Welcome to ‘Nova Nation Conversations, a summer series that will feature a different VUhoops reader/Villanova fan each week. Interested in being featured? Let us know!
This week we share some Villanova stories from longtime fan (and VUhoops reader), VUBill71!
A ‘Nova Nation Conversation
I am a 1971 alum (I have a BS in Business). I had season tickets from 1983 until about 11 or 12 years ago (the drive form H’burg became a grind but I’m back in KOP now). I tell people my rooting interests in priority order are Villanova basketball, Eagles, Phillies and AL FB (my other alma mater). It has been a great sports year for me so far!
I do a lot of ‘Nova reminiscing and pondering but not normally in the shower. I’m sure much of what follows is redundant and has been referenced here many times already.
These are some of the highlights of my ‘Nova experiences and history:
- Lappas flying to NO to convince Kittles to enroll at ‘Nova after Massimino, who recruited him, left to go to UNLV. Lappas was optimistic but Kittles was interviewed after meeting with Lappas and said he was not going to ‘Nova. The rest is history. During the 1st practices, Lappas evidently was telling his assistants that Kittles (who had not yet played a game) was their best player.
- Naysayers suggesting ‘Nova wasted a scholarship on Hilliard (not ranked as a top 100 recruit) who apparently said “I’m not coming to Villanova to sit on the bench”.
- Frank Tuicshi, who was a scholarship player but had walk-on minutes, apparently going ballistic after practice 1 day in ‘09 about how he doesn’t even play and gives 100% and was tired of the starters not doing so - then we got it together and made the Final Four. I watched the epic Reynolds shot with a bunch of people at my friend’s house.
- Dwayne Anderson being told he was not a ‘Nova player after his 2nd year and he could transfer if he wanted. He stayed and was a key cog in the 2009 Final Four team. This was really a blue collar overachieving bunch (Anderson, Clark, Cunningham).
- Pinone running back on D with Pinckney when Ed was a freshman (I think) and saying if you let your man score, I’m going to kill you.
Other special moments:
- The Picollo girl crying as she played after the devastating NC State loss.
- Rollie benching the starters at PITT (last game of the season in ‘85) since we played awful. We know how that turned out.
- Everson mixing it up with a G-town player at the end of the half in the ‘85 title game.
- Harry and the UCONN coach agreeing to let Brooks Sales’ sister score after opening tip (she was hurt and could not play) so she could become their leading scorer.
- Shelly Pennefather! More famous nun than Sister Jean!
- My brother and I were at the last home game of Kittles’ career and he had 29 at half-time and 44 for the game (and stopped shooting with 5 minutes to play). I turned to my brother and said “he’s leaving after this year and he wants his last game to be special”. Of course, he came back.
- The heart displayed by Jason Fraser with all his injuries.
- Shaking my head now at what my friends and I were thinking 3 years into the Wright era (what is he doing, should we fire him).
- The KS game in the snowstorm that I wound up watching on TV instead of going - this was Wright’s breakthrough win with Fraser, Ray, Foye and Sumpter as we were up close to 30 at one point I think.
- Being at the WF when we beat #1 UCONN after being down and then Ray hitting a bunch of 3’s.
- The 23 point comeback against LSU fueled by Malcolm Grant which I watched on TV.
- Pat Enright, a walk-on, nailing a 3 to win to help win an NCAA tournament game.
- Anderson diving for a lose ball in an NCAA tournament game when we were up by 20 late against UCLA.
- Watching the W. KY semi-final game on TV in 1971 - double OT. Siemiontkowski was hitting a top of the key shot all night.
- Watching the famous 90-47 Penn game in the NCAA tourney and being obnoxious to my dad who was a Penn alum who came in and turned the TV off saying “I’ve seen enough of this”. Alas, my brother and I had not so we went downstairs to watch the end!
- I am not nearly at the level of many VUhoops posters but have taken trips to HI, Boston (BC), Pittsburgh (Duquesne), Princeton, SYR and Notre Dame to see the ‘Cats.
- I was at the WF to see us play Georgetown. We’re down 3 and Howard Brown nails a corner 3 to tie it and then the inbounds pass is batted around, winds up in the hands of Jermaine Medley who fires up a wild but successful 3 at the buzzer to win. Six points in less than 5 seconds!
- Being at the Pavilion in a game vs. St. John’s where Rollie got T-d up and it was so loud Pressley needed ear plugs!
- Watching on TV when Ed was a frosh scoring 27 and 22 Rebs when we beat G’Town when ed hit 2 F-T at the end to give us the win and our only lead of the game.
I am more proud that we graduate all our players and turn out great people. I read that of the 68 teams in this year’s NCAA tourney, only 3 had 100% graduation rates.
Every year, Comcast (I guess it’s NBC Philly Sports now) replays the George Raveling story of him working security at the Washington March and asking MLK for his I have a dream speech and how he has been offered 2 or 3 million for it but won’t sell it. This story gives me as many chills as the Jenkins’ 3 to beat NC.
Questions I ponder:
Best 5 players ever?
Most fun to watch?
Players who came in as under-recruited and developed?
Class people (Mouph, Jensen, Plansky, Kittles, Easy Ed, Arch and on and on)?
Would we have won another title or 2 if Fraser and Sumpter did not get hurt or if Booth and Spellman played last year?
There is so much more but this is already too long - sorry!