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Villanova Basketball 2021-22 Player Recap: Jermaine Samuels

This was possibly the toughest Villanova team under Jay Wright and even on a team like that, one player’s heart and motor stood out from the rest.

NCAA Basketball: Final Four-Semifinals-Villanova vs Kansas Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Super senior was a term we heard a lot this past college basketball season. With the addition of a COVID year that players could use, we saw many seniors in their fifth or sixth seasons.

Mitch Lightfoot and Jalen Coleman-Lands of Kansas were 24 and 25 when Kansas raised the National Championship trophy. Both are listed on the Kansas roster as super seniors.

Charlie Moore, Brady Manek, and Remy Martin were all super seniors that helped take their squads deep into the NCAA Tournament.

Villanova wouldn’t have advanced all the way to their third Final Four in six NCAA Tournaments without two super seniors of their own.

One of them, we know affectionately as “Maino.”

NCAA Basketball: Final Four-Semifinals-Villanova vs Kansas Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Jermaine Samuels’ Career Stats

2017-18 25 0 6.1 0.3-1.1 25 0.1-0.6 18.8 0.4-0.6 62.5 0.3 0.9 1.2 0.3 0.1 0 0.9 0.5 1.1
2018-19 35 22 22 2.1-4.7 44.8 0.9-2.7 34.7 1.3-2.1 62.2 1.7 3.7 5.4 1 0.8 0.4 1.9 1 6.4
2019-20 30 30 30.3 3.6-7.8 46.4 1.1-3.9 27.6 2.4-3.3 72.7 1.3 4.2 5.5 2 0.7 0.9 2.1 1.3 10.7
2020-21 25 24 29.3 4.0-8.2 48.1 1.0-2.8 37.1 3.1-3.7 82.8 1.8 4.6 6.4 2.5 0.3 0.6 2.3 1.1 12
2021-22 38 37 29.6 3.9-8.3 47.2 0.8-2.8 27.6 2.5-3.2 77 2 4.5 6.5 1.4 0.7 0.8 2.3 1.5 11.1

The Breakdown

Jermaine Samuels did it all for Villanova. He guarded multiple positions, he was the leading rebounder, he was the leading scorer in the NCAA Tournament and their best player then as well.

In a season where his shot didn’t fall as much as he would like, he continued to stay composed and always led. He always found a way to contribute.

Not only did Jermaine Samuels lead Villanova in rebounds at 6.5 a game, but he was also third in scoring at 11.1 points per game, and fourth in minutes per game at 29.6.

I’ve begun the other recaps at the beginning of the season but if you’re talking about this past season for Jermaine Samuels then you have to start in the biggest games. You have to start in the NCAA Tournament and Big East Tournament. Samuels was the leading scorer and leading rebounder for the ‘Cats during the eight biggest games of the season.

Samuels averaged 14 points per game during this final stretch of the season and led Villanova in rebounding at 8.6 per game.

In the Big East semifinal win against UConn, Samuels helped Villanova to a half time advantage by dropping 12 in the first half. He drained three 3-pointers and finished an and one drive by taking advantage of the RJ Cole mismatch.

He showed his experience by moving well without the ball and scored three times at the rim after quick catches in the second half to help seal the win for Villanova.

The most impressive bucket was when he got the best of the best big man in the Big East, Adama Sanogo, in space. Collin Gillespie drove baseline and drew the attention of Sanogo. After Sanogo helped and cut off a finish at the rim for Gillespie he recovered and found Samuels. Samuels then drifted as if he was going to spot up in the corner for a three. Sanogo relaxed and focused on Gillespie for a second. As soon as Sanogo looked Gillespie’s way, Samuels sprinted to the rim where Gillespie found him for an easy two in the paint.

These were the kind of hustle points that Samuels contributed all season. This kind of off ball movement is why Samuels led Villanova with 116 made shots from the paint. No other Wildcat hit 100 with Eric Dixon being the closest at 94.

This was really important for Villanova as they didn’t have a great downhill dribble drive player who could get easy buckets on his own. Villanova had to generate looks at the rim in other ways and Samuels moving off ball to the rim was arguably the most effective method.

Samuels also made life as hard as possible for Sanogo on the other end. Eric Dixon was battling an illness and only played 12 minutes. Samuels was tasked with checking the best big man in the Big East and though Sanogo had 15 points and 13 rebounds, he shot a poor 6/15 from the floor.

Samuels finished with a game high 21 points and a team high 12 rebounds. Villanova would go on to win the Big East Tournament and this huge game from Samuels was vital in doing so.

Samuels really showed off his versatility in the Sweet 16 win against Michigan. Michigan had a noticeable size advantage and used it to their advantage. Villanova had an advantage in speed and Samuels used this advantage against Michigan star Hunter Dickinson by taking him off the dribble and beating him to the rim multiple times.

He again showed his skill level in moving without the ball by scoring on a baseline cut and an offensive rebound. He used his polished two-foot jump stop to score at the rim multiple times. This was a move Samuels used at a high level to score over bigger opponents and worked well against the 7’2” Hunter Dickinson.

Samuels was the best player on the floor against Houston in the Elite Eight and led Villanova with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

Samuels again ruled the paint by finishing four times at the rim in the second and in the most clutch situations. After Houston cut a 10-point Villanova lead down to five, Samuels again used his speed advantage against the opponent's center, beating Josh Carlton to the rim and forcing Fabian White to help. Neither had success against Samuels as they jumped to contest while Samuels planted on another great jump stop. Samuels would finish through White’s foul and finish an and one.

With a little over a minute to play and Villanova only up by four, Samuels took White off the dribble for a layup that put Villanova up by six. The ‘Cats would go on to win by six and advance to the Final Four.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament South Regional-Houston vs Villanova Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

Samuels demonstrated great triple-threat positioning all season long and used his pivot foot as well as any Wildcat. These skill sets were important for Samuels as he was playing below the rim a lot of times due to matching up with a bigger opponent. Samuels proved to be affective as he led Villanova in two point makes with 120 and shot 57% from two.

Villanova needed these buckets from Samuels in a year where the offense had droughts and struggled at times to get good looks.

Looking Ahead

Samuels is currently participating in the G League Elite Camp trying to improve his NBA Draft stock. Samuels may not be drafted but scouts do see his defensive versatility as a plus, that gives him a shot to make a roster somewhere. He’s guarded multiple positions at the Elite Camp and had a great one on one block in a game that led to a transition 3-pointer from Kellan Grady from Kentucky.

Scouts think that the ability of Samuels to play position-less basketball also helps his chances. Samuels will have the chance to show more athleticism playing in faster games and will also not be playing as his team’s biggest player which will help him.

For Villanova, Samuels will be missed. The experience, the production, and the toughness will not be easily replaced. The ‘Cats will look to Brandon Slater, Cam Whitmore, and Trey Patterson to help replace what Samuels brought up front at forward.

Jermaine Samuels concludes his Villanova career with a National Championship, two Final Four’s, three Big East regular season titles, and three Big East Tournament titles.

Nova Nation will always be grateful for a player who we got to see grow up from a freshman who played just six minutes a game to a super senior who was named the South Region’s Most Outstanding Player on a Final Four team in the NCAA Tournament.

Thanks Jermaine and best of luck \\V//.