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Villanova’s Gillespie headed to Denver; Samuels to Indiana

Gillespie signed a deal with the Nuggets, and Samuels is going to the Pacers.

NCAA Basketball: Big East Conference Tournament-Creighton vs Villanova Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

They might not have heard their names called on draft night, but it didn’t take long for Collin Gillespie and Jermaine Samuels to get a deal done.

The two seniors were able to ink deals for the next phase of their basketball careers.

Gillespie signed a two-way contract with the Denver Nuggets shortly after the NBA Draft ended, and Samuels got a deal with the Indiana Pacers.

They move onto the next chapter after enjoying solid five-year careers at Villanova, bookended by a 2018 national championship and a run to the 2022 Final Four.

Gillespie amassed 1,858 career points, with 449 rebounds and 482 assists. He led the ‘Cats in his final season, averaging a career-best 15.6 points per game on 43.4% shooting and a 41.5% clip from long range. He was named the Bob Cousy Award winner, an accolade given to the nation’s top point guard.

He was also the Wildcats’ first-ever two-time Big East Player of the Year and the conference’s first player to win both Big East Player of the Year and Scholar Athlete of the Year in the same season. He was also named an All-American, selected as the Philadelphia Big 5 Player of the Year and Big East Tournament Most Outstanding Player.

Samuels is one of 11 Wildcats to compile over 1,200 career points and 750 career rebounds. Samuels averaged 11.1 points and 6.5 rebounds this past season and elevated his play in the postseason, where he was named the NCAA Tournament South Regional’s Most Outstanding Player as Villanova reached the Final Four.

Last season, the Nuggets finished 48-34 in the regular season and were bounced out of the first-round in the NBA playoffs after losing to eventual champion Golden State in five games.

As for the Pacers, they dropped to 25-57 after going 34-38 in 2021 and did not qualify for the postseason for the second straight time.