For Villanova Star Maddy Siegrist, an Early Rejection Was Motivating
The athlete is scoring well and keeping her promise to be on the team.
Maddy Siegrist was closely watching her phone.
Siegrist was a seventh-grader who had applied for the St. Martin De Porres Basketball team earlier in the day. The coach was supposed call players that night and let them know if they were on the A-team. Siegrist received a call from the coach. The news was not what Siegrist liked: She had only made the B-team.
Siegrist told her parents with teary eyes and quivering lips that she was experiencing a lot of emotional distress.
"I'm like, ‘It's OK honey, it will work out,”' George Siegrist, her father, said while chuckling. "And she's saying, "No, Daddy! It won't."
George Siegrist recalled his daughter, turning on their driveway lights one November night in 2013. She put up shots until bedtime. She began to shovel heavy snow on that driveway in preparation for practice. Siegrist was selected for the A-team in her second year. She hasn't been on a B team since.
George Siegrist, a Marist college basketball player, said that 'that was a turning point her early career. "She realized that she didn’t like that feeling.
Maddy Siegrist stated, "I'm a very competitive person. And I never wanted to be part of a second team."
Siegrist is a Villanova forward at 6'2" and has developed into one of the top players in Division I basketball. She leads the division in scoring, breaking records, and secured her team a fourth-seed in the N.C.A.A. Villanova (28-6), will host the women's tournament. 13 Cleveland State (30-4 on Saturday). Siegrist has been one of Philadelphia's most prominent sports stars in a year that seemed like Villanova basketball would fade from prominence due to Jay Wright's retirement.
Denise Dillon, Villanova coach, said that it was like "Here's an opportunity for us to really make some noise" and draw attention. When you create a great product and people are interested in it, people will come out.
Philadelphia is well-known for its crazy sports fans, especially for professional teams such as the Sixers and the Eagles. Famous fans are known for climbing greased poles to celebrate and reveling in public. John Chaney, Temple's men's coach, was a fixture in the 1980s and 1990s. He had several tournament wins and competitive seasons.
Villanova, which has two men's basketball champions, has been a focal point of local attention for the past two decades. Because Siegrist's play, Villanova's attention has shifted to the women's basketball program. Wright, who retired from the team after last season, said that Maddy is treated the same as the Sixers.
Wright recalls that he used to arrive at his office at 7 a.m. on some days, and leave as late as 10:10 p.m. the next day. He would look out his window and hear the basketball bounce from the nearby women’s practice gym. "I would always check to see, like who would be there this late or who'd be there this early?" Wright said. Wright stated. Wright said, "And it was always Maddy."
Siegrist's best game of the season was when she scored 50 points against Seton Hall. She displayed her versatility in offense that night. Siegrist used post and dribble moves to score and she also ran and made sharp cuts without using the ball to open herself up. Siegrist scored 50 points, which was a program record and a conference record. Siegrist did this feat in 32 minutes, which is a very short amount of time.
Dillon said that they don't often get the chance to give Siegrist a rest. Dillon said that Siegrist was taken out of the game by her before Villanova's sports director notified her that she was on the verge of breaking the school record for scoring points in a single game. She then scored 50. "So we kept her out of the game when she reached 50, but I joked that we were trying our luck here."
Jalen Brunson is a former Villanova guard and plays now for the Knicks. He said that Villanova should retire Siegrist’s jersey 'as soon she's done' following that performance.
After scoring 11 rebounds and 39 points, Villanova's next match against St. John's saw dozens of young fans rush to the bottom of their seats, carrying markers and pens.
Siegrist stated, "I can recall how impressionable that was at that age, watching other talented college athletes, so you just want them to see you as a great role model,"
She was about the same age as the autograph-seekers and thought that her basketball career was over when she was dropped from the St. Martin De Porres team. Her family is still close to Jerry Fiore, the coach she was talking to that night. Fiore was there for some of her games this year; no one can forget that moment.
George Siegrist stated, "You know, he helped Maddy become the player that she is,"