April 3, 2009
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Coach Jay Wright. We'll take questions.
Q. Regular Friday practice, right?
COACH WRIGHT: It's a great experience out there. I think it's really good preparation for our
guys because when they come in here tomorrow night, they will never have seen anything like that.
So today's practice, they've never seen anything like. It's just a good start. We talked about that.
Just how to handle the distractions around us and try to keep our concentration, we talk about 94-by-50
feet. It was great. The fans were great, too.
Q. You've had a few days to probably watch Scottie play about a thousand times. Can
you talk about what the most amazing parts of that mad scramble were and why are we in love so
much with the last-second heroics in this sport?
COACH WRIGHT: Well, I think there was a lot of amazing parts of that play. If you asked me for
the most, I think it was the fact that Scottie went up into the defender's arms. I thought the defender did a
great job. You don't want to foul there. You want to keep your hands straight up. You want to contest
the shot. The guy did everything he was supposed to do, and Scottie still completed the play. That's
what was amazing about it.
The last-second shot is, I think, only to basketball. Even the Hail Mary pass, you've got -- you
know, you get to stop, run the play. In basketball, it happens so fast, and it can happen right as the horn
blow. I don't think there's anything like that in sports. It's probably one of the biggest thrills in sports.
Q. Your teams always seem to pride themselves on defense. How much of that is a coach
motivating them or challenging them and how much of it is that's just the type of guys they are,
the type of guys you recruit?
COACH WRIGHT: I think you need both. We try to look for players that we think we will be able
to get to commit to being good defensive players, and eventually want to internalize that so that they look
at themselves as that's who they are. And we have to teach them. But you try to find guys, we use the
word 'voluntary cooperation,' that are going to voluntarily cooperate to get themselves that way for us.
Q. Are you ready to play a game at this point? Do you think your players are getting to
that point, too?
COACH WRIGHT: You know, I think we all are ready to play. But it actually has worked out
pretty nicely here. I think we needed -- I don't know if it's because of our game ended the way it did
against Pitt, but we needed a couple of days to enjoy that and come down from that.
I thought Tuesday, we didn't really have a great practice. I think we were still coming down from
that. And then Wednesday, we started to pick it up again. And we had a great practice Wednesday,
great practice yesterday. I said to the guys today, "We have one more day to get through. This is the
challenge, where we stay focused. That's our challenge."
I actually think it's probably perfect times. If I had to change thinking, maybe play a little earlier
tomorrow, that's all. But I think the timing's perfect.
Q. Tyler Hansbrough is known for being aggressive under the basket, drawing fouls.
What do you see in that that helps him and how do you intend to contend with that?
COACH WRIGHT: Well, I believe he's made the most free throws of any player in the history of
college basketball. If you look at all the stats, three-point shots made, whatever, That might be one of the
most impressive stats you can have, to get yourself to the foul line and be smart enough. Over 80%
free-throw shooter. You're getting a foul on your opponent and you're getting two points.
What he does a great job of is he gets the defender out of position, and he's so strong that he
actually creates contact with the ball. Lesser players use their shoulders, their arms. He uses the ball
and puts it into your body. It's brilliant. You got to be really strong to do that. That's what he does, I
think, better than anybody I've seen in a long time.
Q. Foul trouble, though?
COACH WRIGHT: We're talking to them about it. But I'm sure every coach that's played against
him has talked to their guys. We do not want to lose our aggressiveness. I don't want to make it such an
issue that we lose our aggressiveness.
Q. Can you honestly say you never second-guessed yourself by declining to talk to
COACH WRIGHT: This time?
Q. Last time.
COACH WRIGHT: Last time. Yeah, you always do. You know, I heard John Calipari say, if he
didn't do that this time, he'd always be wondering what if. Right after you do it, and you see what the guy
signs for, you know, for a second, you go, Wow, that will buy a lot of horses.
Once you get back to what you're doing with your school, after that, honestly, I love where I am.
Once I got back coaching Villanova, I just know this is why I love Villanova, working with the people there.
So since then, honestly, never.
Q. Yesterday North Carolina was described as an army, a machine, unstoppable. You
fielded a lot of questions about being the only coach in this Final Four where this is new turf for
you. How will you go about or how have you gone about getting your guys to believe that they
win tomorrow night?
