Villanova/Pittsburgh Post-Game Quotes
March 28, 2009
Villanova head coach Jay Wright...
Opening statement: This is a tremendous thrill. We have so much respect for the Pitt program. We battle them all the time, in recruiting and on the court. It never gets personal. Their kids played their butts off. Before the game DeJuan Blair gave me a hug during warm-ups. Yesterday during the media stuff Levance Fields came over to me. They will kill you on the court but they are so classy. They are a Final Four caliber team. Anybody could have won this game. We are proud to be a part of the BIG EAST with them. We feel for them because it could have been us very easily. I want to say to all the people here that this place was awesome. We had a great time in Boston. Everyone here was great to us. I just want to thank all of you that are here for all that you did.
Our core with the four seniors and Scottie Reynolds - they are all great players and we saw it tonight. We have a lot of guys that made big time plays, including Corey Fisher making free throws down the stretch. We have really good players and they play well as a team. I am proud of them and to be able to continue Villanova's great tradition.
On calling a timeout in between the two late free throws by Levance Fields: We knew what we were going to do if the game was tied. Like the guys said we do practice that. The timeout gave us a chance to decide that. If we were going to do something unusual it would have been to wait and see what happened. We were hoping to freeze him but with Levance Fields at the line I should have known there was no way he was going to miss. When we got the ball back, we wanted our guys to be set and get to the right spots because we thought that was our best chance. We practice that all the time and it worked out.
On what Rollie Massimino said to him after the game: He said he was very proud of us and was so happy for the team. It was emotional for both of us. It means the world to me to have him here. I wanted him on the court when we cut down the nets but he didn't want to be there. I think he wanted that to be our time.
On the growth of the seniors and Scottie Reynolds: I told this group that they earned the right to be good enough to play in the Final Four. We could have lost but they still would have earned that right just like Pitt did. They are good enough to be a Final Four team; we happened to win tonight. The four seniors came to college to be a part of a program and to get a great education and be a part of our culture. Not a single one of them ever asked me about what would happen if they left early. They are old school guys that came here to be a part of something and it is so special for me to be a part of it with them.
On having confidence in Scottie Reynolds to execute the final play: It is a play we practice so when we called the timeout all we needed to say was that's the play we are going to use. We had not been rebounding free throws well so that is why we got Shane Clark in there. We were worried if Levance Fields missed the second free throw they would get an offensive rebound like they had done to us all night. Corey Fisher was playing great at the end - he made all the free throws - but like Scottie said we practice that all the time. We have great confidence in him. Scottie has done that in games a lot. We are confident in him anyway but he was done that for a lot where he has made big shots at the end of games.
On Reggie Redding's first inbounds pass: I put him in that position and I did hear one of the guys mention it that Reggie will hear about the play in film. It is easy to critique the play but it is hard to be the guy that is there in battle and has to make the decision. We tell the guys that they have to trust their decisions and that is a point I made to the team. We did talk about that. If it had ended up that the play could have cost us the game we would have applauded Reggie for having the guts to make the play. After dealing with all the team stuff, as a sensible basketball person it wasn't a great decision. Within our team Reggie knows that we trust him and if it happened we would have all been there to pick him up.
On winning this kind of game: It is just starting to sink in now. It is numbing when it happens, especially when the game ends like that. You watch games like this on TV all the time and you think it must be the greatest feeling in the world. It is starting to hit me now. When we were out there I was numb. I had my whole family there with me and my wife said to enjoy this. In my own mind I was just trying to get over that play and wanted to make sure Reggie felt good about the play. It is thrilling now that it is starting to hit me. I am so happy for all of your players. I know so many of the players from the teams in the 40's and the 50's and on through all of the decades. We have a great tradition here. They are always there for us and I am happy for all of them.
On the team's play after Dante Cunningham and Shane Clark had four fouls: That was huge for us. We never have Shane and Dante on the bench down the stretch. That's just what they do for us. Corey Fisher stepped up and got to the foul line. We got a turnover and then the trap by Dwayne Anderson and the basket and one. Then Dwayne hit the three-pointer. Seniors just get it done for you. They really do. They are invaluable and that is a big part of the game.
Junior guard Scottie Reynolds...
On the last play: It is something we do every day in practice with end of game situations. When I got the ball it was an instinct play and it was just whatever I decided. I could pass it but I knew how much time was on the clock and I got lucky with one second left.
On having the ball he made the last shot with: They said this is it so I believe them. They could be lying to me but I was asking everyone and they said this is it. [Senior associate athletic director] Bob Steitz is the one who got the ball for me.
On the emotional roller coaster in the last few minutes: I told someone that the last two minutes of the game were exactly like practice. We always turn the ball over in practice somehow to lose the game. Someone always hits shots from the white team [the second team] and Coach yells at us. It was exactly like practice. We have created those habits in practice and we have lost some and won some. It prepares us for end of game situations and keeping good attitudes throughout. Anything can happen, whether it is them making big plays or us turning it over we kept great attitudes throughout the whole situation.
On Dwayne Anderson: He is very important for us. We talked about at halftime that if we were going to go down it was going to be playing our style and we were going to leave it all out there. Dwayne and Corey Fisher did a great job of that and of playing off each other. Dwayne made some big shots. In the first half some of his shots didn't go but he had the confidence to make good plays. That is what the seniors do for us and we love them for it.
On making the last shot: There are so many emotions going through my head. You think about it as a youngster, about advancing yourself to the Final Four or winning a championship game. It makes it special to do it with these guys on my back and for the players that came before us. It contributes to our program. Everybody that came before us put us in the position to be where we are now. We take great pride in continuing the tradition.
On seeing his last shot go in: When I made the shot I just so everybody rush the court. I actually didn't see it go in. Coach West was pulling everyone by their necks to get off the court because the game wasn't over and there was time on the clock. Then you start thinking about something crazy happening because you have seen it before. When the ball left Levance Fields' hand at the end it was right on target. If there is a little less on the shot we could be in another position right now.
Senior guard Dwayne Anderson...
On the final play: We know the play because we run it in practice. I know I will take some heat for the move I made but Reggie hit Dante and he hit Scottie and it was executed the way we draw it up.
On Scottie Reynolds: He can score inside or outside. He is very athletic and plays defense well. He attacks the rim and is very aggressive.
On his steal and three-point play coming out of a timeout: It was definitely a spur of the moment kind of thing. We were down and needed to do something to get ourselves going. Somehow I deflected it and got the and one. That changed the momentum of the game and that was great for us.
On Corey Fisher: He has been like that all year. He was the Sixth Man of the Year in the BIG EAST and he showed why tonight. He is always explosive when he comes off the bench, anytime he is in the game. He changes the tempo of the game and he does it night in and night out.
Senior forward Dante Cunningham...
On the last play: Once I saw they left me open I knew I either had to get it up the court to Dwayne Anderson or Shane Clark or get it to Scottie. He was flying down the court and he was just open. He has jets; it is hard to catch him once he has the ball.
On receiving the inbounds passes: It is something we go through every day in practice, where we don't allow ourselves to have timeouts in end of game situations. We just trust ourselves that if it's thrown we will get it.
On whether he said something to Reggie Redding after the first inbounds pass: I did actually. Reggie said it was his fault and I was like `What are you talking about?' The play was over and we just had to get back on defense. I wasn't worried about it. On the second play I had already forgot about the first one. I don't even know what happened.