Dec. 14, 2007
Villanova head coach Jay Wright...
Opening statement: I am proud of our team and I can say that about us but you have to give some credit to Hartford and to Dan Leibovitz and his staff. They controlled the tempo of the game. We tried to press early on and spread the floor but they hit some threes. When we tried to take the threes away they got the ball inside and had some nice looks. They were strong taking the ball to the basket and got to the free throw line. We had a tough time guarding them off the dribble. We didn't look great but a lot of credit goes to their team. I like what Dan is doing with the team. They are a tough team. As for us, we have a lot of work to do and I would say that win or lose. Whatever goes on with us, and whether people think we are a top 25 team or not we can't worry about that. We have to worry about getting better at the things that we want to do. We still have work to do.
On whether the team's offensive output has covered up some of the defensive mistakes: They aren't covered up to us. We know that it's there and we know there is a lot of work to do. That's where we are right now. We say we have to get better defensively but it isn't that the ability isn't there. When we get a lead or a couple of defensive stops we take a couple of possessions off. That's what young teams do, so we need to teach them and stick with them. They are trying and we know that. Everyone is out there trying.
On the defense to this point in the season: This is kind of what I expected. We can put a team on the floor that is very experienced and with guys who can defend, and I always go to Dwayne Anderson when the team needs him. We have experienced guys who can defend but we are trying to build some depth. They are learning a lot right now and we are lucky to be winning while we are learning. Dwayne comes in and really holds the team together defensively. From a defensive standpoint he made the difference tonight.
On what makes Dwayne Anderson a great defensive player: Besides being a very good athlete Dwayne is smart and experienced. He has had three years here and knows exactly what we do and how to communicate. With some of the younger players it isn't that our defense is bad but the young guys aren't used to playing defense with four other guys. We talk about playing unselfish offensively but we have to be unselfish defensively too by communicating. That is what Dwayne does. He comes in and he is out there talking to everybody and he knows how to do that.
On the progress of the younger players: Last year we started poorly in the BIG EAST and we were trying to get Scottie Reynolds and Reggie Redding going. The younger players this year will catch on. I know we have a lot of work to do but I'm not worried.
Junior guard Dwayne Anderson...
On his role coming into a game: I just try to have a positive attitude and play a positive role. I try to change the game any way I can and play hard every minute of the game.
On his defense: We work on different things defensively in practice and we go over certain places to be defensively.
Sophomore guard Scottie Reynolds...
On having a big second half after a slow first half: I think me and coach have a pretty good understanding on that. We have been saying all year that if you have a bad game you have to forget it and come back the next day. Even if you have a bad half then you have to come back the next half, so I try to take that philosophy possession by possession. Our defense needs to get better as we go on but we will keep working on it and keep improving.
On helping the younger players defensively: I think last year I was probably one of the worst defensively on the team and in some ways I'm still not that good. The difference I think is now I have been in the system for a year and I am a couple of steps ahead of the younger guys. Having that experience is why the upperclassmen are where they are right now. The young guys all have a positive attitude and they will come around. It was a little different situation for me last year because I was out there with four veterans covering for me. It takes some patience for the younger guys but we have players coming off the bench that come onto the floor with great energy. We saw that tonight with Dwayne.
Hartford head coach Dan Leibovitz...
Opening statement: I half to say that they have an excellent team here at Villanova. We have played Louisville and BYU and I would say that Villanova has more weapons offensively than those teams. You could pick out Scottie Reynolds and say you have to stop him but they have a number of guys you could pick out like that. It seems like everybody who touches the ball is a threat to shoot and to dribble. They are good players 1-on-1 and they look for each other pretty well too. They were just too much for us. They came out and really closed it up defensively in the second half. I thought we played 28 very good minutes and their depth and our lack of depth became the difference. We ran out of gas but all the credit goes to Villanova. We can only learn from this and by playing great teams.
On the turning point in the game: We had a couple of turnovers in a row and I think it got to the point where [Villanova] saw that no matter what formation of a zone we were playing they were able to get to the basket. They started to dribble penetrate and find other guys who could penetrate. They went down underneath for dunks and rebounding was a challenge. We are a pretty small team and they just wore us. I thought we were pretty disruptive defensively in the first half but maybe they just weren't making some of the shots they did in the second half. When Reynolds gets going he is a special player. It seems like when he shoots the ball the whole arena is still and the ball is in the net. He makes shots off balance and with guys in his face. He is a talented player.
On Scottie Reynolds: When Reynolds gets going he is a special player. It seems like when he shoots the ball the whole arena is still and the ball is in the net. He makes shots off balance and with guys in his face. He is a talented player. In the second half other guys started making things and that opened it up for him. It was nothing definitive that we did. He just become more aggressive and realized he could get his shot when he wanted to. At times in the first half they ran screen roll for him and we tried to get the ball out of his hands and make someone else make a play. We didn't do as good a job of that in the second half.
On Villanova: They are a nationally ranked team but really what they are is a team that brings a lot of energy. Even the way they start a game and in their preparation you can see they are a group that is excited to play and they seem to get along well. They have energy people like Dante Cunningham, Malcolm Grant and Dwayne Anderson that come in and change the game. That way, down the stretch you can buy time and stretch guys out. That is why tonight all of a sudden with 10 minutes left they are fresh and it looks like we are ready to fold. Those guys add so much because of the effort they bring.
On a game like this helping Hartford down the road: Games like this can do nothing but help your program and the young men you are coaching. It's great for me personally and some of the guys on the team to come home to Philadelphia, but I have said a million times you learn how to be great by watching great teams. Villanova was great tonight because of the way they ended the game, so if we want to be great it starts by figuring out a way to be great at the end. What disappointed me tonight is that when we got down 16-17 points we went on our own and stopped running our stuff and executing. What I like though is that I have never seen our team quit. They were still flying back on defense and going after loose balls. They might be tired but the spirit is there and you notice something like that from these games too.
On the team's Philadelphia connection: I would really like to come back to Philly for some more games. We will be calling some more teams in Philadelphia and I would love to get the team to the Palestra. We practiced there one time and I tried to explain to 10 guys who weren't from Philly what the Palestra is like. I would love to get back here, though.