever is hot going off gets the ball, that's how we play and we love that in our team.
What he brings to the team, you know, just the intensity and the passion. He understands when he has to score. He understands when he has to give the ball up, if he's getting double teamed. Or even if his shots aren't falling any given night, he's not going to just stop and quit, he's going to go get rebounds, he's going to get steals, assists, things like that.
Q. Dante, when you guys were going through and talking about the players who stand out you mentioned Biggs, or excused me, Blair. Is there a match up you're looking forward to playing against Blair?
DANTE CUNNINGHAM: I wouldn't say extra motivation, I just say actually the motivation is because it's our next game. They stand in front of us in getting to our goals. Regardless of what it is, we've got to play harder, we've got to play more together and smarter and with more pride.
Q. Dante, to follow up on that, when you guys played Pitt last time I think you guys held Blair to one of his low outputs of the season. What do you remember from what you did against him that day and what can apply towards tomorrow's game?
DANTE CUNNINGHAM: We just got him in a little foul trouble, just taking it right at him. Our guards did a great job of penetrating and just moving the ball around court, just always keeping him just on his toes, ready to step up. And our guards did a great job of drawing fouls on him.
Q. Dwayne, do you look at this game as the team that attacks the basket and controls the glass is probably going to come out on top?
DWAYNE ANDERSON: Definitely. We pride ourselves off defending the rebound and Pitt does, also. So that's why they're No. 1 in the tournament, besides Louisville, but we play hard, also. And that's something that we try to play for 40 minutes. I think whoever sustains that for 40 minutes and doesn't let up will be victorious at the end of the night.
Q. The three seniors, in 2006 you guys came in as the 1 seed, a lot of expectations. Can you talk about getting back here, getting the second opportunity and kind of some unfinished business for you.
DWAYNE ANDERSON: We're just so happy to be here. Freshman year it was kind of we were No. 1, but now we're No. 3 seed. To us that doesn't matter whatsoever. We just can't wait for our next game. We're just ready to go out there. We have another Big East brawl tomorrow, so we're ready.
SHANE CLARK: We're all excited, of course, from our freshman year to now. We are ready to go out there and just get another shot at it. They're a great team and we've been playing our best basketball, and it's going to be an exciting game.
DANTE CUNNINGHAM: Definitely, the opportunity that we had our freshman year is tremendous. Randy Foye and Allan Ray, the seniors that year, they did a great job. Now it's on us, so we're definitely going to do our best to make it to the next level.
Q. Shane and Reggie, what did you guys do last night to keep Gerald Henderson bottled up as well as you did, and can you use those same principles against a guy like Sam Young?
SHANE CLARK: We just went out there and played as a team. It didn't matter who we were guarding. Everyone had whenever we got a chance to drive, we just stepped up and helped each other out whenever he tried to make an aggressive move.
REGGIE REDDING: I don't think it was anything in particular that me and that Shane and I did. I think it took a team effort to stop a great player. We just kept coming at him, kept throwing different guys at him. Sometimes we had Dante on him and sometimes Corey Stokes was guarding him. I think it was a team effort. We did a good job.
Q. Reggie, also in that first Pitt game, Scottie was talking about that you guys became like a five man attack unit. That was one of your step out games, I think you were the leading scorer, I can't remember exactly. Can you talk about that game and when you were looking at the basket a little bit more.
REGGIE REDDING: Yeah. That game Coach was talking to me about being more aggressive and I just took it in, took it into consideration, and tried to make plays for my teammates and attack the basket. And I think we did a pretty good job at it that night.
Q. Dante, and maybe for Shane, too. Back in 2006 when you guys were on a similar path to the Elite 8 you beat an ACC team, but at that point it was Boston College. Do you see any similarities of symmetry in the path you were on then and the one you're on now?
DANTE CUNNINGHAM: Not really. I don't think I didn't even think about it like that. It just happened to be two great ACC teams. And now we're on to the next game, so we're definitely going to just grind it out with them, see what we've got.
Q. What are your recollections of that in 2006?
DANTE CUNNINGHAM: I remember being in the locker room after that game, just looking around and just being so proud to just be a part of that team that just went out there and battled. It was an overtime game, last second shot. The biggest shot Will Sheridan ever made to win a game. I was just proud to be there.