COACH WRIGHT: Honestly, this group, more than any group I've ever coached anywhere --
even at Hofstra, sometimes we won games against some great teams at Hofstra, and the goal going into
the game was we got to convince the guys that they can do it.
With this group, we have never had to do that. They just have a confidence about them. They
have a belief in what we do. It's the most enjoyable, probably easiest coaching job we've ever had. I
wouldn't want to make something up for you and tell them I have this great inspirational speech for them,
because I don't. I haven't throughout this tournament. They bring it every day. That's what makes this
Q. The company you're keeping this weekend, three coaches that have been in the Final
Four, how special that is for the program?
COACH WRIGHT: It's very humbling. It's a thrill. I'm more a fan probably of the game and of the
coaches myself, and a student of the coaches, than I am, the accolades that come with this. I told Jim
Calhoun, I watched his tapes. I went to watch him in clinics. Tom Izzo is a guy I talked to throughout my
career and learned from. Roy Williams honestly to me was like a god. Every time he would say hello to
me on the road, was polite, nice, knew my name, I was impressed. That's just the truth.
As I was saying, our guys don't look at it that way. Some people in our party last night after that
dinner, the NCAA runs a dinner, CBS last night, just amazing. We're up on stage with those guys. A lot
of people in our party says, Wow, it was really cool to see you up there with those guys.
I felt the same way.
But our players don't say that. They're such a great group. They're ball players. They're coming
out of there saying, What do we do next, Coach?
Q. We're seeing a lot of retrospectives on the '85 team. I bring it up just to ask, obviously
you're an underdog in this game. Do you feel you have to play the perfect game and shoot 78%,
not make a single mistake to win on Saturday?
COACH WRIGHT: I really don't. And I think that's the difference between this team and maybe
that team in '85. You know, they were an 8 seed. That year, Georgetown was just incredible,
intimidating. Carolina is probably just as good as that Georgetown team.
Coach Mass was great at creating that atmosphere. He loved being the underdog. He could
convince you in the beginning of the week, you better listen to him, because there's no way in the world
you can win this game. So if you don't listen to him, you're going to get killed. By the end of the week,
you believed there's no way we're losing this game. He was the master at that.
I can't do that. I'm not as good at that. Our players believe they can win. We use a term, we
don't have to play perfect, we just have to play together. That's how we're gonna play and our guys
believe we're gonna win that way.
Q. In terms of your family, what has this experience meant to them? Your kids, what is
the most exciting part about being here at the Final Four?
COACH WRIGHT: My daughter has been with us the whole way. She's loving it. My two boys
are playing high school baseball, so they're flying in tonight. They watched the show last night, the CBS
show, on the Internet. They said the same thing. They're like, Wow, it was cool seeing dad up there with
those guys. They think those guys are good coaches. They just think I'm dad.
So my boys will get in here tonight, and my wife has been with me the whole way. That's really
been a thrill for the three of us to watch. You know what they really loved, they love watching our players.
They love our players. My wife, my daughter, our kids, watching their excitement, they love that. It's
Q. From the start of the season right up through the Big East tournament, we asked you
about the upside of playing in such a physical conference and the downside. Now that you're
here in the Final Four, what do you think were either the benefits or not of coming through the
schedule in the Big East?
COACH WRIGHT: One of the benefits I've learned right now is that we're a pretty physically
powerful team. If we weren't, we would have gotten beat up in the Big East with injuries. There were
years in the past where I remember a few years ago when we played Kentucky in the first round, Michael
Nard, who was six foot, 165-pound guard from Elizabeth, New Jersey, was hurt in the Big East
tournament, just banged up. Got to the NCAA tournament, he was banged up. Curtis Sumpter was hurt.
We just didn't have the depth. We have a great strength coach in Lon Record that we didn't have before.
I'm starting to realize, when they're your guys, they don't seem as big and strong to you. Coming
through that league, I think we've realized, we're a pretty strong team, and it has made us better and
At the same time, I've learned we better do this every year. We better be physically strong. We
better get guys like that, or this league can beat you up physically.
Q. You took a moment during your remarks at the end of practice to mention the coaches,
that sort of fraternity up in the stands that's here every year for the Friday practices. You watch
what's going on. Can you recall some of the times you were here for those and somebody's drill
that you liked the looks of, made a note on? If you are the Cinderella here, are you here for some
guys that look down and say, That must be a lot of fun?
