Every year, the NCAA hands out positional awards for all five major positions on a men’s basketball roster. They are selected based on on-the-court skill level and off-the-court character traits. This year, four Wildcats are being recognized for these exact things by being placed on the Preseason Watchlists for their respective positions.
Collin Gillespie – Bob Cousy Award
Senior point guard Gillespie has been selected amongst the country’s best for the Bob Cousy award. The award recognizes both an elite level of skill as a shooter and distributor of the ball, but also the ability to be a consistent floor general who can control the offense and be the spiritual backbone of the team. Despite having never led the team in scoring since becoming a Wildcat, Gillespie has always been regarded as a leader of the team, and it’s why he’s being nominated. Other notable members of the watchlist are Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs, Kansas’ Marcus Garrett, Oklahoma State’s Cade Cunningham and Wisconsin’s D’Mitrik Trice.
Justin Moore – Jerry West Award
We knew that Moore was going to be good as a freshman, but he’s a bit more than that. Moore slowly began to get more consistent starting spots as the year progressed, demonstrating consistent levels of play and tenacity over time. There is a certain mold that we know as the “Villanova Guard” — ferocious, sticks to the basics, holds the team accountable, clutch and mature. Fans have seen these traits demonstrated by guards of the past, such as Josh Hart, Dante DiVincenzo and Jalen Brunson.
Moore fits this mold perfectly, and will carry that aesthetic with him for his remaining years with the program. Those Villanova characteristics reflect the Jerry West Award. Other notable members of the watchlist are Kentucky’s Terrance Clark, Baylor’s Macio Teague, Duke’s D.J. Steward and Florida’s Scottie Lewis.
Jermaine Samuels – Julius Erving Award
Samuels has always been a foundational piece to the Wildcat program since the moment he laced up for the first time. The Julius Erving award recognizes impactful wing players who demonstrate good character while being able to showcase their explosive athleticism and elite abilities in the paint on the court. Samuels embodies this and will continue to do so in his senior year. Other notable members of the watchlist are Duke’s Wendell Moore, Memphis’ D.J. Jefferies, Michigan’s Isaiah Livers and Michigan State’s Aaron Henry.
Jeremiah Robinson-Earl – Karl Malone Award
Jeremiah Robinson-Earl was one of the most highly respected freshmen in the country entering Villanova, as the five star recruit had offers from some of the best programs in the country, narrowing it down to Jay Wright’s team. From the very beginning, he brought a presence to his game that fans see few and far between in college basketball. Because his emergence came to Villanova fans so quickly, many writers and fans wonder about how high his ceiling can be. His stats and attitude show it to be very high, which is why he is one of the key figures on the watchlist. Other notable members of the watchlist are Kentucky’s Isaiah Jackson, LSU’s Trendon Watford, UNC’s Garrison Brooks and Duke’s Matthew Hurt.