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March 20, 2010

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An interview with:

THE MODERATOR: We're now joined by Villanova student athletes Maalik Wayns and Corey Stokes along with head coach Jay Wright. Coach Wright, would you please make an opening statement?

COACH WRIGHT: Yeah, I want to first congratulate St. Mary's on a great game. It was a great game to be a part of. Both teams played really hard, played well and they were outstanding. They made all the plays down the stretch. Defensively they made great plays, huge shots, made all their free throws. You've got to give them credit. Well coached team, Randy does a great job with them.
Whatever we talk about here that we didn't do well, which I know we'll have to talk about, but I want it to be very clear, a lot of it comes from them doing a great job, on both ends of the floor. It wasn't just that we didn't do things well, they did a great job on both ends of the floor.

Q. Maalik and Corey both, can you just talk about going up against them, what you expected. Did they do anything different to be able to gain control a couple of times? I know you came back at them, but they were in control a couple of times by double figures?

Corey Stokes: They did a great job driving to the basket, jump stopping, getting open threes, and they also did a great job getting the ball into Samhan.
Maalik Wayns: They did what we expected, they went to their man Samhan, reversed the ball and made plays. And he made plays from out of the post and they're a good team.

Q. Maalik, I know it's kind of hard to think about now, but just getting these two games under your belt, how much do you think that will help you in the rest of your career?

 

 

Maalik Wayns: I don't know. I can't really think that far ahead. I'm just proud of playing with these guys and this team this year. I had a great year, and I learned a lot from these two games. I can't really think about next year.

Q. Can you comment on Scottie Reynolds and what you've seen from him this past year and just a general comment on his career?

Maalik Wayns: You know, he's a great leader, great player. He's always there when you need him, off the court, on the court. I learned a lot from him, us being roommates on the road. He's somebody that you want one of your kids to be like, you want to be like yourself. He's just an all around great person.

Q. Can you just talk about what you planned to do with Samhan? It seems as if the second half you obviously doubled more than you did the first. I'm sure that was priority No. 1, and the kid had a great game?

COACH WRIGHT: Yeah. We tried everything, we tried to keep fresh bodies on him first. We tried Maurice Sutton, Mouphtaou Yarou, we even tried Antonio Pena, we even tried Taylor King a little bit to get a small guy to front him and out work him. Then we tried to double him. He made every play out of every defensive scheme we tried.
We blitzed him and he beat the double team baseline one time and scored. We fronted him. We ran the shot clock down. There was no time on the clock, they threw it up over him and he scored. We played behind him. We tried not to foul him. He does a great job creating separation and getting a fade away, we still drew the foul. He read every defensive scheme perfectly. He was great. I thought we did a good job in every other area defensively, just with him.

Q. It's kind of an odd box score, you got 20 more shots from the field, you held them even rebounding. You got more turns from them. It was a shooting percentage game what it came down to. Is it something they did or were your guys just tight or just off?

COACH WRIGHT: You know, a couple of those things. You've got to give them credit, you've got to give them some credit. I hate to sit up here and say we got our shots. Well, obviously the shots we got, some of them they wanted us to get those shots. And it worked for them, you know? I thought we got great shots off ball screens for Scottie Reynolds. A lot of those he hits them. And he didn't hit them. But you've got to find ways. We didn't get to the offensive glass maybe. We got 15 offensive rebounds. It was like a two or three point game.
The play of the game was the banked three. You know, we had a great defensive possession and McConnell just hit a great shot. And then we didn't score the next possession, and that was the game. So it was a close game. We make a couple more shots, it's easy to say, but you've got to give them credit for that defensively.

Q. Do you think if St. Mary's was in the East that they'd have a lot more respect ability or wouldn't be quite under the radar as they are, as they've shown what kind of team they are?

COACH WRIGHT: Probably. Yeah, probably. They can play with anybody in the Big East, there's no doubt. They're a very, very good team. So I would assume if everybody is watching them every night in the East coast, yeah, they probably would have a lot more respect.

Q. Can you comment on Scottie Reynolds, please?

COACH WRIGHT: Yeah, it's a sad day for me because this guy has been really the face of our program. And you hear Maalik talk about him and I think that's one of the best things I can say about him. He's impacted everybody in our team. I think Maalik Wayns is going to be a great player because of Scottie Reynolds. I think all of us think I'm a better coach because of Scottie Reynolds, not just because of our record, but what I've learned about players and people. He's just a guy that really cares about his teammates.
He cares about other people and he's got an incredible determination in everything he does. Incredible loyalty. He's everything you want your sons to be. You want all your players to be.

Q. Down to the Final Four last year, did that put some unreasonable burdens or expectations on this team, considering when you look back it really wasn't the same team? Was that something an additional weight it had to carry throughout this year?

COACH WRIGHT: It was a challenge all year. It was a first time for us. And we've talked about that a lot with our team, that there's so much expectation on this team but a lot of the guys on this team really didn't haven't earned that. And there's also not just expectation there was a lot of praise put on this team that we really hadn't earned. And inside our team I'm proud of this team. They stuck together.
Our journey was not an easy one. It was a tough one. But they really stuck together to the bitter end. I thought we were playing hard at the end, we probably played the hardest tonight that we played all year. That's what we want to do, be the best we can at the end of the year. But we understand the expectations were much higher for this team. And we have to take what comes with that. We do. Because as I said we took the praise and that's part of being an athlete these days, it's part of being a team at this level that gets this type of attention.

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