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How Matt Couture’s only basket foreshadowed the golden age of Villanova Basketball

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Something happened in December of 1995 that still resonates with Villanova Basketball today.

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Happy Tuesday Nova Nation! In case you missed it (and I don’t know how you could have and still found the links) yesterday marked the start of our massive 128 summer tournament. This year, we’re voting on the best 3 on 3 team in Villanova history, using reader submitted teams. One of those teams, Bench Mobsters, featured a little known walk on named Matt Couture, and today we’re going to talk about his only basket as a Wildcat.

First, special thanks to RememberZeffy for bringing this story up because I had never heard it before. And second, another special thanks to Geoffrey Walsh, @Grindstone9 on twitter, for suggesting that we use this story for today’s Arizin. Additionally, the full AP piece where I got the quotes from can be found here. Ok, now to the actual story.

Matt Couture was basically a team manager that was asked to turn walk on for one season, 1995-96. For those of you who don’t remember, this was Kerry Kittles final season with the Wildcats and unfortunately ended with a second round loss after being ranked in the Top 10 all year. But we’re not here to focus on the end of the season, rather Nova’s 10th game of the year on a Thursday night late in December. This was Matt Couture’s big moment.

With just five days left until Big East play started up, Villanova was playing a cupcake school at home and blowing them out easily. As time was winding down, the Villanova bench was emptied and Couture got on the court for the first time in his collegiate career. Despite being up by 31, everyone was urging the walk on to let one fly. And so, at the buzzer, Matt Couture nailed a 25-foot 3-pointer for his only points as a Wildcat.

The opposing coach didn’t seem to mind the last second shot, his team had lost the game before half-time. In fact, he had nothing but great things to say about the Villanova program. “They’ve got a lot of talent at every position. They execute, they play hard and they’re very unselfish. They’re just a great team.” Those are sentiments that we hear from a lot of opposing coaches these days, but that one in particular was special. You see the opposing team was Hofstra, and their coach was Jay Wright.

Everything Wright said about that ‘95-96 team applies to his teams of the past five years. In fact when he went on to say, “For a talented team to be that disciplined and unselfish is really something,” he could have been talking about either of his National Championship teams. If only he had known then that what he was saying about Matt Couture’s Wildcats, the rest of the country would now be saying about Jay Wright’s Wildcats.

So the next time Jay Wright comes out after a game and praises the play of another team that Villanova just dominated from start to finish, you know he’s not just providing lip service. Wright knows how hard those teams worked and prepared for that game, because he’s been in their shoes. Wright has built the caliber team he once heaped praise on, and now he’s reaping the rewards. Luckily for us, that team was and still is the Villanova Wildcats.

In other “news”, Phil Booth is ready to shine, 2019 and 2020 recruiting updates, the Sixers done messed up with Bridges, and Taylor King retires from basketball. Enjoy!

Summer School: As the beat goes on at Villanova, Phil Booth gets his star turn | The Athletic
As Villanova prepares for its title defense with a slew of new faces, fifth-year senior Phil Booth will be asked to take on a leadership role

Isaiah Stewart wins gold medal with USA Basketball U17 team | Democrat and Chronicle
Former McQuaid star Isaiah Stewart scored 15 points as the United States defeated France for the gold medal at the FIBA U17 World Cup championship.

Update: Three Chicago guards, Illini targets in top-70 of 2020
Villanova has shown some interest in 2020 PG Tyler Beard.

Sixers' traded draft pick Mikal Bridges flashes potential in summer league with Phoenix Suns | Philly
The Villanova grad debuted in summer league with a 14-point performance off the bench for the Suns.

Taylor King retires from professional basketball | Chester Chronicle
The former VU Hoopster played in 11 countries over four continents in a seven-year professional career.