Saturday, January 6, 2018

Kevin Willard quote book: Butler

*All quotes courtesy of Josh Adams, College Hoops Digest*

On Seton Hall's second half comeback:
"I thought we did a good job of getting the basketball inside to Delgado, and him and Khadeen have been working really well together in practice on inside-out. Once we got the ball consistently inside and into the paint, it put pressure on them, and Angel's been passing at such a high level -- he's really picking all the guys right. It's like having a point guard in the post. I thought that was the big thing, and I thought both teams really battled down the stretch."

On Butler's defense against Angel Delgado:
"We've seen double-teams, we've seen triple-teams. They do a great job with their 3-2 zone because their guards really work. It helped Angel a little bit because every time he came to the bench when they played man-to-man, he was complaining how physical (Tyler) Wideman was -- in a good way -- just giving the big guy a wide-open compliment about how much he had to work to get the basketball. I thought we did a good job against the zone, working inside-out against it, but we've seen it all so far this year. I've said all along, when he makes his free throws -- if he's been making them all year -- these are the numbers he'd have all year long. He'd have 28, 15 -- he's averaging four assists, so to me, he's the best big guy in college basketball."

On Myles Powell rising to the occasion despite not starting due to flu-like symptoms:
"He's been -- we took off Monday and Tuesday last week -- and he missed Wednesday, he practiced Thursday, he missed yesterday. We didn't start him because I wanted to save his energy as much as possible, but after the first half, I said, 'Myles, we'll use you, expend you and have you out there.' He didn't have much in the tank, but he's such a weapon that even when he's out there and he's not feeling well, he puts -- he just opens up so many things for the other guys, and I just told him, I said, 'Just stand there, maybe you'll get the ball -- if you don't, they're still gonna take you away -- at least you're opening up the floor.' I thought he did a great job of battling through it. Hopefully we can get him a couple of days of practice going forward."

On what Seton Hall took advantage of over the final nine minutes:
"I liked the way we were playing defensively, especially in the first half, but we just gave up too many offensive rebounds in the first half. I don't think Butler has too many shortcomings, to be honest with you. I just -- the main thing we talked about was -- get the ball inside, consistently. Not once every five times, not once every six times, every time down, at least for six, seven possessions in a row, either throw it to him (Delgado) or attack off the dribble. I thought our guys did a good job just understanding if we get it into him, he's gonna kick it out, and we do a really good job -- we work on it all the time -- on inside-out threes."

On being able to sell Seton Hall outside of the Northeast in recruiting:
"Believe it or not, I think kids are weird. I've always said most kids who grew up in the hometown of the school, they kind of want to get away, and it's the same thing with us. Kids who grew up in Jersey -- we have great, great talent -- and we have some Jersey kids, but kids want to sometimes go away, so we've actually had a lot of success recruiting outside New Jersey just because I believe the fact that kids want to experience it. Our league is, by far, the best basketball league in the country. It's not even close. I watch college basketball all day long. The level of play that's in this conference, and I think now that it's been around now for four or five years, kids all across the country want to come play in this league. The visibility is unbelievable, the competition is great. I think top to bottom, we have great coaches, we have phenomenal universities. It's become much easier for us to recruit nationally, because the league -- we've had some really good success over the last couple of years, and I think kids that grow up around big schools sometimes want to leave and go a little farther away."

"You'd be surprised how hard it is to get from Brooklyn to Seton Hall. It's only 26 miles, but I bet you if I left on a Wednesday afternoon during Christmastime at 5:00, and you took a plane and I took a car, you would get to Indiana before I got to Seton Hall. New York might as well be the West Coast for us, because you've gotta cross the Hudson, you've got bridges, you've got tolls, the traffic -- and then once you get over there, you've got the Garden State Parkway, which is a mess -- it never moves. So a New York City kid, for us, is like a West Coast kid. It really is. I always joke about it, but it's so hard to get from Brooklyn to Seton Hall, and the kids feel there's a big enough buffer if they're away. New York City kids, now their families can still watch them play, and at the same time, they know their families can't get to them. It's like a home run for them. That's why we have so many New York City kids. Plus New York City kids with their geography, sometimes I tell them Jersey and they think we're on the other side of Pennsylvania."

On Butler, Xavier and Creighton's effect on the Big East as a whole:
"It's been phenomenal. I think everyone in the league -- I say this all the time -- everyone was a little worried, not because of the level of play that these three schools -- I think everybody was a little worried about how the East Coast fans would accept the West Coast teams and how the West Coast fans would accept the East Coast teams, and the other thing for Creighton, we had the largest crowd we've had for a Big East game in a long time. And I think what's great now is our fans understand how great of basketball that Butler, Xavier and Creighton play, and they respect the programs, and they want to come out and watch them now. Our Butler game's almost sold out. We've never had that before. I think Chris (Mack), his second year, they were ranked 12th, we were up there, it was a huge game -- we had 4,000 people. Just because people didn't understand and weren't knowledgeable about how good of basketball these three schools bring, and I think the fact that Creighton's great, obviously Butler's done a phenomenal job, and how good Xavier is -- our fans have become knowledgeable, and it's made the conference that much better."

On Khadeen Carrington and Delgado:
"He hit four straight threes off passes from Delgado. Again, if you go back and watch the film, the ball went in seven straight times, and it's just -- when we do that and when we do it consistently -- our guys know it's coming out. Delgado doesn't even shoot in practice. He doesn't, because he's going up against a freshman, Sandro (Mamukelashvili) -- he doesn't pound him the way he pounds Wideman or other guys -- or we have a big guy that's kind of out there and he's not quite sure what he's doing yet (Romaro Gill). So we throw the ball in the post just as much in practice, but he passes every time in practice. He doesn't shoot in practice. All we've been working on is, I blow the whistle once every four times down, he's gotta shoot free throws like he did get fouled. These guys know when they throw it in -- if theu move, if they keep moving, he's gonna pass it out. And Khadeen and Desi, more than anybody, understand, 'Man, I'm gonna throw him the ball and he's throwing it back out to me.' Again, the best three you can get is an inside-out three."

On pressing Butler in the second half:
"I thought Kelan (Martin) would start really getting going. I thought they started getting comfortable, and we had pressed early in the game, they had done a good job against us and hit two threes against the zone, but I thought we had to throw them off balance a little bit, just give them a different look. We didn't get any steals -- we got two stops off it -- but it just got them out of a little bit of rhythm."


  1. Coach Willard did a great job resting Powell until the closing minutes of this game. His decision to rest him was instrumental in helping Powell convert a three pointer and four critical free throws that helped SHU win the game. Coach Willard is to be commended....

  2. What a fun game for both fan bases. It was like a good boxing match that one wanted to end in a draw.