Profile: Andrew Sullivan

Andrew Sullivan challenges both a young team and a leadership role this season. Sullivan was the only Wildcat to start all 32 games last season, helping him develop into Villanova’s most adaptable and consistent defender.

Content with Sullivan’s defensive work, coach Jay Wright commented “[Sullivan] began to play with more confidence offensively as the season wore on, and that’s an area I think he can make great improvement in.”

Wright hopes for Sullivan’s offensive prowess to increase exponentially with age. The Great Britain native averaged a mere 1.7 points his sophomore year, but revealed bits of strong offensive production last season during a 13-point game against Virginia Military Institute and a double-double against Pittsburgh.

Amongst a team of McDonald’s All-American freshmen stars, Andrew Sullivan is attempting to guide this star-laden lineup through the highly-anticipated men’s basketball season. Sullivan has the experience and, most importantly, the attitude to lead the Wildcats to success.

“I think for the most part the older guys will just lead by example,” he said.

With a solid mixture of experience and young talent, Sullivan is optimistic about the team’s performance this year. He feels the freshman recruits are ” very competitive and aggressive, which is a good thing.” He feels they are learning from their overly-aggressive mistakes, and they “come to court every day wanting to win when we play games in practice, which keeps the older guys on their toes, too.”

Aside from forming a stronger defensive game, the Wildcats focused a lot on eliminating turnovers during the off-season.

“We’ve been playing a lot better as a team. We understand that turnovers was a big problem for us, and we just have to be more cautious about taking care of the ball.”

Villanova will concentrate strongly on adding to the low post game. Sullivan felt confident with Ricky Wright’s presence at forward.

“Ricky is the low post presence for the team,” he said. “He’s proved himself in the post and when you have a young team like this one, the best thing you can do is get the ball in the post and take the pressure off wing players.”

Another obstacle that must be overcome by the young Villanova basketball team: the hype. With four McDonald’s All-Americans and the 18th best recruit in the nation (Jason Fraser) according to, an immense amount of public aspirations has been put on the team’s shoulders. Ranked in the top 25 teams in the nation by nearly every poll is something that has never been experienced by the current Wildcats. Sullivan feels the press attention is necessary for the strong season the Wildcats are looking forward to.

“We want to win games … and if that comes with a lot of recognition in the Big East and nationally, then so be it. We’re trying to start the season off as a good team playing together, and whatever comes along with that will come along with it. Once you can go around and play hard and together, everything else will take care of itself.”

Something else that conveys Villanova’s anticipation and national respect is the team’s participation in this year’s Coaches vs. Cancer tournament. This gives the team the opportunity to be one of the first teams in the country to play.

Sullivan’s greatest concern for the team is the defensive game, where he feels the team production begins.

“Last year we established ourselves as one of the better teams defensively in the conference …We want to be recognized as one of the best defensive teams in the country. That’s where everything starts from and I think a lot of times that carries into our offense.”