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Feb. 27, 2003

Cavalier Call-In With Debbie Ryan:

Caller: After the NCAA what are your summer plans?

Debbie: I will spend some time with my family, maybe go to the beach for a bit and then do a ton of recruiting, a lot of recruiting takes place during the summer.

Caller: That’s interesting, Coach, as it seems like the season ends, but your work doesn’t end. You don’t get to take a deep breath for a while.

Debbie: People don’t realize how hard the spring is. We do a lot of recruiting and fundraising and speaking to people throughout the summer.

Caller: Lets flash back to the first two road wins in the ACC of the season, back to back. Georgia Tech and Maryland. It couldn’t get any closer. You win the two games by a combined score of six points. You had lost a lot of road games by small margins early in the season. And then being on the road and finding a way to come through really had to please you.

Debbie: Well it really did, the Georgia Tech win was a big game for us. It gave us a lot of confidence and we had to handle their comeback. We did a good job hanging on and making free throws.

Caller: You got off to a good start, and the first half was really impressive and that really helped in the second half when Georgia Tech made that run.

Debbie: We were up by 9 at the half and we were able to preserve the lead, but that’s hard on a team like Georgia Tech where they have a lot of post-scores. But it was a difficult game because they kept coming back to us. Being able to hang on in the end was really big for us and our confidence, and then we were able to make free throws and hold on down the stretch. It was something they really wanted badly and we found a way to get it.

Caller: It must have been tough for you all as you got stuck in Atlanta for a couple of extra days. That was neat for me, as I go to the away games to be around the team. Do you think that helped the team being away from things and being able to relax a little bit?

Debbie: It is always great for the team to be able to relax together and allow for team building and take some time off. It was really nice as they didn’t have school the next day, and that was a neat experience because UVA never closes. It was nice for them to have a snow day.

Caller: You win the game in Atlanta and you finally get home and you turn right around and travel to College Park. How nice was it to have that first win under your belt and then travel to Maryland where they make that run and psychologically you know you were a little sounder?

Debbie: It was huge. The players realized that no matter what Maryland did, we could still win. You know we got ahead and then behind. But not only did we get the lead, but we also had to keep it. And that was difficult, but now that’s something that this team knows how to do.

Cavalier Call-In With Pete Gillen-

Caller: I think you guys played outstanding in the loss. I think it was your second best game of the year barring the Maryland game. I want to start out with a somewhat tough question and ask you, as you know, with every loss you always hear those questions if it is time to look for another coach or another direction. My question for you is 1) what sign do you think warrants looking in that direction? And 2) how much is that a distraction for you and your team?

Pete: There is always criticism. You know, we have a ten year contract and we hope to be here a long time. And once again we are disappointed that we are 14-11. We are disappointed, but we aren’t 6-20. You know everybody wants to win every game. No one is more disappointed than I am when we don’t win. Once again, I will say we had some adversity. Our point guard has been suspended, and we played yesterday without our power forward. So, we are going through some tough times. But we are going to do the right thing.

Caller: Let me say one more thing real quick, I applaud you and the school for the morality that you have shown and for reprimanding your players to make a statement to the young people that are out there. I want you to understand, that you have five or six to one that are backing you in the University. I think you are doing a great job. Terry Holland built that team and like I said, don’t give up. I just was wondering how distracted the team was.

Pete: Every time you lose there is a lot of criticism. The fans want to win and I don’t blame them. I just try to do the best job I can and like I said we are 14-11, and we want to be a lot better than that, we have a lot more goals than that. But the season isn’t over yet! We have four regular season games and the ACC tournament left. It shows you if we can play like we did last night at Wake Forest, we are a pretty good team. Time will tell. It is about character, playing hard and playing together and doing the best we can. We start a lot of times with three sophomores, a junior and Watson, a senior. We still have a team that is growing and young. We have a great future, we have two great recruits, and we are trying to get two more very good players. I think the future is very bright! We are discouraged we aren’t doing better, but its not because of lack of effort. It isn’t over, and we can still reach our goals. If we can win 18-19 games we still have a shot to go to the tournament. But it is easy to criticize and there is a lot of it.

Caller: I know that Keith Jenifer was suspended, and Todd Billet had to play point. Why not give Mapp the start and give Billet the shooting guard position, which is his natural position?