Q. Sort of the same question, any similarities or differences between these two teams and what are your guys' impressions of the comparisons and contrasts?
SHANE CLARK: We tried to carry this year like to be a more defensive team. We just got better as the year came. That team, they had Randy, of course, Allan Ray, Kyle, Mike Nardi. Now we've got everybody on the floor for us being aggressive. We got inside and outside playing, and that's what's making us a great team.
Q. How difficult, in the current climate, is it to do what you're doing, a smaller Catholic school in a power 6 conference to get here to two Elite 8's?
COACH WRIGHT: You know what, being a part of the Big East and being a school like Villanova that has great tradition, has a lot of great players in a very close proximity, I think we're in a pretty good spot, to be honest with you. If you look at the history of Villanova they've always been successful. Every coach has been successful.
I think probably the best thing I've done is be the coach of Villanova. If you get that job, you're going to be successful. There's a lot of great things there. In this Big East Conference, players want to come play there. We're proud of what we've done, we are.
Q. Earlier, it wasn't easy. How hard was it even to get to this point?
COACH WRIGHT: Yeah, the early years you have to set your foundation. We went through our tough times, we did. But I think every successful program does. And then you have your next challenge, once you get it going, that's why I'm really proud of this group. Our first class was Randy Foye, Allan Ray, Jason Frasier, all those guys. Jason Frasier was our biggest recruit and had 7 surgeries and never really got to play. But that team became very successful when they were seniors, and they passed on to this group of seniors their legacy.
I talked to a bunch of them today and that's what I said to them, that this is your legacy, these guys. And that's the next challenge is keeping it going. And that's what I'm really proud of. We've got a couple of sophomores, and we've got a great class coming in next year. This group is going to be responsible for them. It's fun, but it's challenging.
Q. Is there any kind of irony that you and Jamie and the two programs since you've been there, that you're kind of going through that breakthrough now to be among the UConn and Syracuse in the conference, that you're going up against each other to get that breakthrough to the Final Four?
COACH WRIGHT: Yeah, and I hadn't thought of that, really. But I think both of our programs have been very consistent over the last well, even Pitt longer, but since Jamie has been there. Ben had it going. Jamie kept it going.
I think probably the best that you can say about both of our programs is just consistency at a high level over the last five years. I think that's what Andy was talking about. That's hard to do. And that's challenging.
As I said, we love we don't like playing against them, but we love how they play. You heard our guys say it, they take pride in playing hard. They take pride in defending. They take pride in rebounding. We do, too. I think that's why they've been successful. I think that's why we've been successful.
Q. Can you just talk about Levance a little bit. What does it say about a player who's 0 for 8 at Connecticut and makes two big 3's, 3 and 9 last night, makes the big 3. Can you talk about him a little.
COACH WRIGHT: Well, you know, I coached at Hofstra University. When we were at Hofstra, for 7 years we had 12 of our 13 players were all New York City kids and we had one foreigner, he was from North Bergen, New Jersey (laughter). We've coached those kids, those New York kids, those New York guards. What we respect about them is they are fearless. They are fearless. They do not fear losing a game.
And I think Carl Krauser did that at Pitt. It's amazing to me. Carl Krauser used to do the same thing, if you remember. He could have a rough game, not make shots, wasn't a pure shooter, but give him a 3 when the game was on the line, he made it every time.
And Levance does the same thing. You just love having those guys on your side. We had guys like that. We had Speedy Claxton, we had Randy Foye, and Allan Ray, those guys. When the game is on the line, they love to have the ball in their hands.
What you don't realize is sometimes when you lose a close game, those are the guys that miss the shot, but they don't remember that. They want to hit the big one.
Q. When you played Pitt the first time I think you were 0 and 3 at that point, and that game kind of put you over the hump. And since then how much did that game mean in terms of everything that's happened after and how important was that just at that point to get past that?
COACH WRIGHT: Well, I think Scottie made a great point, and I actually had forgotten about that, that up until that point we were kind of riding Scottie and Dante. When they scored we played well. When they didn't, we didn't. In that game Pitt did such a great job on Scottie. Dante had a good game, because Blair got in foul trouble. But we were kind of relying on Dante. We had nothing else going.
