November 11, 2020 –
The Villanova Wildcats had four players named to the Basketball Hall of Fame Awards watch lists for the 2020-21 season. The players named were Collin Gillespie, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Jermaine Samuels, and Justin Moore. A summary of the award watch lists are found below.
Collin Gillespie to the Bob Cousy Award – Gillespie joins a watch list of twenty players for the award given to the top point guard in the nation. Jalen Brunson won this award in the 2018 season. Saint Joseph’s point guard Jameer Nelson was selected as the Cousy Award winner in 2004. Gillespie led the team in assists with 138 over his 31 games. He also was the team leader in steals with 38. Gillespie averaged 15.1 points per game making 155 field goals, 70 from beyond the arc. The senior converted a team leading 89 of 109 free throws. He was 11th in the Big East in scoring. In conference Gillespie was 5th in assists, 8th in free throw percentage, 14th in made threes, and was 4th in assists to turnover ratio at 2.3. Other Big East players in contention are Marcus Zegarowski of Creighton and Bryce Aiken from Seton Hall. Philadelphian Fatts Russell of Rhode Island is also on the watch list.
Jeremiah Robinson-Earl to the Karl Malone Award – the Karl Malone Award is given to the top power forward in the nation. Robinson-Earl was the Big East Freshman of the Year. He led the team in rebounding with 290 (79 offensive and 211 defensive boards) which ranked 4th in the Big East. The sophomore posted the team-high in rebounds in 23 of his 31 games. Robinson-Earl was fifth on the team in scoring with 10.5 points per game. He had 9 double-doubles over the season. Robinson-Earl also sank 81% of his free throws converting 79 of 99 from the line. Seton Hall’s Sandro Mamukelashvili is also on the watch list. Obi Toppin of Dayton won the award in 2019-20.
Jermaine Samuels to the Julius Erving Award – The award is familiar to Villanova as Saddiq Bey was named the award winner given to the nation’s top small forward. Mikal Bridges was named the Erving award winner in 2018 and Josh Hart was given the trophy in 2017. Samuels led the team 5 times as the game leading scorer when he averaged 10.7 points per game, fourth-best on the squad. Samuels was the top shot blocker on the team swatting 21 shots away. The senior was 26th in conference in scoring, 15th in Big East rebounding (165 rebounds), and 14th in field goal percentage (109 of 235 for 46%) where Samuels ranked second at Villanova.
Justin Moore to the Jerry West Award – The award recognizes the top shooting guard in Division I men’s basketball. Myles Powell of Seton Hall won the award in 2020. Moore was the third leading scorer at Villanova last season averaging 11.3. The sophomore was second on the team in three-point shooting percentage at 39% converting 61 of 154, third on the team in made shots from distance. He ranked 22nd in conference scoring. Other Big East players on the watch list are; James Bouknight of Connecticut, Mitch Bullock from Creighton, and Xavier’s Paul Scruggs.
In the first preseason poll Villanova was ranked third. The Wildcats open the season on Wednesday, November 25th vs. Boston College at the 2K Empire Classic in Uncasville, CT[. The Wildcats face the winner of the Arizona State vs. Baylor game next. The home opener is scheduled for November 30th when Villanova hosts Saint Joseph’s.
Written By: Glenn Papazian