Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Villanova 66, St. John's 53: Quotes From Lavin & Wright

Mouphtaou Yarou's 18-point, 7-rebound performance helps Villanova end St. John's season in 66-53 Wildcat win.  (Photo courtesy of the Philadelphia Daily News)

St. John's head coach Steve Lavin's opening statement:
"I think the physicality allowed them to get into the bonus and get to the foul line.  I thought our kids regained their composure, and we were pleased, considering we weren't playing very well, but we were hanging around and doing enough good things to stay in the game."

JaKarr Sampson on St. John's postseason chances:
"We don't want to be in this position, (waiting to see if St. John's gets an NIT invitation) we wish we could have advanced to the next round, but it happened like that.  It's a lot of sitting around just waiting to see what we're going to do."

Lavin on Villanova's second-half defense:
"More than any schemes, I think we didn't finish. "

Lavin on next season and his optimism:
"I was very open about the fact that this would be the most challenging season of my coaching career because it's the youngest team I've ever been a part of or covered.  I don't know if there has been a younger team, but it's just very unusual.  I'm proud that this young group had to come of age in the toughest league in America.  It's kind of the 'school of hard knocks,' and I think that will pay off for us after whatever happens next week, spring, summer, our foreign tour, and coming back next year."

"We were playing a team tonight that's going to be in the same situation we're in next year, a hungry group of players that didn't get to the winner's circle the last two years, didn't get to experience the NCAA Tournament.  The future is bright.  Like I said earlier this week, as a coach, you always have a four or five-year plan.  I think we were a whisker from being 10-8 or 11-7 in this league.  We just have to move forward and learn from it.  There are a number of areas, both individually and collectively as a group.  I told them I'm proud of them, and we'll get better."

Lavin's evaluation of St. John's losing eight of their last ten games:
"There were some things beyond these kids' control, and I told them I'm proud of the way they dealt with things.  The losing streak started the day I found out my dad was going to die.  Things happen, but I share a major part of the responsibility in the fact that we didn't finish as well as we would have liked to.  Sometimes, there are takeaways and lessons even in that, because there is no coaching manual on having a father die, and I've never navigated through something like that in my career.  From February 3rd forward, it's been really tough.  That's probably why I feel as close to this team as any in my coaching career, and why I'm so grateful to work with them, looking forward to brighter days ahead, to the future with these kids.  They deserve it.  They're a good group, and they're going to do special things before their careers are over, both here and beyond in basketball and in life."

Villanova head coach Jay Wright on St. John's:
"Give St. John's a lot of credit.  They lost their leading scorer, and you're just not going to find one.  We were too tentative with our pressure in the first half, it was like we were creating offense for them.  They did a great job keeping the ball out of (JayVaughn) Pinkston's hands in the post.  When you lose your leading scorer, that's huge.  A guy like (D'Angelo) Harrison draws another person.  Without him, it's hard to prepare.  They're not as explosive without him on the floor."

On Mouphtaou Yarou:
"It wasn't a surprise to see how good he was tonight.  He's a guy from Africa, but he's a Villanova basketball player.  I think he takes the most pride in our team and our program.  You could see it in his eyes today that he was going to will us to win the game."

On JayVaughn Pinkston:
"He's come a long way.  He's just gotten smarter as a basketball player, he's a very coachable guy."

On comparison of this year's Villanova team to the Wildcats of 2007-08 and 2008-09:
"It's a very similar group of guys, guys that weren't recruited as superstars or super players, guys who just gradually got better as a group."

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