All of a sudden Shane Clark comes in, he steps up. Reggie Redding gets it going, he steps up. And we kind of learned from that game that, you know what, we're not going to survive with just being Scottie Reynolds and Dante Cunningham; we need everybody to make big plays. Corey Fisher had a great game that night and so did Stokes. I think they gained confidence and our coaching staff gained confidence.
We have to go in games and can't rely on just those two. And that was a big breakthrough for us.
Q. Did Rollie have any new advice for you in the last day?
COACH WRIGHT: We saw him in the lobby, we were coming over here and he had Scottie Reynolds and he was working on his jump shot with him, he was telling him he didn't have enough arc on his shot. And one of my good friends, Chris Schempo , said, Coach is messing with Scottie over there. I went over there and told Scottie, He can teach you how to get to a National Championship, he wasn't the greatest shooting instructor. Just do what you've been doing. Our guys love him. He's such a character. I don't know if the players understand what he did with that team.
It's probably like I look at Bill Russell and the Celtics, I know how great they were, but I probably don't know because I wasn't there. But they do love having Coach Mass around.
Q. How did you come across Scottie down in Virginia, and did you expect him to be the player he is now? The second one, Pat Chambers, nearly a life changing experience, and now he's on the cusp of changing everything. What do you remember about his situation, could you talk about that?
COACH WRIGHT: First, Scottie, we totally lucked out with Scottie Reynolds. He was going to Oklahoma. We got a call at the end of his senior year from his high school coach. He asked me, Do you know who Scottie Reynolds is? We were actually recruiting Chris Wright, who was now at Georgetown. I went to see Chris Wright play in the summer. Scottie went on Boo Williams' AU team, and Scottie Reynolds was playing, and I thought that was Chris Wright because Chris Wright was young. I was thinking, I love this kid. And someone said, that's Scottie Reynolds, he's going to Oklahoma.
And Chris Wright was coming off the bench on that team. I called our assistant and said, Why are you recruiting guys coming off the bench? That's all I saw of Scottie Reynolds. They called us and said, He's available, he likes Villanova and we got him. It was that easy. Sometimes it's better to be lucky than to be good.
And Pat Chambers did, he had a bizarre incident and he was an assistant coach at Episcopal Academy at the time where my kids go to school. I knew him as a player, as a Philly basketball guy, and I knew one of his brothers. When we all heard that happen, Billy Lange who was on the staff, they were best friends, we all sent him a note in the hospital. You know, it had a big impact on him. He was close to death. He was always a guy with great attitude. But I think since then he's got a love for life that affects all of us on our team.
Q. How much of getting Blair in foul trouble the first time around was you guys' design? How much do you think you'd have to adjust if you can't do that again?
COACH WRIGHT: Were you at that game? There was some they were not smart plays on his part. He has learned from that. There was a couple of pick and rolls he smacked at the guy. It wasn't us going into Dante Cunningham and going at him. You heard Dante say our guards did a good job. He went for some steals. He got two quick ones in the first half. Started the second half, he did it again. He was going for steals, he was being overly aggressive when he didn't have to. We've watched a lot of Pitt games preparing for other teams, he's gotten much better at that.
We're going to I noticed last night he played 17 minutes in the first half, one foul. He's learned a lot. We're going to have to deal with him for 40 minutes, I think, tomorrow.
Q. You played at Bucknell and coached at Hofstra. Have those experiences at those levels shaped you in terms of your feeling for how you go about your business and how you look at the whole world that you're occupying today?
COACH WRIGHT: That's a good question. I think that's something I've always thought about when I hire assistant coaches, also, is that playing at Bucknell, wanting to have played at Villanova and not being good enough, makes you appreciate every day that you go through this as opposed to maybe having been a player at Villanova and that's all you know.
I was also an assistant coach at University of Rochester, Division III in New York. And you respect every level. You respect every kid, regardless of his I wasn't a Patriot League level player. It wasn't Patriot League then. I know how hard I worked, I knew how good I thought I was. I knew how important it was to me. So I know how important everything our walk ons do is. I never take any of this for granted. And I make sure that our players understand how fortunate they are to be here, every day.
