On Monday afternoon, Villanova seniors Collin Gillespie and Jermaine Samuels announced they will be returning for their fifth season next year, via Twitter.
In all honesty, this was very surprising to see. After last month’s loss to Baylor in the Sweet 16, I was almost certain that was Gillespie and Samuels’ last game as Wildcats; however, that is no longer the case. With the return of the senior duo, you can almost lock in Villanova as a top 10 pre-season team.
As you may already know, the NCAA announced in the fall that all fall and winter student-athletes would be receiving an extra year of eligibility. Many athletes are taking advantage of this extra year, but Gillespie and Samuels may be the most notable.
After a torn MCL last season, Gillespie will continue his rehab and is aiming at being 100% by next season. Gillespie stated, “I have received valuable feedback and have had many conversations with my family and the coaching staff allowing me to make a confident decision regarding this upcoming season. With that being said, I am going to take advantage of this extra year and come back to Villanova! It is going to be a blessing to put the Villanova uniform on for one last year and play for such an amazing university! I am very excited to get fully healthy again and continue to grow as a player, student, and person. And lastly to my brothers. Run it back!”
Gillespie has been the Wildcats starting point guard for the last three years and played a key role on the 2018 National Championship Villanova team off the bench. In this recent year, Gillespie averaged 14.4 points and 4.7 assists.
Samuels, the 6 foot 7 forward has played exceptionally well for the Wildcats over the past couple seasons and was able to lead Villanova to a Sweet 16 run with Gillespie out. In the final five games to close the season, Samuels put up 15+ points in 4 of those games. In the 2020-21 season, Samuels averaged 12 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 2.5 assists. Samuels announced earlier on Monday, “After much consideration and many valuable conversations with my family and coaching staff, I have decided to COME BACK for another season. There’s nothing like playing Villanova Basketball, wearing that V on my chest and playing for my teammates and coaches. I’m excited to return to Villanova to focus on becoming an even better student-athlete and man. See you soon Nova Nation. GO CATS!!”
With the loss of Jeremiah Robinson Earl, this was seen to be a “rebuilding” year for Villanova. Now that Collin Gillespie and Jermaine Samuels are back, they are hoping to make another title run in 2021.
Jay Wright announced on Twitter, “Collin has made the decision to return to VU after receiving valuable feedback. He remains focused on his rehab process in preparation for next season. We’re excited to have one of our great leaders return to battle with us. We are blessed to have Jermaine’s character, leadership, and talent in our community for another season. He will work hard to take his game to new heights and continue to lead our team.”
With Gillespie’s injury last year, and a heartbreaking loss in the Sweet 16, the 2021-22 season only means one thing for the Wildcats: revenge tour.
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