COACH WRIGHT: I hope so, I really do. I hope we're one of those teams, one of those guys.
Just a couple years ago, when Georgetown was here, I really think the world of John Thompson III and
his wife, we're good friends, my seats that the NCAA gives you was right next to the Georgetown student
section, they were chanting Big East to me. I was rooting for Georgetown with them. I remember
watching there, thinking, Man, that's just so great for him. Not even thinking we were going to be there.
I remember when I was an assistant at the University of Rochester, my first couple years, I was
so naive. I came to these practices and I took notes. And certain teams, the first year I ever did it,
Villanova was here, and certain teams didn't really run a lot of drills. I didn't even know that they would
practice somewhere else before they came in here. I just didn't know. I was thinking, Man, this is how
they're practicing a day before the game? I was just so naive.
But I took notes on everything everybody did. Coach Massimino's team was real lose. They
played pickup games. I was thinking, What is he doing? I remember watching Carolina's practices. I
remember watching in the Meadowlands when Calipari's team was there, taking notes from everybody. I
always had notes from those practices.
Even last year, I took little notes, I snuck and saw Davidson practice, because Bob McKillop was
a guy I always worked for at his camp. It was a thrill to be there. We purposely did some drills because I
thought, you know, if it helps some coaches in the stands, that's great, 'cause it helped me.
Q. How would you describe your philosophy regarding timeouts? Are you a guy that likes
to save them to the end or use them throughout the games? Do you have a philosophy?
COACH WRIGHT: You know, it's total feel. It is different games, different situations. In our
game against Marquette in the Big East tournament, we did something we normally wouldn't do. We took
a timeout knowing that we wouldn't have one for the last possession offensively. We rarely do that, but
we just felt like we needed to at that time. Obviously in the Pitt game, we did save it.
Sometimes we use them in the first half, and we need do. Sometimes we don't. It's just total feel.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, coach.
COACH WRIGHT: Thank you very much, guys.
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Villanova student-athletes. We'll open it up for questions.
Q. Dante, Tyler Hansbrough has a knack for drawing fouls. What have you seen on tape
that enables him to do that and how do you plan to defend without getting into too much foul
DANTE CUNNINGHAM: Well, a lot of times he pump fakes. He likes to do that a lot. He takes
his time in the post. I just have to stay down, be conscious of it, not go for his ball fakes.
Q. Yesterday North Carolina was described as a machine, an army, unstoppable,
unbeatable. When you look at North Carolina, what do you see and how do you feel about being
or not being underdogs?
DWAYNE ANDERSON: Everyone knows they're an offensive machine. We take pride in
ourselves of defending and rebounding. So we definitely want to try to limit Ty Lawson's on the open
floor, limit Wayne Ellington's shots. But as far as them being unstoppable, I don't think they're
undefeated, so they definitely can be beat. But it should be a great match.
SCOTTIE REYNOLDS: Along with that, you know, we have great confidence in what we do. It's
taken us this far and we're not going to change anything we've been doing.
I think offensively and defensively, we're not going to try to play perfect. We just got to play
together and play off of one another. As long as we do that, we feel we have great confidence that we
can go out there and perform a pretty good basketball game.
Q. Scottie, it's been a few days since you hit the shot. Can you talk about different people
coming up to you, the anecdotes of people telling you how cool it was. Who are your favorite
last-second shots and how does your compare?
SCOTTIE REYNOLDS: It's been unbelievable. Everywhere I go, I go, that's the only thing
anybody talks about. Especially back in Philadelphia, they had a pep rally, parade in my honor. This he
going bonkers down there.
But as far as the shots that I know in history, the Danny Ainge, Tyus Edney, we'll have to see
where that adds up. Hopefully it will go down in history. Hopefully, they'll say we won a championship, as
Q. Scottie, what do you know about the 1985 game? Is it like watching some old
black-and-white film? Have you watched it?
SCOTTIE REYNOLDS: I haven't watched like the whole game, but the highlights. Growing up in
Virginia, not too far away from D.C., we know about -- all of us know about the Georgetown teams,
especially when Villanova upseted [sic] them. People talk about them playing the perfect game, shooting,
what, 70-something percent.
