Q & A with Wildcat junior forward Andrew Sullivan
Feb. 7, 2002
By Jonathan Gust, Villanova Media Relations
JG: How did you pick up the game of basketball as a child growing up in England?
AS: I started playing basketball by accident. I ran track and I pulled my hamstring. As I was getting back, I lost a little bit of interest in track. I decided to go to the park one day with my cousin and there were a bunch of guys playing at the court there. I started playing and one of the guys there knew my coach back in England and introduced me to him. That's basically how I started playing.
JG: What was the game of basketball like in England?
AS: For the most part, especially the people who play, know how big the sport is over here and how big college basketball is. Basketball back home is growing slowly and has made huge improvements.
JG: When was it that you began thinking about coming over to America to go to school and play basketball?
AS: I started thinking about it when I was like 14 or 15. My coach back home thought it would be a good idea for me to come over here. He got hooked up with a guy over here in Jersey who runs camps. Myself and the rest of my team went over for a summer camp and that's when I met my high school coach, Coach Paul Rodio. They asked me how interested I was about coming and playing high school ball here. I told him in was very interested. And when I was 16 I finally moved over here.
JG: How was the adjustment to the country as a whole and to the game of basketball?
AS: I think the adjustment was more being away from my family and the place that I was familiar with. That was a big adjustment. Adjusting to the game of basketball was not as hard. I had a situation where I was playing back home with a bunch of guys that were older than me. So playing against guys that were the same age wasn't really an adjustment. I think I had to adjust more to the rules. Some of the rules were different. The closely guarding, five-second rule. Goaltending. And back home you have the trapezoid lane. Those were some of the major differences
JG: What were your initial reactions to the recruiting process?
AS: It was overwhelming, getting letters from different schools - having to make a decision on where you want to go and hoping that was the right decision. It was pretty overwhelming.
JG: What factored the most in your decision to attend Villanova University?
AS: One of the reasons I wanted to come here was because it was close to where I was living in Jersey. Moving from England to Jersey was a big enough move. I didn't want to make another huge move and have to get accustomed to another area. Being here, a lot of the people I know are only 45 minutes to an hour away. I think that was one of the biggest reasons. I came on a few unofficial visits. Back home we used to get some Villanova games, so I got a chance to see Alvin (Williams), Jon Haynes and those guys. When I came on my visit I met a couple of those players. The fact that those guys came back and were around, I thought that was pretty cool. When I was here, the guys on the team seemed pretty close. They did a lot of stuff together. I didn't want to go to a school where everyone did their own thing and were just a bunch of individuals.
JG: Looking back on your freshman year, what are some of the memories that really stick out in your mind?
AS: It was definitely a learning experience for me. It was the first time that I didn't play a whole lot. But it was a learning experience for the better. For some people it might me a learning experience for the worse, but I think for me it was a good learning experience. It taught me to be patient.
JG: What were some of the changes that you found between your freshman and sophomore seasons?
AS: Last year, we had a bunch of guys who could score. One of the things that I tried to do was play good defense. Between my freshman and sophomore years, I really tried to focus on playing good, hard defense.
JG: How did you view the coaching change as far as how it might affect your role on the team?
AS: Coach Wright used to be a coach here at Villanova so I'm sure he knew what we could do. Me personally, it was a thing where I just wanted to show him and let him see for his own eyes what I could do. I wasn't looking at it as, I had to come out here and show Coach Wright that I'm a shooter. I just went out there and tried to play hard and try to fit into what he was asking and see what happens from there. Fortunately, it's going pretty well so far.
JG: Between your basketball experiences back and England and now here in the United States, you have played for a lot of coaches. How would you describe Jay Wright as a coach?
AS: He reminds me a lot of my coach back in England. A lot of times where I think I am trying my best, and he is asking more. I think that is probably one of the best things for me. If he wasn't asking for it, than that means he doesn't think it's there. But if continually asks for more and more, than that shows that he thinks that there is a lot more that I can give.
JG: Did you feel any added pressure coming into the season knowing that you were really the only true small forward on the roster and that you would have to play a key role for this season's team both offensively and defensively?
AS: I don't think I felt that much pressure. Last year, between myself and Aaron Matthews, we were the two real small forwards on the team. We played basically three guards for the most part last season. It wasn't as though I was coming into the season thinking that I was going to get the starting job. Coming into the season, I knew that there is still stuff that I need to do and still stuff I need to help the team with. Everyday in practice, Coach Wright talks to me about the things he wants me to do and the things that I need to improve on to help the team.
JG: How do you view your role on the team?
AS: My main focus should be on rebounding and playing defense. Coach Wright always tells me that I am the best athlete on the team. Both of those things, rebounding and defense, it helps to be an athlete. Those are things I need to work on everyday during the season to get better on.
JG: The Wildcat fans know that when the basketball is in your hands on a fast break, that they are in for something very exciting. Do you try to use your athleticism to get the Villanova fans into the game?
AS: To me and to everyone on the coaching staff, a dunk is just two points. A dunk is not what wins the game. It puts two points on the board, but I think that my abilities help the team more on the defensive end.