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Villanova Basketball 2021-2022 Player Preview: Collin Gillespie

The ‘Cats leader returns with some unfinished business

NCAA Basketball: Villanova at Providence Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Collin Gillespie Career Stats

2017-18 32 1 14.4 1.3 0.452 0.9 0.394 0.8 0.8 0.1 1.2 1.3 1.1 0.1 0.6 1.4 0.4 4.3
2018-19 35 35 29.4 3.3 0.409 2.1 0.379 2.2 0.839 0.3 2 2.4 2.8 0.1 1.1 2.7 1.5 10.9
2019-20 31 31 34.1 5 0.406 2.3 0.357 2.9 0.817 0.2 3.5 3.7 4.5 0.1 1.2 2.3 1.9 15.1
2020-21 20 20 33.4 4.5 0.428 2.1 0.376 3 0.833 0.6 2.7 2.7 4.6 0 1 1.6 1.6 14

Collin Gillespie

Class: Graduate Student
Hometown: Huntingdon Valley, PA
High School: Archbishop Wood
Height: 6-3
Weight: 195 lbs

Collin Gillespie Player Preview:

Though Villanova’s season ended last year with a loss to the Baylor Bears in the Sweet Sixteen - for a while, it felt that it had ended two weeks earlier. That day, March 3, the ‘Cats were hosting the Creighton Bluejays at the Finneran Pavilion. With about six and a half minutes left in the first half, Collin Gillespie, having led ‘Nova to an early 13 point lead, went down in a heap after tangling legs with Creighton’s Damien Jefferson during a rebound. Gillespie let out a yelp and immediately grabbed for his knee. He never returned to the game. Cruelly, Gillespie had been announced as a finalist for the Bob Cousy award - given to the nation’s top point guard - earlier that same week.

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Early the next day, Jay Wright summarized what all of ‘Nova Nation was feeling at the time:

“He is the heart and soul of our program. We know we can’t replace him. We all just want to step up and play so that we honor him. Collin is as mentally tough and resilient as any player we have had here. I know he will get through this and make it a positive for his career.” - Jay Wright

CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer

Ultimately, the diagnosis was that Gillespie had suffered a torn medial collateral ligament in his left knee. He underwent surgery in March and, before his stitches had even healed, Villanova fans got the news they had been waiting for:

Prior to his injury last season, Gillespie was having a career year, averaging 14 points and nearly 5 assists per game. Having now elected to return to the Main Line for a fifth year, Gillespie is facing sky high expectations. He has already been named a pre-season All-American and the pre-season Player of the Year for the Big East. Further, he was named to the Bob Cousy Award watchlist - that’s a lot of pre-season hardware!

NCAA Basketball: Villanova at Seton Hall Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Best Case Scenario: The best case scenario for Collin Gillespie is simple: leading Villanova to a national championship. For a player of Gillespie’s caliber, he has thus far been deprived of the opportunity to pilot his own team through a deep March run. Although he was a part of the 2018 national championship team as a freshman and played in two tournament games his sophomore year, his junior year tournament was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and he was sidelined last March with his knee injury. It is difficult to imagine that Gillespie’s tournament legacy will be limited to that. This cannot be where his story ends.

Obviously, Collin is a known commodity - the question marks concerning the rest of the team will eventually need to be addressed before this team can reach its true potential. However, while you won’t see this charted on KenPom, oftentimes there are players that you cannot imagine leaving Villanova without a signature March campaign. Recently, Ryan Arcidiacono and Jalen Brunson were those players - you just knew something had to be in the cards. I feel that way about Collin - I hope he is given the chance to author his own memorable March story.

Worst Case Scenario: The worst case scenario for Collin Gillespie obviously revolves around his injury. Although he was cleared to resume basketball activities in August and has been able to take part in a full offseason, recovery from any injury can be ongoing process, both mentally and physically. We are familiar with the worst case scenario because it happened last year. Sweet Sixteen appearance aside, this team goes as Gillespie goes and he has earned the opportunity to close his Villanova career with a BANG!

Our Lady of MCL’s - pray for us!