I think I really do think that has impacted me. I think it helps us when we play those teams, too. Like playing American, I've said it a hundred times, we were not surprised at how good they were. We explained to those guys. We had two Hofstra teams that we almost beat UCLA one year and we believed we were going to beat them. We believed we were good enough. I think it allowed us to respect everybody we play. I wouldn't change my path in any way.
Q. Coach, in regard to Reggie, how do you get a young man who I assume maybe probably earned a scholarship, based as an offensive player coming out to evolve into a guy who's defense, passing and maybe some of the dirty work, if you will?
COACH WRIGHT: The No. 1 question is how do you recruit the leading scorer in the history of his school, Saint Joe's prep, which was and he won't shoot when he comes to play for you. That's the question. His high school coach, Speedy Morris, he jokes all the time, he said I couldn't get him to play a lick of defense, and all he'll do is shoot. Now he won't shoot and he's our best defensive player. It's really bizarre to me.
So I say to him all the time, you know and I kind of laughed when he said, I took it under consideration what coach said. That's Reggie. Reggie doesn't do it because I said it. He's very, very bright. Saint Joe's Prep is a very, very competitive academic high school. He takes things under consideration. He thinks about everything. And that's probably why.
But I tried to explain, Reggie, you're the leading scorer in Saint Joe's prep history. Why are you tentative? You've got the green light, go. When he goes and he's aggressive, we're a great team. He had 11 assists and zero turnovers, our point guards have never done that. I think there's so much more we can get out of him. But he's a classic Philly player. He just plays to win. He's going to do as much as he has to to win, no more. And he's going to conserve his energy, but he's going to win. You love him for that, but we've got to get more out of him.
Q. This is the time of year when you talk about the coaching carousel and coaching changes. Coach Pitino has been asked about the Kentucky and Arizona job. Mike DeCourcy threw your name out today as a possible at Kentucky. Can you address that, and talk about how much the coaches follow the coaching changes in the carousel, and the fact that you have to answer these kind of questions?
COACH WRIGHT: You know, the more you're in it, you have different perspectives at this time of year. It's a crazy business we're in. I always used a line with our assistants when they complain about things, it's like "The Godfather," this is the life we chose. It is what it is. You have to deal with it this time of year.
I feel very fortunate I'm in a spot I don't have to deal with it. I'm happy to be at Villanova. I don't want to be anywhere else. Someone mentions your name, you're flattered. You're crazy if you don't say that, or you're not being truthful if you don't say that. But I don't want my name mentioned anywhere. I love Villanova. I've got a great athletic director, great president. As long as those guys are there, I'm good.
And I can concentrate on coaching. A lot of times when you're not in that position, it's distracting, because you have to think about you can be playing, and you have to think about your family and decisions you're going to have to make.
When I was at Hofstra it was a very different perspective. I feel very, very fortunate to be in this position.
Q. If you think back to your days as assistant, how is the Big East different now, since the expansion, and just all that's changed?
COACH WRIGHT: I just did a radio show with Coach Thompson and we just talked about that. It's different. I think what we have going right now in the Big East is something that's just new and unique to college sports. I don't think anybody knows how to deal with it yet. I think people always tend to pick the negative and say it's too big. Coaches are going to get fired. But how about the fact that any season ticket holder in any school in this conference saw incredible basketball every night. It was awesome. To be in it, to play in it, was incredible, every game.
We had a game at Seton Hall that was an incredible college basketball game, overtime. We could have got beat just as easy as we won. Anybody that was at that game would say, Wow, what a game. Every game was like that. I think we have something going that's incredible.
What was going on back then was different in that you only had nine teams. No one left early for the NBA. It was the hottest league. Every team had four or five pros. Maybe they had two that were seniors, two that were juniors. You saw that there was a freshman and sophomore coming up that were going to be pros. And there was a each team was better than the teams are now. But there weren't as many great teams in the country as there are now.
Back then, I remember when I was an assistant we played Syracuse and they had Coleman and Billy Owens, Sherman Douglas all on the same team. It was incredible. All the teams were like that. It was unbelievable.
Q. Just wanted to pose to you the question I posed to the players. Who in your mind best defines that term, straight baller?