Pete: Majestic played almost the whole game at point. Sometimes we start Todd and bring Mapp off the bench and try to save him. He is not 100% healthy. He is a point guard, but he isn’t healthy. His leg isn’t strong enough to put it by people. He has good quickness, he isn’t a lightning bolt but he is quick. But he doesn’t have the strength in his leg to go by people like he used to. Sometimes we start Todd for three or four minutes and then bring in Mapp. But Majestic is going to play a lot with Todd, because like you said Billet is very comfortable off the board and has been playing really well.

Caller: We are real critics. But there are a few things I don’t understand. One is why take a timeout two minutes into the game? Another one is, why leave Jason Clark in the ball game in the first half when he has three fouls. A lot of coaches don’t let him get three.

Pete: To answer the second question, we had a guy at the bench, at the scores table ready to take him out. You know we play aggressively, some days we keep guys in, because that is his role, to play defense. Jason has to be smart enough to not commit the fourth one. The time outs, you know we had one left at the end of the game with eleven seconds to go. So we use them when we feel we have to. It is our feeling; Clemson did the same thing. Everyone has a different philosophy and we just go with a gut feeling. We don’t have any system and aren’t trying to be politically correct. We just do that, that is our style and we did have one at the end of that game. We do things by instinct. I don’t have all the answers.

Caller: You have fourteen different lineups. If you keep changing line-ups, you don’t have a sense of where you put players in. If you keep changing, it messes with their head a little bit.

Pete: Unfortunately, we haven’t had consistency. We would love to have a set line-up. But right now, we sometimes get guys who get twenty points a game and then three the next game. So we change it, and have Brown and VanderLaan switching in and out. But we haven’t been able to have a set lineup because we have injuries. Byers and Devon have both been hurt. But we have inconsistency and that is why we change it. Duke does the same thing, they have fourteen different lineups. If we knew what we were getting from each guy every night, we wouldn’t have to do this.

Caller: I went to the UVA vs. NC. State game and I got some autographs from UVA players. What is a good way to get those posters you all give out? What is a good way to send it to you and get a few players to sign it?

Pete: Call our secretary, Carol Moore. 434-982-5400, tell her we spoke on the radio show and ask if you can send a couple of posters and we’ll get them autographed for you. I’ll give her your name.

Caller: I heard Billy Packard tell someone that he wasn’t surprised with our record because we are lacking a true point guard. I have to say that I feel like Mapp and Billet on the court at the same time gives us the best chance.

Pete: Thanks. We are seeing how Mapp holds up and we are trying to take the pressure off of Billet. Todd is a great player but he is more comfortable off the ball. If he’s got to handle the ball he gets four or five points, if he is off the ball he is going to get 24-25, and he will have the chance to score more. Majestic is a true point guard, but he is an injured point guard. He is a guy who isn’t 100%, because his leg is just coming off two and half years of rehab and a bunch of surgeries. But your right, he does a great job for us and he is still getting into shape and trying to find people. I thought he did a great job last night under tough circumstances and hopefully he will give us something. If he is on his game, our chances go up.

Caller: I am going to put you on the spot now. Do you expect Keith Jenifer to come back this season?

Pete: I have no comment. I cannot help you with that. I am just going to leave it alone. He is indefinitely suspended and that is all I want to say right now.

Caller: Have you given any thoughts to rotating UVA games at any neutral sites?

Pete: I think Wayne at Virginia Tech wants to play in Blacksburg every other year. I wouldn’t mind playing a game once every four years in Charlottesville, one in Blacksburg, one in Roanoke and another in Virginia Beach or Richmond. Once again, Virginia Tech is adamant and wants the game there. I don’t blame them for that. I wouldn’t mind that, I am open to anything and that really wouldn’t phase me. I like playing on campus, I think that is good, but I also like the idea of going to different spots in the Commonwealth. I’m flexible.

Caller: With the Virginia Tech football game, would you like to make that a double-header weekend?

Pete: I think that is going to happen. That is tentative for the coming season. I think we would play late November here at home and then a football game.

Caller: I was wondering if you have been looking at any recruits from high school for next year’s season?

Pete: We are, we have two guys we signed already. A young man from Roanoke, J.R. Reynolds, a very good player at 6-3. And we have 6-6 wing player, big guard, and small forward, Gary Forbes from Brooklyn New York. They are both outstanding players and we are trying to get two more guys, big guys. So hopefully we can get a couple more. And everyone is back that played this year, except for Travis Watson, who is a great player. But, I think we have a chance to be very good next season and I think we are 14-11 and we will expect to be better next year. We will miss Travis, but everyone else will get better.

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