Saturday, December 9, 2017

Kevin Willard quote book: VCU

On handling VCU's ball pressure:
"I was just telling Gary Cohen -- we experimented with like, four different press offenses during the week. We started off having Desi (Rodriguez) take it out, then the other guard take it out, it just wasn't natural. And really after watching them on film, it was more or less let's do what we do and have the four man take it out, really space them out as best as possible. I wanted Desi and Myles (Powell) on the floor so when we did break it, we had guys that could hurt them, and I thought Khadeen (Carrington) and Eron (Gordon) did a great job of just taking their time spacing them out and making good decisions."

On balanced scoring and how much he expected it during the season:
"This is -- I told the guys the other day that last year, we played a lot 3-on-5, and as good as Madison (Jones) was for us defensively; which he was -- we were a better defensive team because we had Madison and Ish (Sanogo) out there a lot -- we struggled to score sometimes because we played 3-on-5, and I told all the older guys, I said, 'You're going to have to get used to the fact that we've added Myles Powell to the equation and he's gonna get 16, 17 points a game.' When he's open, he doesn't miss, and he does so many good things with the basketball. I said, 'We're going to be a balanced team.' We're still going to have nights where Angel (Delgado) gets 20 and 20, but you have to understand with adding another scorer -- that's why everyone keeps saying, 'Well, Angel's numbers are down.' Angel's numbers are about the same they were last year at this time: Same amount of touches, he has more assists, but it's just the fact we've added somebody that's going to get 16 a game."

On plans to limit VCU's offense:
"We worried about one guy and one guy only. Even though (Justin) Tillman ended up with 20, he got a lot late, we wanted early in the game to make him uncomfortable, make him take tough shots, not let him get an easy look from three. And obviously, De'Riante (Jenkins), we really wanted to limit him. I really thought he was a weapon, and take those two guys, make everyone else score, I thought we had a really good chance."

On Myles Powell:
"Myles had as good a summer as probably anybody in a long time in this program. All our guys had good summers and worked hard, but Myles -- I've said this 100 times -- Myles got addicted to his body, and when you lose the amount of weight that he lost, and then you start putting muscle on that like he did this summer, his body transformation has helped his game transform. He'll keep evolving as a player because he keeps working at it, but I think the biggest thing is he's got so much confidence in his body that he's able to do things he just wasn't able to do before."

On non-conference schedule:
"I think the schedule's been tough, I mean, it really has. I think we're playing -- the teams we're playing are a lot like us. They're all tough, hard-nosed, even our next two this week, I'm dreading these two next week; Saint Peter's and Rutgers, just because I feel like every team we've played has been a hard, tough-nosed defensive team, and there's been -- we haven't played anybody that lets you just run up and down and shoot, have fun and dunk, and this is fun -- you have to worry about them offensively. Every game has been -- Texas Tech, Rhode Island, they're all just very well-coached, defensive-minded teams. It's been a lot for us to kind of keep our momentum going, and I'm really pleased with where we are because I think the schedule has been -- it's tested us, and I like the fact that our guys, each game, emotionally, we're there. I think the only time we really weren't there emotionally, and I'm going to blame it on Brooklyn, is just the Rhode Island game. We weren't ready emotionally. That's Brooklyn's fault and it's my fault."

On handling pressure of Seton Hall's No. 19 ranking:
"When we got ranked, we talked about protecting it and how much it's important, and I talked to them yesterday for about an hour about things given and things earned. In life, you're really going to appreciate things that are earned more than things that are given. What I talked to them about was that they've earned this ranking. It wasn't given to them. We've played a tough schedule, had some big wins, we've earned the right to get ranked. And when you earn something, you want to take care of it. I always try to teach my guys in life, people are going to give you stuff, and you're going to take that and chuck it in the back of your closet; but the things that you've earned with your paycheck, that you go out and buy, you're going to appreciate. And I think these guys have really appreciated the fact that they've worked very hard, they've sacrificed a lot to get this, and they don't now want to give it away."

On how far he and Seton Hall have come on the precipice of their highest ranking since the 2000-01 season:
"Someone just asked me that question, and I have to be honest: I was part of the problem for a while. I've been here eight years. I've got to take some ownership of the fact that my first three or four years here were not the greatest. We were ranked my second year, but then year three was a disaster, year four, we were okay and year five, we should have been good. It hasn't been easy getting here, and I've got to take some -- every day I wake up and I remind myself it's taken us a long time to get here. It drives me to come to work every day, but I still was part of the problem. I'm not taking any credit for it. This group has worked extremely hard. This group has sacrificed, they've spent -- I have five guys that have spent three summers -- they haven't gone home in the summers, they've been here working, they've been sacrificing. Angel Delgado has been a workhorse, Khadeen Carrington, Desi, Ish, Mike Nzei -- these guys have really sacrificed. They haven't gone home in three years. They've been very driven, and these young guys -- Myles Powell, I mean, he hasn't gone home in two years now, because he wants to make it and he wants this program to be great. I don't ask them, I don't have any rules on it, I don't tell them that they have to be here. They're driven and they want it, and these young guys have been phenomenal for us. I can't tell you -- the freshmen might not tell you they're doing a lot, but the freshmen have been phenomenal."

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