Collin Gillespie has become a sensation over night to the high school basketball world but to Archbishop Wood high school he has been a star. He is a very smart player with quickness and a fierce jump shot from any range. The 6-2 floor general is largely underrated but all he does is perform and is now committed to one of the top programs in the nation.
In a game against powerhouse Neumann Goretti he scored 42 points against 5-star Quade Green and 4-star, and fellow Villanova commit Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree. He is a triple-double threat when he steps on the floor and a tough basketball player.
To think of him, Jermaine Samuels and Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree coming in with Omari Spellman and the returns of Mikal Bridges, Eric Paschall, Phil Booth, Dylan Painter, and Jalen Brunson - it has the look of another top 5 team for Villanova.
Leader Johnson: I'm here with a guy that needs no introduction whats up, Collin? It is a pleasure to hear from you.
Collin Gillespie: Thank you. Great to hear from you!
Leader Johnson: It has been great to not only witness your rise but even after the commitment you have really put on a show. How did your meeting with Jay Wright come out and your recruitment play out?
Collin Gillespie: Coach Ash [Ashley Howard] saw me a couple times and so did Baker [Dunleavy] and then coach Wright came to one of my games and then I was at a game the next weekend and we met there after being in contact for a little while.
Leader Johnson: How good of a school is Archbishop Wood … how has your coach helped your game?
Collin Gillespie: Archbishop Wood is great. Its no joke when it comes to student athletes, they make sure you have your work done or you won't play. My head coach John Mosco and assistant Chris Roantree really helped me get to the level I am today just from spending countless hours in the gym late night and early mornings working on everything from shooting to ball-handling.
Leader Johnson: Where are you from and where did your grow up at?
Collin Gillespie: I originally grew up in Northeast Philadelphia and then moved down the road to Huntingdon Valley before my freshman year.
Leader Johnson: Who is your biggest influence in your life tell me how that influence has helped you?
Collin Gillespie: Probably my brother or my dad they both pushed me when I was younger to get better everyday … and outside playing them out back made me tougher just because they were so much bigger. They both have really helped me grow a lot over the past couple years and my mom and sister have always supported me in everything I've done.
Leader Johnson: You had a 27 point, near triple-double against Our Savior Lutheran and a very impressive 27 point near triple-double against Scranton prep … then a big night, with so many eyes watching you, when you had a 42 point near triple-double against Quade and Dhamir … how did you get in that zone do you have a different juice in big games?
Collin Gillespie: I think it is just a matter of playing with confidence and trusting yourself to do what you do and I put in the work for games like those so it transitions into game situations.
Leader Johnson: Who is your favorite NBA player and who do you model your game after?
Collin Gillespie: I really like watching Kyrie Irving play just because he can do a lot and he's really crafty with the ball.
Leader Johnson: What is your outlook on Jay Wright and Villanova? How is your relationship with Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree?
Collin Gillespie: I'm really excited for the future with Villanova and Coach Wright. I think we have a great team and a great group of guys so I'm looking forward to it. Me and “Dada” have been pretty close for awhile now playing against each other for the past couple years so we talk at least once every two weeks.
Leader Johnson: Have you talked to Jermaine Samuels?
Collin Gillespie: I haven't gotten to talk to Jermaine yet besides when I committed … just because of my season still going on. But, after we finish up I'm definitely gonna find some time to talk to him and start to build a relationship.
Leader Johnson: Jordan Tucker has places his last 3 schools to Villanova, Georgia Tech, and Oregon how would you feel about playing with Jordan Tucker
Collin Gillespie: I've heard a lot of great things about Jordan and think he'd be a great fit to the team.
Leader Johnson: Congratulations on the win and on heading to the championship game. With this complete game of yours, you have a Damon Stoudamire aspect to your game - how do you feel going into this next game you got the eye of the tiger?
Collin Gillespie: Thank you. I’m always confident. We have a good group of guys that are ready to finish out the season.
Leader Johnson: That shot at the half you timed that jump shot and step back nice that was nice what were you thinking with under 10 seconds to go with the ball in your hand?
Collin Gillespie: I was thinking just get the best shot possible and it was a set that we always run and I came off the screen and was open so I took the shot.
Leader Johnson: I was born in West Philadelphia, I have deep roots there a big family my sister stayed near Rising Sun how was it coming up in Northeast Philly?
Collin Gillespie: It was always good. Great competition everywhere you go to play in summer leagues, playgrounds. It definitely made me play with a chip on my shoulder every time I go out and play.
Leader Johnson: You mentioned Kyrie Irving. I see that in your game your not afraid to take that shot or affect the game with your ball handling. With you, Omari Spellman, DCR, Samuels, Bridges, Paschall, Booth, Divincenzo, Brunson, Painter … this is one of the most talented bunches top to bottom what do you see this group possibly being able to accomplish next year maybe another run at the title?
Collin Gillespie: I think we have an awesome group next year. We have a good experience and talented group that will look to make a deep run next year.
Leader Johnson: Its a small ball game. With your all around skills and being able to rebound you will command a lot of attention. How does Jay Wright’s system fit you?
Collin Gillespie: I think it fits me great I rebound well for my size so that's huge. I like to get good shots in transition but if I don't see anything I'll pull it out slow down and get in a set and I think that's similar to what Villanova does
Leader Johnson: In my opinion, you are a 4 star player. Are you looking to send a message with this championship win that you are most definitely one of the top guards in the nation and that you deserve another star from other sports writers?
Collin Gillespie: Honestly, I don't worry about what people think about me or stars. I go out every game and play with the same attitude and a chip on my shoulder like I always have so I know I can compete with anyone.
Leader Johnson: There you have … nice talking to you.
Collin Gillespie: Thank you - [I] appreciate it.
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