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Villanova Basketball 2020-21 Player Preview: Collin Gillespie

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After cementing his role as Villanova’s lead ballhandler, Collin Gillespie will have his sights set on leading the third ranked Wildcats to success in April.

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

Collin Gillespie Career Stats

Season G GS MP FG FGA FG% 2P 2PA 2P% 3P 3PA 3P% FT FTA FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
Season G GS MP FG FGA FG% 2P 2PA 2P% 3P 3PA 3P% FT FTA FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
2017-18 32 1 14.4 1.3 2.9 45.2% 0.4 0.7 63.6% 0.9 2.2 39.4% 0.8 0.9 80.0% 0.1 1.2 1.3 1.1 0.6 0.1 0.4 1.4 4.3
2018-19 35 35 29.4 3.3 8.0 40.9% 1.1 2.4 47.6% 2.1 5.6 37.9% 2.2 2.7 83.9% 0.3 2.0 2.4 2.8 1.1 0.1 1.5 2.7 10.9
2019-20 31 31 34.1 5.0 12.3 40.6% 2.7 6.0 45.7% 2.3 6.3 35.7% 2.9 3.5 81.7% 0.2 3.5 3.7 4.5 1.2 0.1 1.9 2.3 15.1

Collin Gillespie

Hometown: Warminster, Pa.
High School: Archbishop Wood High School
Height: 6-3
Weight: 191

Player Preview

At every inflection point in his Villanova career, Collin Gillespie has proved that he was up to the challenge. It started his freshman year, where he slotted into 14 minutes per game on a National Championship team when many considered him a redshirt candidate as an incoming under-the-radar prospect.

When his minutes and responsibility doubled as a sophomore, he emerged as the team’s third scoring option and a credible ballhandler. Last season, many wondered if Gillespie had the talent and the ability needed to run the show. Gillespie responded to his armchair analysts by leading the 15th best offense in the country while scoring 15 points per game and dishing out an average of 4.5 assists.

Going into his senior year, Gillespie has the opportunity to put a bow on his career in a way few have. Villanova enters whatever this NCAA season will be as the No. 3 team in the country, poised to repeat as Big East Champions and make a run in the NCAA Tournament. If the season actually plays out (fingers crossed), and the postseason tournaments move forward, Gillespie could snag Big East and NCAA titles to start and end his career.

While that kind of full circle success would be legendary, it’s won’t define Gillespie’s legacy. Villanova’s lead guard will depart with numerous honors, and admirers of Gillespie’s game will be content just to see how Gillespie’s game evolves from junior to senior year. Collin will likely be the team’s leading scorer, and if that doesn’t bear out, he’ll still be the main engine of the offense.

In his junior year, the Wildcat point guard proved he could both score and distribute at a high level. On the scoring front, Gillespie saw his field goal percentage level off at just 40.6%, but his usage rate, a measure of how often possessions end with a player shot or turnover, saw a jump from 19.5% to 24.5%. As one of the go-to scorers on last season’s VU squad, Gillespie took significantly harder shots but still hit them with consistency.

According to Hoop-Math, Gillespie’s percent of assisted threes fell from 81.9% as a sophomore to 71.4% as a junior, indicating he was taking more difficult three point shots. Meanwhile Gillespie improved on his shot diversity, taking more shots at the rim and scoring more efficiently.

The preseason All-Big East First Teamer took his biggest steps forward as a playmaker and a distributor in his junior season. In half-court sets, Gillespie was the primary initiator and improved as a drive and kick guard.

He tallied 4.5 assists per game and assisted on 26.4% of all VU field goals. Meanwhile, his turnover percentage dropped to 12.2% (from 13.9%). Gillespie created more points for teammates while turning the ball over less.

Best Case Scenario: There is very real possibility Collin Gillespie is in contention for Big East Player of the Year. If the ‘Cats are as dominant as they appear on paper, and Gillespie is the leading scorer, he may well find himself in pole position. For this to happen, Gillespie must improve his scoring efficiency, which starts with finishing more at the rim and getting to the line. If he ups his free throw attempts and sees a small uptick in shooting percentage, a POY-worthy season is in the cards and lives up to the All-American shoutouts he got in a couple of preseason lists.

Worst Case Scenario: The floor is high for Gillespie, who has two elite skills: Shooting threes and generating good looks. There’s no scenario where Jay Wright loses trust in Gillespie, so the minutes will be there. A worst case scenario would be a disappointing year for the Wildcats, which could come if Gillespie sees further drop-offs in shooting percentage and an uptick in turnovers.

Wisdom of the Crowds

Poll

How many points per game with Collin Gillespie average?

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    10.0 or fewer
    (0 votes)
  • 3%
    10.1-12.5
    (15 votes)
  • 38%
    12.6-15.0
    (169 votes)
  • 57%
    15.0 or more
    (251 votes)
435 votes total Vote Now