An outstanding career for Villanova’s Collin Gillespie

by Marc Narducci | Apr 4, 2022
An outstanding career for Villanova’s Collin Gillespie

It’s a little bit of irony that on the final day of the final game of his college career, Villanova point guard Collin Gillespie was still winning awards.

On Saturday afternoon it was announced that Gillespie won the Bob Cousy Award, which is presented to the nation’s top point guard.

Then that evening his season and career ended with an 81-65 loss to Kansas in the NCAA semifinal, the coveted Final Four.

The other Villanova winner of the Cousy award was Jalen Brunson, who was a major contributor to the 2016 and 2018 NCAA title teams. Brunson won the Cousy Award in 2018.

A fifth-year senior, Gillespie can’t be judged by just the stats. This season he averaged 15.6 points, 3.2 assists and 1.7 turnovers.

On the surface these aren’t eye-popping stats, but how does one judge leadership by stats? Gillespie was a true leader, which is why he was named the Big East Player of the Year for the second straight season (He shared the award with two others last year).

He was also a clutch player, shooting 90.5 percent from the foul line.

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For somebody who entered his senior high school season at Archbishop Wood without any Division I offers, Gillespie is somebody who kept improving.

As a freshman in 2018, he saw meaningful minutes off the bench (14.4 per game) on the championship team. He then became a starter after that first season.

Last year Gillespie’s season ended after 20 games when he suffered a torn MCL. So he missed the NCAA Tournament but came back this year in a big way.

On a team that had little depth, Gillespie had to stay on the court for extended minutes. He averaged 34.2 minutes per game and the most impressive part is that he didn’t take a rest on defense.

Besides the leadership, he provided boundless energy. He ended with 1,856 career points in a school-record 156 games.

Now the question is how will Gillespie fare as a pro? At 6-3 and 195 pounds, he likely could only play point guard at the next level.

There will be questions about his quickness, but he has the type of heart that can’t be measured.

Many have compared Gillespie with Ryan Arcidiacono, the star of Villanova’s 2016 national championship team.

Both played at Philadelphia area high schools, Gillespie at Archbishop Wood and Arcidiacono at Neshaminy. Both were listed at 6-3 and 195 pounds at Villanova.

Like Gillespie, Arcidiacono didn’t have big stats. In fact, in 2016 he averaged 12.5 points and 4.3 assists, certainly not eye-popping stats.
Yet like Gillespie, Arcidiacono was a great leader who didn’t care who scored, as long as his team had more points.

During Villanova’s six NCAA tournament games in 2016, Arcidiacono took his game up a level, averaging 15.8 points, 3.0 assists and shooting 94.4 percent from the foul line.

He also shot 61.5 percent from the three-point range. It was a great clutch performance although it didn’t get him drafted.

Arcidiacono began his career in the G-League, then spent parts of four seasons with the Chicago Bulls. He again spent time in the G League and in February returned to the NBA with the New York Knicks.

If one goes by mock drafts, Gillespie likely won’t be great drafted but even if he doesn’t, he should be a high-profile rookie free agent.
And just like Arcidiacono, one shouldn’t bet against him having a future role in the NBA.

Photo Curtosy of Vilanova Twitter 


Author: Marc Narducci

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