I don't think we have to play a perfect game. We don't have to shoot 70-something percent. Like
I said before, we just have to go out there, be more together, play hard, play with more pride than the
Q. Scottie, the other day, Ty Lawson said he spent some time at the casinos. I was
wondering what you thought about that? Have you gone? If you haven't gone, did Jay say
anything to you about the casinos?
SCOTTIE REYNOLDS: You know, we try to stay all together as a team, eating together, just
doing certain things together. We haven't been at the casinos. We haven't been gambling or anything.
As far as Ty, we know when it comes time for him to step on the court, he's going to lead his
team to the next game, next round, so we don't expect anything different from him.
Q. You've been doing this for a week now, 'sing the same questions. How eager are you
to have this part be over and play a game tomorrow?
DWAYNE ANDERSON: I think we're very prepared. We just can't wait to get on the floor. This
is a wonderful experience. We're not looking past this. We're letting it soak in, all the media and different
stuff we have to do for the Final Four.
For example, last night, we was watching film. Reggie, I looked over, I could see in his eyes, he
just cannot wait to be on the floor. So we're definitely counting down till the ball goes up in the air.
Q. When Sampson went to Indiana, what happened with you not going there?
SCOTTIE REYNOLDS: Oh, man.
Q. How difficult of an adjustment was it going through the motion of losing your coach
and going to Villanova sight unseen?
SCOTTIE REYNOLDS: I have a bad memory (smiling). I was definitely thinking about going to
Indiana, and some of the recruits that were already going to Oklahoma actually were thinking about going
as well. It just didn't happen that way. I think we all just wanted to stay close to home. Damien stayed in
Texas. He from Texas. I stayed, like, two and a half hours from where I'm from. So that was that
Losing your coach, losing a lot of things that you put into the recruiting process and bringing guys
to Oklahoma, it was definitely tough. I think everybody stayed together and made the best decisions for
themselves individually. Coach Capel has done an unbelievable job at Oklahoma. I have great respect
for him, what he's done there.
As far as Villanova, I couldn't have scripted it any better, coming here, being able to play as a
freshman, being with these guys that are basically from the same area, just growing as a Villanova
basketball player, growing as a man. Hopefully that's going to continue, not just the rest of this year, but
next year as well.
Q. Dante, you've played against a lot of good big men in the Big East. How does
Hansbrough compare stylistically, performance-wise? What's similar?
DANTE CUNNINGHAM: What's different between Tyler and some other big men, he faces up a
little bit more. He has a low midrange jump shot. He puts the ball on the floor a lot. I have to use a lot
more of my quickness against him, not go for his pump fakes.
Q. In the off-season, Scottie, did you spend any time with Ty, did the Kansas game come
up from last year's Final Four?
SCOTTIE REYNOLDS: Nah, it never came up. Honestly, not just me, but these guys as well,
when we're not like at Villanova or something, we don't really talk too much about that. That's our time
where we can just be ourselves, laid back, let our hair down, get our feet wet, just chill a little bit.
Everybody has to get away sometimes. You know, we go play summer games, summer league
games, workout together. We just relax, have a good time.
Q. Dwayne, you don't have the Final Four experience, but you were out here in Detroit last
year. Does that familiarity help at all?
DWAYNE ANDERSON: Definitely. Last year I remember when we came on the floor for the first
open practice, we came out and we were like kind of in awe because of the atmosphere, the size of the
arena, et cetera.
This year we came out, it was strictly business. There was a lot of fans. We enjoy that.
Basically this is a business trip for us. We have plenty of guys that seen this last year. So
hopefully it will be an advantage. UNC played here before. Michigan, it's like a home game for them. I
don't think anyone has the upper advantage.
Q. Dante, does it amaze you that this is Coach Wright's first time coaching a Final Four,
yet he's still out there seemingly as relaxed as ever? What is it about him that enables him to
retain that level of cool?
DANTE CUNNINGHAM: Everybody know that Coach Wright is smooth, calm, collected. He
seems never to be rattled, regardless of what's going on. I think where our team pretty much gets it from.
When we're down, when things go wrong, we're cool and never in a panic.
I mean, to be in a first Final Four, I know I'm nervous. I know I'm excited. I'm pretty sure he is,
too. But you definitely have to keep it in perspective.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, gentlemen, and good luck tomorrow.