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Posted: Wednesday October 28, 2009 5:07PM; Updated: Wednesday October 28, 2009 5:07PM

Villanova's Redding wants to make amends after arrest

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Villanova's Reggie Redding was supposed to be a team captain this season

He was suspended from the team after being charged with drug possession

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VILLANOVA, Pa. (AP) -- Jay Wright wanted to give Reggie Redding a summer pep talk.

Wright saw how Villanova's senior guard was putting in the time to become a better player and setting a positive example as a team leader. Wright called Redding and told him how proud he was of him.

Wright told Redding how much Villanova, off its first Final Four in 24 years, was counting on him.

Redding listened to his coach, but he didn't get the message.

One night after Wright made the call, he got another about Redding. Redding had been arrested and charged with possession of a small amount of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, both misdemeanors.

All of Redding's offseason work went up in smoke.

"I didn't feel fooled, I really felt sorry for him," Wright said.

Redding, who averaged 7.1 points and 4.9 rebounds for the Wildcats (30-8) last season, has been reduced to a spectator as the Big East preseason favorites kick off their season.

He is not allowed to participate in team functions or play a game until Dec. 19. He is enrolled in school and can practice, but will sit out the first 10 games of the season.

He was stripped of his role as team captain and doesn't have his picture on the cover of the media guide with the other seniors. Redding was banned from traveling with the Wildcats.

Even worse, as part of his punishment he was forced to miss Villanova's Final Four ring ceremony.

Redding received his ring privately from Wright last week.

He says he has learned from his poor choice and is thankful his teammates have supported him. Redding realizes it will be painfully difficult to watch the Wildcats early in the season and know there's nothing he can do to help them.

His senior season started to unravel in July when police investigated a report that a car had damaged a street sign near the campus dorms. Officers found the car was owned by Redding and discovered marijuana in his parked car.

"Stuff happens," Redding said. "It can happen to anybody."

Not really. Not to Wildcats doing the right things.

Wright constantly warns his players about the dangers of putting themselves in the wrong situation. Redding was honest with Wright when they talked shortly after the arrest.

"Of course he was angry, but he didn't yell," Redding said. "He didn't have to say much. I knew what I did. It wasn't like I was denying what happened or not accepting the responsibility. I took responsibility from the time that it happened. I knew what I did. There wasn't much he had to yell at me about."

Wright was in Arizona recruiting when he received a 4 a.m. phone call from Villanova's manager of basketball operations and was quickly put in touch with Redding

"Reggie admitted (it) and took responsibility right away," Wright said. "For as sad as it was, it was very simple."

Instead of talking about being picked as Big East favorites, Redding spent this week explaining his side of the arrest. He said the matter was being handled by his lawyer -- and doesn't appear unnerved that he had to get legal counsel.

"Does it seem weird to you? It doesn't seem weird to me," Redding said. "This is all going to be over and I'm just going to look forward to having a good season."

Redding had a private conversation with teammate Scottie Reynolds and told him about the incident.

"I felt for him right then and there," Reynolds said.

He would eventually address his teammates and thank them for their support.

"They just told me that they were here for me with anything I need," Redding said. "That's how it is here, it's like a family."

Reynolds, also a senior, roomed with Redding their freshman year and the two have remained close. Could Reynolds really have been surprised about what Redding was busted with?

Reynolds danced around the question and said, "I can't really talk about that, you know that."

Redding's father called Wright to apologize that his son embarrassed the program. Wright described the incident as a good kid who had a lapse of good judgment.

"The biggest thing you could lose with coach Wright is his trust, and I might have lost some of that," Redding said. "I'm doing everything in my power right now to get it back."

Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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