Villanova/West Virginia Post-Game Quotes
Feb. 20, 2008
Villanova head coach Jay Wright...
Opening statement: That was a good game for us. It was a big game and we needed to prove to ourselves that we were going to keep getting better. We have been playing well since the Seton Hall game and since Dwayne Anderson stepped up as a great leader and gave great chemistry to the team. He has given us great leadership and taken some pressure off the younger guys, which allows them to play better.
We have seen West Virginia score a lot of points on people. We did a good job defensively in this game and really our last two games. We did a good job against St. John's and they scored the fewest points ever against us in a Big East game. I have seen West Virginia score a lot of points. We know they have great shooters and run great stuff.
On the team's defensive improvement: It has come from a lot of little things. The basic thing is the team just getting older and the repetition of understanding what we are doing. Having Dwayne out there gives us an older person that is a great communicator and a great team defensive player. Now we have at least two juniors out there with him and Dante Cunningham. They are running the show out there and they are doing a great job communicating defensively.
The young guys are trying defensively but they aren't sure exactly what they are doing yet. It's hard to talk and be aggressive when you aren't sure what you're doing. Dante and Dwayne cover that assertiveness for everyone else and they are doing a great job.
On the switch to a zone defense in the first half: West Virginia runs a great motion offense and there was a point where we actually weren't defending that badly but they were running their offense really great. The switch was really because we just didn't want to guard them anymore.
On Dwayne Anderson remaining in the starting lineup: I sure hope so. I think he has earned it and he can get a lot better too. We see the things he does in practice and he has committed himself to being a great overall basketball player. He has all the talent in the world and I think we'll keep seeing more of it.
On Scottie Reynolds leadership: Scottie is a leader on the team because he is a great player but at the same time he is still a sophomore. Our upperclassmen leaders are Dwayne Anderson, Dante Cunningham and Shane Clark. Shane brings us a lot that you don't always see. He still isn't 100 percent but he can give us some minutes. The juniors are really taking control of the team and I am proud of them for that.
On the lineups used tonight: I thought we could play smaller guards and press them a little bit more but we just looked too young at times. It's no fault of the younger guys. They are going to be good but we have guys like Dwayne who are very experienced.
On Corey Stokes: Corey is one of those guys who came in this year and was very patient about being a freshman. He didn't come in and say `Okay, I have to start.' He kept working and really tried to learn and now he has a better understanding of what we're doing because of how he approached it. His approach was very intelligent and very patient. He has gotten himself to the point where he is really sound and solid now. He is playing with great confidence.
On looking back to the five-game losing streak: I wasn't concerned about our future but I was a little concerned about this season. I knew we would be good eventually but there was some worry that we wouldn't find a way to make it happen this year. Corey Stokes and Dwayne Anderson have been a big part of the difference in our recent play. Corey is a solid all-around player and is defending and rebounding right now. Dwayne is a great leader and a great player too. When you best players are your best leaders that is when you have a good team.
On getting leadership from the three juniors: It makes it a little easier on the coaching staff. We want to keep pushing the whole team and drive them to get better but now that drive is coming from within them and they are getting excited by themselves. The motivation is coming from guys like Shane, Dante and Dwayne. If we keep playing some good games that excitement will keep coming from within them.
On focusing on the recent strong play: We aren't really focusing on that too much right now. We never talk about the next game that is coming up. We have talked about what we have been through together this season and how we have remained tough. When we had the losing streak nobody quit and we kept getting better and didn't give up. We want to talk about what we went through there and not go backwards. We want to keep going forward one game at a time. We have looked at what we have gone through together this year more than we have looked at what is coming up.
Junior forward Dwayne Anderson...
On his recent success: I feel great about my success right now but there are four other guys out on the floor that are making everything happen. I'm proud and I'm happy with the team's play but I just hope we keep pushing in the right direction.
On the five-game losing streak: We never got down on ourselves and kept pushing. As older guys we know that it's going to turn around and we tried to stress that to the younger guys. We kept on believing that we would keep doing well.
On the team's defensive improvement: Every guy on the floor is committed to our defense effort. That is what changed everything for us and it is why we are successful now.
Freshman guard Corey Stokes...
On his recent play: The coaches talk to me everyday and keep telling me to go out and be more aggressive and play with confidence. That is what I have been trying to do.