Athens, GA (Mar 29, 2009) - In Elite Eight action from the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball tournament on Saturday, Villanova stunned Pitt with a last second shot to win the East Region 78-76. This is the transcript of the Villanova University post-game press conference as provided by the NCAA and ASAP Sports.
COACH WRIGHT: This is a tremendous thrill. I want to start by saying I
got to see some of the coaches. We have so much respect for Pitt's
program. We battle them all the time. We battle them in recruiting and
it never gets personal. Those kids play their butts off.
Before the game DeJuan Blair came over and hugged me during warmups.
Yesterday doing this, Levance Fields and I walked down the hallway
with arms around each other.
They'll kill you on the court, but they're classy. They're a Final
Four caliber team. Anyone could have won that game. We're proud to be
a part of the Big East with them. We feel for them, because we could
have been in the same spot very easily.
Everybody in Boston, Gene DeFilippo, his people. This place was
awesome. We had a great time in Boston. Everybody was great to us. We
love this town. Thank you for everything you all did here.
Now, we've got four seniors and we've got Scottie Reynolds, and it
is what it is. We have great players, we really do. And you saw it
tonight. A lot of guys making big time plays. Corey Fisher's free
throws, we've got really good players that really play well as a team.
I'm so proud for them and for Villanova and this great tradition that
we're all a part of.
Q. Scottie, please describe the last play, what you saw.
SCOTTIE REYNOLDS: It's something that we do every day in practice at
the end, when it's an end of the game situation. They face guarded me,
and when that happens, Dante makes a flash to the middle of the floor
and I make a second cut away from him, going towards the basket. We
have a stagger going on the opposite side
COACH WRIGHT: That's (laughter). You can coach with me when you're
done playing. You got the job. You don't have to interview.
SCOTTIE REYNOLDS: Oh, my goodness. Well, I just made a layup
(laughter) no, but it's just when Dante gives me the ball, I just make
an instinct play, and it's just whatever I decide. Basically I can
pass it and I just have to know how much time is on the clock and I
got lucky with one tonight.
Q. For Dwayne and Dante, in less technical terms, how did you see
the play unfold, what was your reaction?
DWAYNE ANDERSON: Basically we know the play, we always run it in
practice. On film I probably would get a little heat from the move I
made. But Reggie hit Dante, Dante hit Scottie. That's just how we draw
DANTE CUNNINGHAM: Once I saw that they left me open it was either up
the court to Dwayne and Shane or Scottie flying down the court.
Scottie was just open. He's a jet. It's kind of hard to catch him with
Q. Can you talk about Sam Young and the intangibles that he brings
that make him tough to defend.
DWAYNE ANDERSON: He can score inside and outside. He's tough to
defend. He plays defense, as well. He attacks the rim. He's very
Q. Is that the rock you're holding and did you ever give it up after
you made the layup, did you retrieve it? How did it find its way back
into your hands?
SCOTTIE REYNOLDS: They said this is it. They could be lying to me,
because I was asking everybody after, but they said this is it.
Q. Who gave it to you?
SCOTTIE REYNOLDS: The athletic director, I believe, Bob Steitz.
Thanks. Is he here?
Q. Dwayne, the steal you made that led to the three point play
coming out of the timeout, was that anything you had seen the guy do
before or was it total spur of the moment?
DWAYNE ANDERSON: It was definitely spur of the moment. We were down
and we needed something to get us going. We had a great trap and
somehow I deflected it and won, and it kind of changed the momentum of
the game, which was great for us.
Q. Dante, can you talk about receiving that inbounds pass. It looked
like it was a pretty tenuous situation, Jamie Dixon called it a jump
ball three or four times. Can you talk about getting that pass. It
looked like Reggie was thinking about calling timeout, and how that a
great moment was led to by an unsettled situation?
DANTE CUNNINGHAM: Honestly, it's something that we go through almost
every day in practice, just allowing ourselves to not have timeouts,
end of the game situations. And he trusted that I was going to go get
it and he threw it up and I went and got it.
Q. Scottie, can you kind of take us through the roller coaster of
emotions from you guys being up two and Fields hitting a couple of
free throws, and the game winning shot?
SCOTTIE REYNOLDS: I told somebody the last two minutes was exactly
like practice, basically like we always turn the ball over somehow in
practice, to lose the game. Somebody always hits big shots on the
white team, and Coach is yelling at us.
The last two minutes were exactly like practice. And I think
creating those habits in practice and losing some and winning some
helped us prepare for the end of the game situation and keeping good
attitudes throughout anything that happened, whether it was them
making big plays or us turning the ball over, it didn't matter, we
kept great attitudes through the whole situation.
Q. How big was Corey as far as hitting a couple of free throws, and
how much has this experience, I heard you guys talking about it, how
big was Corey?
DWAYNE ANDERSON: He's been like that all year. He was the Big East
6th Man of the Year. He's showed it tonight. He's always explosive
when he comes off the bench. Anytime he comes in the game his
objective is to change the tempo of the game. He does that night in
and night out.