COACH WRIGHT: Well, I'll give you this answer if you promise me, just use the answer. I think their team, and this is what makes them tough, and we take pride in this, too, I think they've got about eight ballers. That's what makes them so tough. You don't pick a guy and say he's just a shooter. They've got basketball players.
We're that way, too. But I think if you pick the guy on their team that you just say he's just he's a baller, he's just going to get it done, you have to say Levance Fields. He is their engine. But they all play that way. And that's why they are where they are. Not just because they've got a couple of good players. Bradley Wanamaker coming off the bench out of Philly is that way. They've got Gibbs is that way coming off the bench. They've got ballers.
Q. Since the personnel of your team this year is obviously almost identical to the personnel last year, I was wondering if you could comment on that five game losing streak last year and the adversity that they went through that ultimately might have shaped what they've become now a year and a half later?
COACH WRIGHT: I really believe that hardened them. I really believe that remains in their conscience that it's always possible. You heard Scottie Reynolds say we don't want to lose a game and go on a streak, because we experienced it together.
We didn't have to say to them going into the Big East season, Hey, we've got to be ready to play every night or we can go on a skid. They did it. They lived through it. And I really think it's given them a mental toughness that's carried us this far.
Q. You mentioned a few minutes ago that you're not sure the kids appreciated what happened earlier. When you were a young coach when you were watching it that night, did you appreciate it?
COACH WRIGHT: Tears in my eyes. It was when you're a young coach and you grow up in Philly and Rollie Massimino is a legend to you. He always preached I would work in his camp back then, and if you worked his camp you were family. So you always heard that when you worked his camp. Now you're watching it on the biggest stage and it's that team, family, is carrying him to a National Championship. It was awesome.
And I just I think our guys get it right now for our team, but they don't know it's the same thing that carried that team because they just weren't around. HBO did a great piece on that. I watched that HBO piece, it was great. But the historical perspective, what was going on in the country then, everything, what an underdog they really were, I don't think you could get that unless you were really there.
Q. Three years ago you lost in the 8 to a team that eventually would win two times, maybe you can rationalize that a little bit. What would it mean to you to get to the Final Four? How much have you thought about the ensuing times since you were very close, and maybe if the draw were different you would have gotten there, what would it mean for you to get to the Final Four?
COACH WRIGHT: You know, it's really not I know this is going to sound crazy it's not a goal of mine. It's really not. I would love to see these players get there. I know how much it would mean. It would mean the world to them. And I haven't thought about what I always thought about was the last three times we got knocked out, we got knocked out by the eventual national champions. So I really felt good about that in terms of our staff. I felt, you know what, we pushed them, they gave us everything they got. It took the National Champion to beat us.
And not as an excuse, but just that, you know what, we played a great team and maybe we just weren't good enough. But we were pretty damn good. We were Sweet 16, we were Elite 8.
We look at this tournament as match ups. We don't judge our program on whether we get to a Sweet 16, Final Four. We judge our program on: Are we playing the best basketball we can by the end of the season? All three of those losses we felt like we were playing our best basketball and we just got beat by a better team. And I felt good about that.
I'm sure there will come a time for us maybe where we slip. It could have happened in the American game. If we lost that American game I would have felt, you know what, we should be better than that team, we didn't play well enough tonight and that's our fault, we didn't get there. But those three teams that beat us were great.
Q. What it's like to lose an Elite 8 game when all the hype a couple of days later is about the four teams and no one remembers who lost?
COACH WRIGHT: You know, I've only done it once. You are crushed. You are crushed. Because when you get that far everything is clicking, everything is you're on such a high. Like right now we go to meetings, there's not one kid turning his eyes sideways. He's into everything you say. It's such a thrill as a coach and a team member. Then that ends, you're crushed.
Now for us, within a day or two you step back. We always have a team meeting a day or two later. Now let's look at what we did. During the season we never talk this senior class has all kinds of accomplishments. I know some of them, some of them I don't even know, I told our sports information director, I know you've got them, list them all at the end. We'll have a meeting, we'll talk about them. This is what you guys did.
