A Fond Four-well

David Cassilo

More wins than any other class in school history. A Big East regular season title. A berth in the Final Four. The 2009 senior class has a lot of accomplishments to celebrate.

Now that their Villanova careers have come to a close, the four seniors can finally take the time to reflect on what they have accomplished. Whether it hits them now or years later, this senior class will be remembered by the Villanova faithful for generations to come.

Villanova went 24 years between Final Four apperances, and the wait allowed all fans to learn just how precious these moments are. There will always be a special place in the hearts of Villanova fans for these four seniors not only for what they have done this year, but what they have done every season with the team.

Before they begin the next part of their lives, the seniors reflect back on their triumphs and their memories from an unforgettable four years as Villanova Wildcats.

What does it mean to you to reach a Final Four in your senior season?

Dwayne Anderson: The only better way to finish your senior year is to win a championship. For the people on our team just to get us to that point, it shows how no one will ever quit.

Shane Clark: It’s something we can always come back to years later and remember that we had a great team, and we did something special with that team.

Dante Cunningham: I thought about it, and you sort of hope it might be like this. This is a great way to go out.

Frank Tchuisi: Everytime I would hang out with Dante, Dwayne or Shane, we would always talk about how we would want to cut a net before we leave college. Winning the Elite Eight and cutting down the net meant a lot to us. It is a feeling that will always live inside of me for the rest of my life.

What is the one thing you will remember most about your four years here?

DA: My first two years not playing and now going to a Final Four. I think that will stick out the most the rest of my life.

SC: After [the North Carolina] game, being in that locker room and Coach Wright telling us we deserved to be this far for all of the hard work we put in – everything we put in. I’m always going to remember that, right before we said “attitude” and came together.

FT: My four years here have been a thrill. I have a lot of good memories, and it has always been a family atmosphere. The Final Four was just a completion to what it was.

What does it mean to you to be part of the winningest class in school history?

DA: I don’t know if words can describe how that feels. There have been so many great players and classes to come through this program.

SC: It means a lot. When we go on, people are always going to look back and say the 1985 team won that year and the Class of ’09 went to the Final Four this year. That’s always going to be a great compliment to us.

FT: It means we came in, we had a goal, and we wanted to be the best team we could be by the end of our college career. This is the legacy we are leaving, and that’s something we should be proud of.

How do you think you changed the most since your freshman season?

DA: Intensity. Just playing all out on both ends of the floor. Instead of just coming in shooting some 3’s, changing the game and coming back out because I couldn’t play defense.

SC: Maturing. Learning how to be a man on and off the court and learning how to be a better basketball player. I think being here all my four years helped me a lot, through the tough times and the good times. It’s been a great experience, and I’m happy I’ve been here.

DC: As the years went on, things change. Developing as a player myself, understanding what the team needed to win more games. I just had to become more of an offensive threat.

What will you miss most about being here?

DA: Being around this group of guys and the staff members. They all want to be successful.

SC: I’m going to miss getting on the bus and going on the road and being together. Those were always the best times we had. We would be on the bus laughing and joking and enjoyed being around each other.

FT: Being on a college team. The bonding, the family atmosphere and how we love each other. I will miss the guys, the coaches and the locker room.

What will you miss the least about being here?

DA: Those phone calls from graduate assistants asking about where you are and about class and practice. I’m not going to miss that.

SC: Getting up early in the morning getting ready for those 12 o’clock games. Those are the worst times. I hate them, but at the same time, once you get to the game we all go out there and get to play.

FT: No one loves to get up early to practice, but you have to practice to get better.

Tell me something about one of the other seniors that not many people know.

DA: Frank Tchuisi has done so much for the program that is not in the public eye. Each person on our team respects him so much. Everyday in practice, having him compete makes us better and is the reason why we reached the Final Four.

SC: They think Frank Tchuisi is the quiet one, but he’s the one that’s always talking – always the funny guy on the team. People don’t know really know that much about him. He’s always got jokes and stuff to say. He’s one of the funniest guys on the team.

FT: Shane is a great guy. He’s very laid back. He did a lot for me and helped me go through a lot of things. You don’t have to meet Shane to see who he is. There’s something about him that attracts people.

Tell me something about Head Coach Jay Wright that not many people know.

DA: He’s still getting on me right now, and I’m a senior and have no more games. That just shows how much he cares about each and every one of his players.

DC: Everybody knows that Coach Wright is smooth, calm and collected. He seems never to be rattled, regardless of what’s going on.

FT: You don’t see him yell at us all the time, but besides that, he’s a great man. He made sure by the end of my college career, I’d be the best person I could be.

Describe what it’s like playing in front of the Villanova crowd at the Pavilion and Wachovia Center.

SC: At the Pavilion, the student section is right there. You get to look up there and see all the students – everybody you see on campus. It’s so far back at Wachovia. It’s fun to have them right over your shoulder and hear them cheering for you.

DC: We like to call it ‘Nova Nation. It’s everywhere. It was great to hear everyone behind us yelling and screaming.

FT: We have the greatest fans in the country. Sometimes in the gym you look up, and it’s just Villanova t-shirts that you see.

Who is some one that has really helped you at Villanova that doesn’t really get the public recognition?

DA: So many people. Assistant coaches Patrick Chambers and Brett Gunning. Jason Fraser was always in my ear. My girlfriend, Lindsay Davis, helped me a lot. My parents. Just so many people had an impact on my life and were the reasons I stayed strong.

SC: Kyle Lowry. He’s one of my best friends since I was little. He always calls me up before the games. He’ll always see something in the game and tell me what to do and what not to do. Just listening to him has really helped me.

FT: Andrew Duffy, one of the managers on the team who I live in New Jersey with. We always talk about all of the things we want to do when we finish at Villanova. If you could change one thing in the past four years, what would it be?

DA: When I turned it around my junior year, I wish I had matured enough to do that my freshman year. If I did that, who knows where I would have ended up.

SC: I wouldn’t change anything. Everything we do is fun, and everything we’re doing is competing. So there’s nothing I would really change.

FT: Probably playing a lot more. But as a player, you have to understand what it takes to be on the team. You have to leave the selfishness on the side sometimes and play for the name on the front of the jersey instead of your own name.