‘Been Through So Much’: Villanova Wildcats Senior Reflects on the Effects of Enduring a Long Layoff

Published 01/20/2021, 8:00 AM EST
Nov 28, 2020; Uncasville, Connecticut, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies guard Cartier Diarra (2) and guard Tyrece Radford (23) and forward Keve Aluma (22) work for the rebound against Villanova Wildcats guard Justin Moore (5) and forward Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (24) in the second half at Mohegan Sun Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports


The Villanova Wildcats took a forced break from basketball due to the pandemic. However, the team returned to action after nearly 20 days and edged out Seton Hall University in a thrilling encounter which raised their confidence levels.

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Following the comeback victory, senior forward Jermaine Samuels joined NCAA March Madness reporter Andy Katz and expressed his feelings about the game and their return to the season. 

Jermaine Samuels revealed the negative aspect of a long layoff

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Samuels put up 20 points in nearly 67% shooting against Seton Hall, and it was a committed comeback from the forward. Moreover, he was happy with how his teammates competed as well and said: 

“I thought we played hungry. Our mindset was all about just trying to play more basketball and staying concentrated on that.”

Nov 26, 2020; Uncasville, CT, USA; Villanova Wildcats forward Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (24) reacts with his teammates after a play against the Arizona State Sun Devils in the second half at Mohegan Sun. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Villanova’s most recent game before playing Seton Hall was on December 24, 2020. Coronavirus complications put a long pause to their season, and Samuels detailed what could go wrong when a team gets slashed with a long break such as this.

“Our habits. As a team, when you’re off for so long, there are habits and practices that you build every day,” Samuels mentioned. “They kind of wear off little by little, but we paid attention to detail, we adjusted on the fly,” he added. 

How the Villanova Wildcats players adjusted to the break

Things can get tricky if a top college basketball team stays out of action for more than a week. They lose their rhythm and it is obviously a difficult task to regain the lost momentum. But the Wildcats picked up where they left off and extended their unbeaten run to seven games. 

But they had to wait for precisely 27 days in between two games and that kind of let them down. Moreover, the 2020/21 college basketball season is also hindered by the coronavirus. Samuels spoke on behalf of the team about how an extended break affects them:

“It gives us time to watch other types of basketball, and learn what other teams are doing how they’re winning. And also, other teams are on the come up, so it’s all about for us and me personally just paying attention.”

Dec 1, 2020; Uncasville, Connecticut, USA; Villanova Wildcats head coach Jay Wright talks with forward Cole Swider (10) during a break in the action against the Hartford Hawks in the second half at Mohegan Sun Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Samuels then closed out his chat with Andy Katz by answering what he personally missed about the team and the pride of suiting up for the Villanova Wildcats: 

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“Each other, and having the ability to put that ‘V’ on our chest again. We’ve been through so much in this program means a lot to us. It’s all about just going out there and having an opportunity to play basketball,” Samuels expressed. 

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The Villanova Wildcats improved their record to 9-1 after a 76-74 victory against the Seton Hall Pirates. The Big-East leaders take on conference rivals Providence Friars in their next encounter.

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Arjun Athreya

1794 articles

Arjun Athreya is a senior writer at Essentially Sports and has been contributing since early 2020. Having developed an avid interest in sports at an early age, he pursued a Journalism degree and graduated from Madras Christian College. Arjun manages the Golf division and its content, and primarily covers news pertaining to the NBA as well.

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