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Villanova Basketball 2020 Player Recap: Jeremiah Robinson-Earl

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Big East Freshman of the Year.

NCAA Basketball: Creighton at Villanova Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Breakdown

The expectations were already high coming in.

A consensus five-star, top-20 recruit and McDonald’s All-American, there was plenty of hype and excitement for Jeremiah Robinson-Earl. As an added bonus, the Villanova Wildcats were able to snatch him out of the Kansas Jayhawks’ backyard.

He was named the preseason Big East Freshman of the Year and proceeded to live up to the billing.

Robinson-Earl was a starter from day one and remained at his post through all 31 games this season. He nearly averaged a double-double, with 10.5 points and 9.4 rebounds per contest. He also had 1.9 assists, 0.5 blocks, and 1.1 steals per game.

It seemed like the race for Big East Freshman of the Year was between him and teammate Justin Moore, dominating weekly freshman honors within the conference. Just like Moore, he was also a five-time Big East Freshman of the Week selection.

By season’s end, the Big East stuck with its preseason pick and awarded Robinson-Earl the conference freshman of the year award.

He became the second Wildcat to receive the accolade in the last three seasons, with Omari Spellman winning it in 2017-18. Coincidentally, Robinson-Earl is second to Spellman when it comes to the most rebounds in a season for a Villanova freshman. Spellman set the program record that season, racking up 321 boards. Robinson-Earl finished with 290 caroms, but with no postseason games, who knows if he would have eclipsed Spellman.

It was clear that Robinson-Earl was a proficient glass cleaner from the get go. He racked up 10 or more rebounds in over half of the games this season. He has a great motor and is able to get good positioning to corral missed shots. The 6-foot-9 forward also has good touch when it comes to finishing around the basket.

Robinson-Earl can also occasionally take-and-make the three and has stretch-big capabilities. This season, he made 45.4 percent of his shots and cashed in on 32.8 percent of his three-point opportunities.

The one glaring drawback to Robinson-Earl’s play is his knack for turning over the ball. He coughed the ball up 2.2 times per game, the most out of any Villanova player on the team.

However, given his success in nearly every other facet of the game and the reality that it is a fixable issue, you can only look forward to what the future will bring for Robinson-Earl. Which leads to the next point...

Looking Ahead

It’s perfect timing that Robinson-Earl’s turn on the player recap schedule is one day after he announced that he will remove himself from the NBA Draft process and return to Villanova for his sophomore season.

“I would have gotten drafted with the feedback, but I feel like I can put myself in a better position,” Robinson-Earl said in a conference call on Tuesday, also noting that the complications caused by coronavirus and its impact on the current state of sports made the decision to come back easier for him.

With Robinson-Earl back next year, from an individual standpoint, it’ll be fun to see how he continues to grow as a player.

There’s no doubt he’ll continue to be a full-time starter, and he’ll likely be in the running for some major individual awards.

At a team-wide level, you should already pencil in the ‘Cats for a deep run in 2020-21, also this should provide plenty of extra fuel for the hype train.

If Robinson-Earl can cut down on turnovers and hit three-pointers at a more consistent rate, on top of overall growth in his game, words like “fun,” “dangerous,” and “threat” might just be a total understatement when it comes to discussing the Wildcat big man next season.