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Villanova Basketball 2019 Player Recap: Jahvon Quinerly

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It was a frustrating first season for the 5-star freshman

NCAA Basketball: Villanova at Creighton Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

It has been quite some time since there has been a Villanova player as polarizing as Jahvon Quinerly. The highly touted five star, All-American PG came to ‘Nova after de-committing from Arizona following the FBI bribery investigation. Quinerly was one of the highest rated recruits ‘Nova has landed in recent years and expectations for the young guard varied depending on who you asked. Some thought he was destined to follow in the lineage of superstar point-guards (Brunson, Arch) and should jump straight into the starting lineup. Others wanted to give him time to grow into the role, playing solid minutes while learning the Villanova Basketball way of running the team. What did we get? Oh boy.

He saw significant minutes in the first two games of the season but only accumulated 6 points on 2-10 shooting, and coughed up 5 turnovers over 33 minutes of action. He saw some clean-up minutes in the brutal loss to Michigan where he grabbed 4 points, but his playing time dropped significantly after that. Then, of course, there was the Penn game, where he posted on his Instagram, “Was my 2nd choice for a reason,” after getting only a few seconds of playing time.

The keyboard warriors came out in full force online, either defending him and understanding his frustration with the lack of playing time or denouncing him as anti-Villanovan and requesting a transfer immediately. Despite this incident he continued receiving moderate playing time but not always during meaningful times of the game. He scored a season-high 10 points at MSG against UConn on 25 minutes of action, mostly due to Gillespie being in foul trouble. He did not see anything close to that amount of action for the rest of the season, mostly acting as a pre-bench mob coming in late in games and providing some relief if Booth or Gillespie were in foul trouble. He did not see any action during the Big East Tournament or the NCAA Tournament, even in the blowout loss to Purdue.

How do we judge his season?

This really depends on what your expectations were for him coming into this season. The general consensus seems to be that it was a disappointing season for him on two fronts: his actual performance in games and how Jay Wright handled his playing time. Those of you who follow me on twitter know that I was all aboard the JellyFam train at the beginning of the season and wanted him to get more playing time. Even so, I have no issue pointing out that his game performances were disappointing to say the least. Quinerly had his moments of awesomeness (he is a great ball-handler, something that the team desperately needed this season, and passer) but had a lot of moments where he looked like an inexperienced freshman. Now comes my quarrels with Jay.

Based on the first few games of the season it seemed that Quinerly was not poised to jump into the starting line-up and become the team’s number one for the season. However, it seemed that he was not given a long leash by Coach Wright. Bad pass? Yanked. Missed shot? Bench. Sloppy turnover? See ya. While most players under Wright are given the chance to redeem themselves in game and play through the mistakes, Quinerly seemed to be on the bench almost immediately after making a bad play. Should he have been given the benefit of the doubt and kept in the game to learn from his mistakes? Maybe that’s why I’m writing this and not a head coach.

Next Season (?)

According to Joe Juliano, Quinerly and his family are meeting with Coach Wright in the upcoming week to discuss his future with Villanova, and reports indicate that he may be leaning towards transferring. Brendan outline the pros and cons pretty well, but I think it is important to note that ‘Nova still won’t have a true point-guard next year. Bryan Antonie and Justin Moore are both great guards but are not natural point-guards. This year, the offense did not click as it usually does with Gillespie at the point and he is much more comfortable in the shooting-guard position. If Quinerly decides to stay, he will likely become the starting PG in the near future. Even if it means he leaves ‘Nova, I hope he is able to make the right decision that will benefit him the most as he moves forward in life.