Trio of Villanova commits gives a glimpse of Wildcats future at Jordan Brand Classic
BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Late in the Jordan Brand Classic Regional Game on Friday afternoon, Collin Gillespie helped give Villanova fans a little look at the potential future on the Main Line.
Gillespie, the Archbishop Wood star who signed his national letter of intent with the Wildcats on Thursday, broke away on the break and tossed the ball up off the backboard for Jermaine Samuels, a fellow Villanova signee from The Rivers School in Massachusetts, to slam into the hoop.
It was one of the highlights of the game, in which Gillespie and Samuels’ Blue squad lost to the Red squad, and the game gave Villanova’s full recruiting class the chance to be together on the same bench for the first time. Neumann-Goretti forward Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree, the third member of the class, did not play in the game because of a stress fracture.
“He’s a great kid,” Gillespie said of Samuels. “He’s a tough competitor. He plays hard every possession. That’s what Villanova basketball is, playing hard every possession. He’s big on the boards for us defensively. He’s an energy guy who can definitely score the ball too, and then [Cosby-Roundtree is] the same way. So it’s going to be exciting to get down there and start playing with them more.”
Collin Gillespie off the glass to Jermaine Samuels [?] @Colling1021 @J_Swizz23 #NEXTvsNEXT pic.twitter.com/8tahZX5DAq
— Overtime (@overtime) April 14, 2017
“It’s actually pretty fun because I get a chance to hang out with these guys before I got down,” Samuels said. “You get a chance to see what’s ahead and how we can all feed off each other.”
Samuels was efficient for Blue with 14 points on seven shots, while Gillespie showed off his scoring ability with 16 points (4 of 9 on 3-pointers) and seven assists.
For Samuels, the opportunity to play with Gillespie was exciting because the Class 5A player of the year was a little bit of an unknown quantity to most of the college basketball world during his meteoric rise from Division II prospect to Villanova signee.
“I think it’s fun to watch him play to be honest,” Samuels said. “He does a lot of great things out there on that court, and I can’t wait to play with him because you know he’s going to be a pass-first guard, and he’s going to distribute to the team, and that’s all it’s about to me, just team basketball and he embodies that.”
Jermaine Samuels showing the power [?] @J_Swizz23 #NEXTvsNEXT pic.twitter.com/1JWdExu6PP
— Overtime (@overtime) April 14, 2017
Samuels first learned of Gillespie’s January commitment through Twitter. Like most of the basketball world at large, he didn’t know who Gillespie was. Then, he started looking into who his future teammate would be, and the eye-popping point totals — 42 points vs. Neumann-Goretti, 33 points vs. Archbishop Ryan in the Philadelphia Catholic League semifinals — caught his eye.
“I was like, ‘I’ve never heard of this kid,'” Samuels said. “And then all of a sudden, I’ll go on YouTube and you look all over you watch his videos, and I was like, ‘Who’s this?’ I didn’t see him on the circuit. I didn’t see him at adidas, Under Armour. and then as the year started to go on in the high school season and I saw all the YouTube videos. … I was like, ‘OK, now I see why he went here.'”
The trio of Gillespie, Samuels and Cosby-Roundtree ranks No. 18 nationally and No. 4 in the Big East. Samuels is a four-star recruit ranked No. 40 in the 247Sports composite rankings, Cosby-Roundtree is four-star and No. 90 and Gillespie is a three-star and No. 186.
When Gillespie signed his letter of intent Thursday — officially making him a future Villanova player — it marked a three-month wait after his commitment. And a bit more than 24 hours later, he was sharing the court and the bench with his future teammates, all wearing the same blue jersey. It was a preview of the next group of players to join Jay Wright at Villanova.
“I’ve been ready to do it for a while because I just want to get up there and start playing with the guys and lifting,” Gillespie said. “Me, Jermaine and DaDa, we’re all excited to get up there and start playing together and get a better relationship. Me and DaDa have known each other since freshman year, and then Jermaine, I’m starting to build a relationship with him, so it’s going to be fun once we get up there and start to talk more.”