VUSports: Looking back to your freshman year in what way do you feel you have grown the most?
Pinkston: Maturity. Learning from my mistakes. Being a better person.
VUSports: Coach Jay Wright is looking for you to play more consistently at both ends of the floor - what things do you think you can do to be more consistent game in game out?
Pinkston: Getting in better shape, working on my shooting and trying to be a team leader like he wants me to be and the guys expect me to be.
VUSports: To what do you most contribute your defensive inconsistency?
Pinkston: Being tired. Not being in good enough shape.
VUSports: You have done a lot to improve your conditioning since you arrived …
Pinkston: I give credit to myself and John Shackleton, the strength and conditioning coach, for always being on me about nutrition and getting after it in the weight room.
VUSports: Do you feel as if your shooting from 12 feet and out is now good enough to force teams to guard you out there and open up even more for you off the dribble?
Pinkston: I think this year my shooting range is extended out to three-point range. Last year it was but I shot the ball inconsistently. I have worked on that during the offseason … both shooting threes and shooting off the dribble.
VUSports: What are you most excited about this season in relation to the new Big East and this particular team?
Pinkston: Just getting out there with my teammates and playing Villanova basketball.
VUSports: What aspect of your game is most improved since you arrived at Villanova?
Hilliard: Confidence. My mind-set. I always knew I could play here and I keep developing that confidence and working on my body in the weight room. I know my teammates and my coaches have a lot of confidence in me. Even though I had high confidence coming in I keep on building that and that is the biggest aspect of improvement in my game since getting here.
VUSports: Do you feel that your work in the weight room has increased the quickness of your first step to the basket?
Hilliard: Yes. Most definitely. I know a lot of people questioned that when I came in but I most definitely did improve that and the weight room definitely contributed to that.
VUSports: How do you see yourself blending in the backcourt with Dylan Ennis and Ryan Arcidiacono?
Hilliard: I think we have a good camaraderie with each other, we are good friends off the court, we hang out with each other all the time off the court … but that doesn't really change anything on the court. Me and Arch played together last year as did Dylan and I in practice so I don't think we will have any problems in the backcourt.
VUSports: Understood. My question was geared more towards how your skills would blend on the court when Coach Wright plays all three of you together.
Hilliard: That is possible we will play at the same time. Coach Wright will play a lot of guards at the same time and we all can shoot it, we can all get to the basket and we can all play any of the three spots. It will be fun this year.
VUSports: Do you prefer away games, Pavilion games or Wells Fargo games? Some of your best games were at Wells Fargo.
Hilliard: Some of my best games were at Wells Fargo but you got to love going on the road and taking it to another team in their own building. That is a lot of fun for us and we take a lot of pride in that … going on someone's floor and playing Villanova basketball and coming away with a win. To me that is my favorite part.
VUSports: Are you pumped up about that first game in a Villanova uniform after sitting out a year? Are you ready to burst?
Ennis: Oh Yeah? I am really excited. I have been waiting to play for a long time now and putting a Villanova jersey on is something I always dreamed of. There is a lot of excitement building up for me.
VUSports: What are the strengths of your game?
Ennis: I bring a lot of energy. I play with a lot of energy and a lot of passion and I do whatever the coach asks of me whether that is scoring or passing or rebounding. I don't like to see myself as just a point guard or a shooting guard, I try to do everything.
VUSports: How will you fit or blend in the backcourt with Arcidiacono and Hilliard?
Ennis: I think it is going to be real good. I have been playing with them all year. I sat out but I practiced with them every day. With their tools and mine, I think we are going to be great in the backcourt.
VUSports: What kind of dunk do you have up your sleeve for Friday to top your Hoops Mania dunk of last year?
Ennis: Everybody is asking me about that. I am not going to give out secrets but a couple of guys heard what I'm doing out there. It is something that one of the managers brought to me and presented and I said "you know … why not?". So I am going to do it and hopefully it will be fun.
VUSports: If Coach Wright could hand-pick a Hoop Mania musical guest for his own enjoyment - who would he choose?
Ennis: Coach Wright would probably go with a guy like Jack Johnson … nice … cool … he likes how jazz music is - nice, calm, smooth but you know us we like the big, loud, rowdy stuff.
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