Q. Scottie, following up on a question about your emotions, seeing
that thing go through, did you feel like it was good enough to get you
to Detroit or when Levance Fields let go of that ball with that last
shot, did you have to kind of clutch your heart a little bit?
SCOTTIE REYNOLDS: When we made the shot, or I thought I made it,
everybody just rushed the court. I just felt like I didn't even see
the ball go in, actually.
Then Coach is pulling everybody by the neck, saying, The game is not
over, there's time on the clock. And then something crazy could
happen, we've seen it before.
When the ball left Levance's hands it was right on target to go in.
And I guess a little less off of that shot we could be in another
position right now.
Q. Scottie, obviously you never got the chance to make that shot if
Dwayne doesn't make some of those plays he made. Can you talk about
how important the steal was and the three pointer he made late?
SCOTTIE REYNOLDS: It was very important, and something that we
talked about at halftime, saying that if we're going to go down, we're
going to play our style and leave it all out there. And Dwayne and
Corey actually did a great job of just playing off of each other and
Dwayne stepping in the shots, even though some of his shots in the
first half didn't go, him having the confidence and him knowing that
he had to step up and make big plays, that's what the senior is for,
and we love him for it.
Q. Dante, did you say anything to Reggie after the one inbounds pass
that went a little long and just a few seconds later you're counting
on him hitting you with a pretty good one?
DANTE CUNNINGHAM: Actually I did. He said, My fault. I said, What
are you talking about? When the play is over, we've got to get back on
defense now. So we won't worry about it.
Q. I mean before the inbounds.
DANTE CUNNINGHAM: Like a second before the second one?
DANTE CUNNINGHAM: No, we forget about it. I didn't know what
happened, I don't even know what pass you're talking about (laughter).
Q. Scottie, you hit one of the shots today that will be replayed
over and over and kind of live on in NCAA tournament lore, talk about
SCOTTIE REYNOLDS: Oh, man, it's so many emotions going through my
head. It's something that you think about as a youngster, advancing
yourself to the Final Four or winning the championship. And to do it
with these guys on my back, and the players that came before us, I
think that that contributes to our program. I think everybody that
played before us got us in the position to where we are now and we
take great pride in that and continuing the tradition.
Q. Two questions quickly. One, did you call a timeout after the
first free throw because you didn't want to give them time to set
their defense or were you trying to freeze Fields? Second, how much
did it bother you to wear the cap, because it doesn't really go with
your outfit (laughter)?
COACH WRIGHT: It was actually a gray cap. I was very impressed that
the committee here had that prepared to match my suit.
But actually both. We knew what we were going to do. Like the guys
said, we do practice that. So, both. We had a chance to do both. If it
was something we were going to do that was unusual for us, I would
have waited to see what happened.
So I was hoping I would freeze them, but Levance Fields, you should
have known, there's no way he's missing those. And I didn't want them
to be able to get set. We have our best chance of getting everybody in
our spots, we practice it all the time. So it worked out.
Q. You wouldn't tell us what Coach K said to you, but will you tell
us what Rollie said to you when he went over there?
COACH WRIGHT: He said, I'm so proud of you. I'm so happy. He's
emotional, I was emotional. He said, I love you and I told him I love
him. And it means the world to have him here.
I tried to get him down on the court for cutting down the nets, and
I think he was thinking, That's your time.
Q. Can you talk about, you have the seniors and Scottie Reynolds. It
seems like it's been the same guys for you the last three years. Just
the growth of the senior class and Scottie and kind of getting this
achievement, getting to the Final Four with that group?
COACH WRIGHT: This was a group that I told them, they earned this.
We could have lost this game, but they still would have earned the
right to be good enough to play in a Final Four, just like Pitt did.
Pitt is good enough to be a Final Four team. We just happened to win
They're four seniors that came to college to be a part of the
program, to get a great education, to be a part of the culture at
Villanova. Of all four of those guys, not one of them said to me when
I recruited them, What if I leave early. I want to go early to the
They're just old school guys that just came to be a part of
something. And it's so special to be a part of this with them.
Q. Just wanted to ask you about that inbounds play. Did you have a
specific name for it, was it like a Statue of Liberty? And secondly,
Scottie Reynolds getting the ball, did you have any doubts that they
would be able to execute the play? As he said, you guys have practiced
this so often, were you confident that you would be able to execute it
as well as you did?
COACH WRIGHT: That's where, John's question, we could call that
timeout. We have a name for that. I think Scottie gave up most of the
play. Anybody that listened can diagram that now. We have a name for
it. That's all we had to say in the huddle was we're running it.
And the other thing we were concerned is if he missed, we had not
been rebounding free throws really well. That was the other part,
that's why we got Shane Clark in there. I was worried as much if he
missed, them getting an offensive rebound, which they'd done to us all
And, you know, Corey Fisher was playing great there at the end. He
made all the free throws. But like Scottie said, we practice that all
the time, and the white team, the second team, they always stop it.
