PHILADELPHIA (AP) -Randy Foye was the All-American who helped lead Villanova back to the NCAA tournament. Back in town for an NBA game, he just had to stop by practice to tell this year's Wildcats thanks for keeping the streak going.
``It was good to see the seniors and let them know I appreciate it as a Villanova alum and just to keep it up,'' Foye said on Wednesday.
Two of Villanova's biggest fans, and greatest players, are keeping a close eye on Villanova's NCAA tournament run from Minnesota. Timberwolves guard Foye and assistant coach Ed Pinckney text and e-mail with their former teammates and coaches about Villanova's ride into the round of Sweet 16, and both stopped by practice on Tuesday to encourage this year's team.
regional semifinals.
Pinckney, one of two players to ever lead Villanova in points and rebounds four straight seasons, was the 1985 tournament's most outstanding player when he led the Wildcats to the national title under coach Rollie Massimino.
Both predicted Villanova would knock off Duke and advance to its first regional final since 2006 when Foye was playing his way into the NBA lottery.
``I think we'll beat them by about six,'' Foye said before Wednesday's game against the 76ers. ``I think it will be a tough fight though because Duke is similar to us,''
``I got us winning, man. I got us winning by five points,'' Pinckney said. ``They are looking confident which is a good sign,''
Foye and Pinckney made a pit stop at practice before the Wildcats left for Boston to play Thursday night's game. Foye told the Wildcats that he appreciated what they were doing in how they had kept the tournament tradition going. Foye said his senior class passed along leadership lessons that this year's class is now teaching coach Jay Wright's team.
Shortly after Foye went to Minnesota, Pinckney left his job as Wright's assistant to join him with the Timberwolves. Pinckney left his four-year stint with Villanova because he wanted to coach at the NBA level and a shot at reuniting with Foye played a big role in his decision. Pinckney said there ``was no doubt'' he wanted to be an NBA head coach.
k I'm more prepared than ever to do it,'' he said. ``I feel I'm fully prepared.''
Both players enjoyed the Philly homecoming. Foye felt familiar at the Wachovia Center where the Wildcats play two or three times a year, and smiled when he saw the ``V'' painted in the visitor's locker room.
Foye, second on the Timberwolves in scoring at 16.4 points, was not in the starting lineup as coach Kevin McHale wanted to shake things up with the team on a five-game losing streak.
When Foye committed to the Wildcats, they hadn't played in the NCAA tournament since 1999. That didn't deter Foye, who believed in Wright and wanted to help mold the Wildcats into Big East contenders and tournament regulars.
Mission accomplished.
``It just seemed to me like it was a family atmosphere,'' Foye said. ``You have to say to yourself, either I'm going to make it happen and try and turn this around or it's not going to happen for another five to 10 years. I just believed and we came out winners.''
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