For the second day in a row, the Villanova Wildcats have lost an All-American basketball player to the 2018 NBA Draft. Point guard Jalen Brunson won every award possible this season. He won his second national title with the Wildcats. Now, Brunson hopes to win the lottery as he puts his name into the draft, foregoing his final year of eligibility. Brunson is also on pace to graduate in three years.
Currently, Brunson is slotted as the No. 36 NBA Draft prospect. The only thing holding him back is his lack of elite athleticism. However, Brunson has ever facet in the game of basketball and that should never be underestimated. He can play from the post. Brunson can beat his man off the dribble. He has the midrange game with an assortment of shots, including a pull up jumper. Moreover, Brunson has deep range on his jump shot, whether it’s catch and shoot or off the dribble.
He averaged 14.4 points and 3.7 assists in three seasons with the Wildcats. Brunson started in 115 of 116 games. The only time Brunson came off the bench was the first Big East game of his career against the Xavier Musketeers. Otherwise, Brunson was in the starting lineup and fared very well from day one as a point guard. However, he only had one double digit assist game in his career. Contrary to popular belief, that’s a good thing in Brunson’s case. It shows he can be a dominant point guard without dominating the ball. Meaning, Brunson is just as capable as getting a hockey-assist as part of a team with brilliant ball movement. And that’s the exact type of program he is coming from.
During his junior season, Brunson led the Wildcats with 18.9 points and 4.6 assists per game. He shot over 40 percent from 3-point range and shot 52 percent from the field overall this season. Brunson converted on 51 percent of his shot attempts during his Villanova career.
It remains to be seen if Brunson is taken in the first round. However, there are going to be plenty of teams missing out on a dynamic player because he lacks the evident explosiveness that creates plenty of NBA Draft busts.
For the Wildcats, losing their two All-Americans was never a surprise. Now, the Wildcats have to wait on decisions from Donte DiVincenzo and Omari Spellman. Both players should return for one more season at least. However, DiVincenzo has risen into the first round of mock drafts if enters. Yet, he can get even better with an expanded role with three more starters returning.