They know what we're doing, but we want to practice it. They always
stop it. He usually gets fouled, but we don't call the foul in
practice. We do it for that reason. He's done that in games a lot. I
really had great confidence in him. I just had a feeling there. He's
done that a lot of times for us, made shots at the end of the games.
Q. Were you okay with Reggie's first throw?
COACH WRIGHT: I have to be, because we put him in that position and
we really tell them and that's why I talk to the team afterward.
Dwayne mentioned he's going to hear it in film. It's easy to watch
film and criticize and critique, but it's hard to be the guy that's in
the battle and make the decision. So we always tell them in those end
of game situations, we have to trust your decisions. And that was the
point I made to the team. If that would have cost us the game, we
would have applauded Reggie for the guts to make the play.
Now, after you deal with all your team stuff, as a sensible
basketball person I can say it probably wasn't a great decision. But
within our team, and we did talk about that after the game, within our
team he knows we trust him on that and we would have been there to
pick him up if that would have cost us.
Q. You talked the other day about what a crushing feeling it is to
lose a game like this. On the flip side how much sweeter is it that
you can experience the other side of this?
COACH WRIGHT: I think it's just starting to sink in now. It's
numbing when it happens, especially when the game ends like that, it
really is. And you're watching it on TV all the time and you think,
wow, that must be the greatest feeling in the world. And it's just
starting to hit me now. When I was out there I was numb.
And as a coach, I even said to my wife we hugged, we got our whole
family together. She said go out and enjoy this. And I said to her, I
still in my own mind have to get over that play that we just
discussed. Because I wanted to make sure Reggie feels good about it. I
had to stay with him until I could make him feel good about it.
Now it's starting to hit me. It's thrilling. I'm so happy for all
the players. I know the players in our program from back in the '40s,
'50s, know how much they're part of the '60s, '70s guys, they're
always there. It's a great tradition for Villanova. I'm really happy
for all of them.
Q. Two points, first of all, when Dante and Shane pick up four fouls
apiece, how well the team played and how well they played with four
fouls. And secondly, address the Dwayne steal at mid court and how
much that changed momentum?
COACH WRIGHT: You know what, that was huge. For us in a big game we
never have Shane Clark in and Dante Cunningham sitting on the bench
down the stretch. I kept looking and seeing him and thinking: What are
we going to do? That's where Corey Fisher really stepped up, got to
the foul line. We got a turnover. And then the trap by Dwayne
Anderson, senior, it's just seniors just they just get it done for
you, they're invaluable. That was a big part of the game.
Q. You mentioned Corey Fisher three times now. And I saw you kind of
encouraging him on the games and stuff like that. Why is it important
for you to talk to him and how much trust did you have when you put
him in he was going to make it?
COACH WRIGHT: I think it's going to be a great experience in his
life that's going to make him a great player, because in the Duke game
he had a bad ankle. He and Scottie Reynolds, they kill each other in
practice, and they had a major collision and he turned his ankle. So
we were all concerned that he didn't he could play, but he let it
bother him, he let it affect him. He started this game and he was
We told him you can't be afraid to foul, you've got to go play. He
was tentative. And he didn't want to be the one that cost us. And it
turns out he was on the foul line and made all the big shots. I told
him, you're the man, you can do this the rest of your life. You can't
fear failing anything.
Q. You have great appreciation for the history of the program. You
just mentioned 24 years since the last Final Four. What does it mean
to you and how hard you've worked to do this to deliver the Final Four
back to Villanova after all those years?
COACH WRIGHT: You know, that's exactly what it is. It's never been a
goal of mine. And actually someone in Philly wrote an article on that,
and I got a little grief from some people that I said it's not a goal
for me, personally. But for our program and all the people that the
players that came before us and still stay in touch and support these
guys, it feels great to do it for them, it really does. And especially
these players on this team.
What you can do for other people is the greatest. And that's what I
feel great about. They're so happy. They're happier than me, way
happier than me. All I was worried about was if we lost that game, I
wanted to make sure Reggie Redding felt good about himself. That's all
I was worried about. I'm so happy for those people and that's what
it's all about, is delivering it for them.
Q. The Big East is on the precipice, obviously the last time was
1985, Villanova won. Talk about the history and sort of the
COACH WRIGHT: It's kind of eerie how this is playing out. I hope to
God history repeats itself (laughter), because I remember my wife is
here, my wife and I were down there as fans. I worked Rollie
Massimino's camp, I was there like a hanger on. I was part of the
family. The thing with Rollie was if you worked his camp you might as
well have been the top assistant, everybody was in the family. And my
wife was a cheerleader there, she had just graduated.
And it's that was kind of the greatest year in the Big East history,
and we've had discussions whether that year was better than this year,
it's a whole another topic. But that was similar. Villanova was a
great team, but St. John's and Syracuse and Georgetown were the teams
that year. Villanova kind of sneaks in. And then it's all happening
the same. I'm not a superstitious person or anything, I don't care.
I'm worried about the next game. But if history repeats itself, I'll
take it (laughter).
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