Mack adds 12-year-old Couch to roster

By: TIm Wilmes

Xavier University made history on Tuesday when it announced the signing of the youngest prospect in school history as the latest addition to the men’s basketball team.

Trey Couch, a 12-year-old from Liberty Township, Ohio, signed a National Letter of Intent for the Musketeers as his parents sat next to him at a live press conference held by Xavier.

Couch joined the Musketeers as a part of Team IMPACT, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of children who are facing chronic illnesses by pairing them with athletic teams.

Couch, who was diagnosed with Cerebellar Degeneration in 2010, always dreamed of playing for a Division I athletic program. Now, with the help of Team IMPACT and Xavier’s offer, Couch will have a chance to be part of a real college basketball team.

Couch’s illness deeply affects the cerebellum, a part of the brain that controls coordination and balance and will eventually lead to muscle deterioration.

Because there is no cure at present for Cerebellar Degeneration, most of Couch’s treatments come as negative side effects surface.

Although Couch’s doctors can only play defense against his illness, Couch now has a new team behind him to help him cope with the challenges he might face in the future.

“I couldn’t be more excited to join my new teammates in the locker room and on the court,” Couch said at the press conference.

The members of the men’s basketball team were at the press conference to show their support of the new Musketeer who will be at as many practices and games that he can.

Couch addressed questions from junior Dee Davis, redshirt junior Justin Martin and senior Erik Stenger.

Upon visiting the Musketeers’ locker room, Couch received jersey No. 15 and a pair of basketball shorts so he can be ready for the upcoming season.

Xavier head coach Chris Mack certainly sees the signing as a great opportunity for Couch, the team and the Xavier family.

“Sometimes we look at our everyday challenges and we think we have it tough,” Mack said. “We try to teach our student athletes that there are a lot stiffer challenges that other people have to face.”