Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Kevin Willard quotebook: Xavier postgame

On response after tough losses:
"This team has a lot of heart. We've had some really tough losses this year. We had a really tough one obviously on Saturday, and we came in Monday -- it was good to get a day off. We haven't had a bye in February, which has been tough, so our days off have been really important. I think that's one of the reasons we've been playing better Wednesdays than we have on Saturdays, just because we've had a couple of days off. But we knew we were still...we had to win two out of three, and this was a big game."

On NCAA Tournament prospects:
"We have a long way to go. DePaul just beat Georgetown, DePaul, they're four games away from being 6-8 themselves. They're a good basketball team, we have a huge challenge, and obviously we have Georgetown and Butler, so we have a long way to go. This time of year, it's a long way."

On the junior class:
"I think they've all stepped up at different points, whether it's Khadeen (Carrington) with 41, Angel (Delgado) and Desi (Rodriguez) played terrific. No one really played well on Saturday, but I think it shows their maturity. that they understand they're able to bounce back. These guys have a lot of heart, and I thought Madison (Jones) was really good tonight again, too."

On handling Saturday's loss to Villanova:
"I'm old-school -- every once in a while, you get your a-- kicked. It just happens. They're good, they were coming off a bye, we had played a really good Creighton team on Wednesday night. Sometimes you just get beat up. The biggest thing, that's always been my message to this team, is 'how do you get back up?' When you get beat down, wake up the next morning. I went to my son's basketball game, I had breakfast, the sun came out. Let's just get ready for this game. We don't dwell on it, I don't think you should dwell on it. That's just the great thing about sports. There's always another opportunity, there's always another possession. It just gives you a chance to show your character, and I think this team has shown great character."

On whether the win at Georgetown got Seton Hall on a roll:
"I think each individual game right now is its own battle. All the talk about bubble, bubble, bubble, that wears on you a little bit, and I think these guys have done a good job of; I think because they're older, I think they understand what it's all about now. Last year, I don't think they understood all the talk and seedings and all that, and RPI and strength of schedule. They understand that a little bit more now, they look at each game with a great opportunity. Creighton was a big RPI win, even a Villanova loss doesn't hurt you. This was a great RPI win, so I think they understand that a little better."

On having three 1,000-point scorers:
"I think it shows the amount of hard work they've put in. Desi came in as a center in high school who never really shot the basketball, now he's shooting over 40 percent from three. I think Khadeen's evolved his game where even when he's struggling, he has five assists, one turnover. Angel never touched the ball in high school, so to see where he was then to where he is now, I think it just shows how much hard work they've put in."

On Angel Delgado's Haggerty Award prospects:
"If it was up to me, I think it's a no-brainer, but there's a lot of good players in this area. I know Justin Robinson's having a phenomenal year. It's probably him and Angel, but I think what Angel's doing with the rebounds, the minutes he's playing, is really impressive."

On Madison Jones:
"Madison's been phenomenal, not only being a very steady rudder, but he's really helped us defensively. He understands the game, he knows what I want from him and he's been a really strong rudder for us in the backcourt."

On defensive adjustments:
"We scored a little bit, it got us going. I think the biggest thing was Ish (Sanogo) was out there. Again, when Ish is out there; and again, he's only about 80 percent, he's able to do so much for us. He creates a lot of havoc. Again, I thought Madison did a good job on the pick-and-rolls during that time, we had struggled with that in the first half. It's just a matter of -- I think Myles (Powell) hit a couple of shots and got our juices going just a little bit and picked it up on defense."

On Myles Powell:
"It's the battle I'm having with the older guys, and not a bad battle, but just understanding when he's out there, we've got to get him some shots because he does open the floor for us. I'm also very, I would say surprised, at how much attention he gets. They don't leave him and that's something that he's got to get used to, and I think he did a good job moving it in the second half. He stood a little bit against the zone in the first half. The second half, he moved a little bit, got some shots and got in a nice flow."

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