Class of 2017, four-star prospect, Jermaine Samuels finished up his official visit to Villanova yesterday and spoke with VUSports.com this morning about his visit and his recruitment overall. Samuels tweeted yesterday that his list of potential college destinations is down to Duke, Indiana, Villanova, Georgetown and Kansas. Duke offered him a scholarship yesterday.
VUSports: Overall, how was your official visit to Villanova?
Jermaine Samuels: It was a great experience. It was a lot of fun. We did a lot of different things. The campus is really beautiful. Overall, it was a great experience.
VUSports: What stood out to you the most during the visit?
Jermaine Samuels: The campus is really beautiful and the people. Everyone is so hospitable and everyone cares. There is a brotherhood up there and it feels like a special place. I hung out with the players and those guys are hilarious - they are really cool guys. Genuine guys.
VUSports: What role did the coaching staff describe you filling should you choose to go to Villanova?
Jermaine Samuels: Having an immediate impact. They said that I am the number one guy in their class and that over time I would develop into something while fulfilling my potential. Basically, taking over the role of Josh Hart and more.
VUSports: What do you view as the strengths and weaknesses of your game right now?
Jermaine Samuels: Playing with energy, playing with passion. playing with heart. Getting to the basket. Playing defense - definitely and having the motor. I need to work on staying a little more consistent on my jumper from the outside and definitely my ball-handling.
VUSports: Do you believe that the path to playing time you would have at Villanova is well aligned with what you are looking for in a program?
Jermaine Samuels: Yes. i don't know that I would start as a Freshman but I would work my way up to the role. He said I am definitely going to come in and play some pretty crucial minutes. Maybe come off the bench and work my way into starting but probably off the bench given all their Seniors.
VUSports: What are you looking to major in?
Jermaine Samuels: Maybe Communications or Business but I am definitely going to have to fit some Art in there - find some kind of Art.
VUSports: How would you describe your relationship with Jay Wright?
Jermaine Samuels: We keep in contact a lot and he is always checking in on me. We have phone calls here and there and he texts me also. We have a pretty good relationship.
VUSports: There have been some Villanova great from Massachusetts over the years - Dwayne McClain, Michael Bradley, Mark Plansky … do these players pre-date your knowledge of Villanova basketball or are you familiar with the New England connection to Villanova basketball over the years?
Jermaine Samuels: I know Mark Plansky. Me and his son played together in AAU in 7th grade and he always harped about going there. Coach Wright has known about me since I was in 7th grade because Mark Plansky was always telling him about me. I can see a connection there - there is also someone on the staff that lives in Medway and I'm from Franklin. Those are two bordering towns.
VUSports: You tweeted that you have a Final 5 of Villanova, Indiana, Duke, Kansas and Georgetown. Other than Villanova, which of those schools have you visited so far and which do you plan to visit?
Jermaine Samuels: Villanova is the only one I have visited so far. As far as making visits to the rest of them, that is all still in progress and being talked about - I don't have any visits planned.
VUSports: What factors are most important to you in choosing a school?
Jermaine Samuels: Obviously, the basketball and my best interests in terms of fulfilling my potential. Academics and feeling at home. Feeling that I am part of something great. Stepping on campus and being productive. Education and feeling like I am part of something special.
VUSports: What is your time-line to commit?
Jermaine Samuels: I haven't really thought about that. I am waiting for that gut feeling.
VUSports: Recently you got an offer from Duke. How did it feel getting an offer from Coach K?
Jermaine Samuels: It was a big shock. I knew it was coming but still when a legend like him says "I want you on my basketball team", it makes you feel real good and it makes you feel a little bit hungry also. I was almost awed, he is a legend, he has done a lot in his career, and also Duke is a prestigious program.
VUSports: Have you had conversations with him or his staff in terms of where he would play you position-wise and how you would fit into the roster?
Jermaine Samuels: I have talked with the assistants a lot and they usually check up with me on my overall well being. Coach K was so busy with Rio. He got a chance to call me after he got the medal but he just said that he wanted to offer me a scholarship and that he wished he did it in person but he was so busy. The last time he called me was during the AAU season after Peach Jam and he wanted to say that he wanted to keep recruiting me.
VUSports: How do things stand with you and Indiana. Who is your primary contact there and what are your thoughts on Indiana?
Jermaine Samuels: My primary contact is Coach Martin and Tom Crean gets in the mix also … also a great school and a prestigious program. They have always been on the map as a team to be feared in the NCAA.
VUSports: Best of luck to you with your with your decision and thank you for your time.
Jermaine Samuels: Thank you, I appreciate it.