But right now we want to be in the moment. Two days later we try to make them feel great about what they accomplished. And again, this is just us, one time, you're exhausted. The next couple of days those other teams are playing, you're kind of like, all right, I'd love to be here, but I'll take a couple of days off. You are shot, you really are.
Q. Coach, obviously Pitt's made it this far, so they're not that far off of their goals right now. But they haven't exactly been firing on all cylinders. A couple of close games. What do you think has held them back during these first three games, if anything?
COACH WRIGHT: I think each team has its own personality. I think their personality, it's kind of like we're talking about I think they have Levance Fields' personality, the team does. I don't think it's ever going to be pretty with them, but in the end they find a way to get it done. That's who they are. There are a lot of teams that have won championships doing that. And they've won Big East championships doing that, by the way.
I don't see it not firing on all cylinders. We watched the Xavier game. All the coaches were saying, they're going to do this. We've seen them do it so much. My assistants said Levance Fields is going to win this. I didn't see it at the end. I think that's what they do.
Q. I'm going to beat on that first Pitt game one more time. I understand your rationalization about the setting of the game, but your kids had no idea what the Spectrum is or was, and you didn't make a big deal out of it either. The second half you guys came back, they gave a lot of credit to Reggie for stepping up and going to the rim. What was your real sense of how that played out in that second half?
COACH WRIGHT: I think there's two points, here. I beg to differ with you on the building. I don't think they knew I know they didn't know anything about the Spectrum. But in that second half when that place got going and it was so hot in there. I pride myself I don't sweat too much. I was just sweating like crazy. And my friends were busting my chops bout going to my hanky all the time. I don't ever remember being in a game like that. It was so hot and so loud.
It's a different type place, everybody is on top of you. I really think it got us going. That crowd got us going, whether they knew where they were or not, it got us going.
And the second thing was, Shane Clark in the second half coming up with all those big offensive rebounds. Reggie Redding, big shots. Corey Fisher, big shots. They really hadn't done that before in Big East games. And that's what kind of got us going is they knew Pitt were they No. 1 or No. 2, 3? But they knew they were a great team. And now they do it against a great team and they got confidence and we got confidence in them. That's what I think really happened.
I swear, that building had a lot to do with it. I really do think it does. Just the crowd, I mean.
Q. Earlier you were talking about Reggie and you talked about him being a Philadelphia player and some of the characteristics. Can you expand on that, what is a Philadelphia basketball player like and can you compare that to what a Pitt basketball player might be like?
COACH WRIGHT: I don't know a lot of the Pittsburgh basketball players. The one I do know is DeJuan Blair. So you look at that, and I refer to him as a beast in a very complimentary way. I would say I could see that being a Pittsburgh basketball player. Blue collar, like the Steelers, that's how he plays to me.
A Philadelphia basketball player is they are not flashy. They are not flashy, at all. There's in Philly there's a term they call Philadelphia guard. Reggie Redding is one of them. They're guys that play the game in an intelligent way. Maybe a guy he can dunk, but he only dunks when he has to. He always makes the right pass. He understands time and score and he takes great pride in making the right plays and being a winner and not being flashy or drawing attention to himself. People in Philly, basketball players, take a great pride in that. And that's Reggie. Shane Clark is the same way.
Q. I think in your three tournament games you've outscored opponents in the second half 50 some points. Coincidence or is there a common denominator in there?
COACH WRIGHT: I think we have good depth, I really do. I think we're able to if you look at the minutes, some of Duke's top guys played 36 minutes. Our top guys played 32, 30. That can make a difference over the course of a game. And Antonio Pena is a guy I wanted to get in there more. He gave us great minutes last night. And I hope to use him more tomorrow.
What I mean by that is we can our guys aren't getting tired. We're actually looking for opportunities to get Pena more minutes.
Q. In conjunction with that, do you sell to the two Coreys, say, We only have seven starters. Do you have to sell it to them or do they feel equal with the other five?
COACH WRIGHT: You know what, a couple of people around our program say that, they say there's seven starters or they call them the big 8. But I've never had to say that to them, ever. Those guys, they really don't care. It's an amazing thing, because those guys are big time players. I'm sure they would love to start, but I know they don't care. They really don't. They've been outstanding that way. And they're in a lot at the end of the games. They know that. But I never have to talk to them about it.