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Q & A With Wildcat Forward Ricky Wright

Dec. 29, 2000

By: Bob Weiseman, Villanova Media Relations

Q: Last year you had a three game stretch towards the end of the year that you really turned it on and made big contributions offensively. Starting with that stretch and now into this season you have been playing extremely well. What happened from that time to now to help you make such strides?

A: Just basically getting the feel of the game and becoming more comfortable with where I need to be on the court and what I need to do on the court. I had a talk with Coach (Lappas) and he began editing my games. It really helped me to see where I was supposed to be and how I could change my game to help the team.

Q: Since the coaching staff began editing tapes to highlight your play, what have you learned that is evident in your recent play?

A: Keeping space with the other four guys on the floor, especially keeping space with Mike (Bradley) and Brooks (Sales) down low. They pose so much of a threat that I need to give them space to make their moves in the lane. Overall, just creating space for everyone else so we can continue to run the motion offense.

Q: Looking at the Villanova front court of Mike Bradley, Brooks Sales, Aaron Mathews and yourself, what has it been like playing with such an athletic group of players?

A: It has been a great experience for me. Coming out of high school, you are one of the best players on the court or the best player on the court. It is kind of different when you come to this kind of level of basketball and you are competing with or playing with players with the same amount or more talent than you have. It is definitely an adjustment. I am just glad that they (Bradley, Sales and Matthews) are on my team and we are the ones who are beating everyone else inside.

Q: What makes this front court so dominant?

A: The biggest thing about this front court that I have seen coming in, is the knowledge that we all have in passing the ball, on offense and defense. We all are aware of everything that is going on and what coach is trying to stress to us. We are not far behind with what he is trying to teach us. All of us are picking it up very quickly and that is definitely a strength.

Q: There has been a lot of talk about the sophomore class - Gary Buchanan, Aaron Mathews, Andrew Sullivan and yourself. It has often been said that you all are extremely close both on and off the court. Is this true?

A: We are very close actually. We all live together and go eat together. It is a really good thing that four people from different parts of the US can come together and gel like that. I think that is one of main reasons the team is so good, because everyone is just like that all together.

Q: Have you ever thought about what the sophomore class could achieve by the time the four of you graduate?

A: It is kind of fun, because we realize that if we all stay together, we are going to be pretty good throughout our careers. So, if all of us stay healthy and god blesses us, we are going to keep the winning tradition here alive.

Q: What was it like for you learning and playing with a player like Malik Allen last year?

A: Malik was a special player. He never panicked and that kept everyone, so to speak, calm. He never panicked and always kept a cool head when the game was on the line. It really helped us a lot and taught us that we can not go ballistic when things aren't going well. I think that everyone that came back this year kind of follows Malik a little bit. Earlier in the season, we had a tough game against St. Joseph's and we came through, by keeping our heads and staying focused.

Q: What is the experience like on the court playing in Big Five games and having four different rivals?

A: It is a hard fought basketball game just like every other game. When you mention the Big Five, everyone is coming in trying to earn bragging rights over the summer. Those are tough games right off the bat, very physical games. It is something that every team should have the opportunity to participate in, a rivalry against four teams and not just one.

Q: Why did you choose Villanova and are you happy with your selection?

A: I just needed to get away from home and experience something other than the Midwest. I had never really been away from the Midwest. I just needed to venture out and experience something new. It has been pretty fun with my other roommates, the other sophomores, we all hang out and go out together. It has made the experience a lot of fun.

Q: What do you want to achieve on the basketball court before you graduate?

A: I hopefully want to win the National Championship. If that doesn't happen, I want people to remember me as a person who gave it his all to achieve one goal and that is to win. I don't want anybody to say he didn't try hard enough or he didn't do this. I want somebody when they speak of me to say he played 110 percent every time he played.

Q: What is it like playing in the Pavilion when the fans were as crazy as they were against Temple earlier in the season?

A: That was one of the craziest games. With that being a big game, everybody was there. It was kind of weird because you haven't experienced that all year and it just kind of hits you. You can't hear and it is just crazy. I think that is the kind of game we all wanted when we came here. I think that is why we need fan support, because it helps us win those tough games.

Q: After that game against the number one team in the nation (Duke), where you guys obviously held your own, how do you feel you compare to the top teams in the nation?

A: We know we have a lot of work to do. If we just work and work and do the things coach wants us to do, I think we are going to be one of the best teams in the country at the end."