INDIANAPOLIS — A lack of depth is the biggest concern for top-ranked Villanova, and for the second time in December the Wildcats have taken a blow to an already-short bench.
Freshman forward Jermaine Samuels, who had a breakout performance on Wednesday against DePaul, was diagnosed with a fractured bone in his left hand on Friday and has been ruled out the lineup indefinitely.
Samuels, who played a career-high 16 minutes and scored a career-high 11 points against the Blue Demons, apparently injured himself during the second half of ‘Nova’s 103-85 victory at DePaul.
Samuels was on the court late in the game and during a post-game interview did not appear to be in any discomfort and made no mention of the hand bothering him.
“We’re all disappointed for Jermaine,” stated Villanova coach Jay Wright, who is looking at a seven-man rotation for the game Saturday at Butler. “He has impressed our staff and his teammates with his intelligence, work ethic and skills.
“It’s taken him some time to adapt to our system, but he’s made great progress in the last few weeks, as we saw against DePaul.”
Samuels was just starting to show that he might be able to handle the minutes that freshman classmate Colin Gillespie had given the Wildcats until he broke a bone in his left hand on Dec. 9. He had totaled 29 minutes in the last two games against Hofstra and DePaul.
There is no timetable set for the either of the freshmen to return to full-time basketball activities.
Without Samuels and Gillespie, Wright has limited options for not overloading minutes for his first six players. Freshman forward Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree, who had already seen increased minutes since Gillespie went down, appears to be a candidate for even more playing time.