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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Thursday / November 22.
  • Villanova’s Jalen Brunson, National Player of the Year, selected in second round of 2018 NBA Draft

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    By SEAN BOCK

    Three members of Villanova’s 2018 national championship team were taken in the first round, including two who tested the waters and one who didn’t start (Donte DiVincenzo), but National Player of the Year Jalen Brunson was not among them.

    DiVincenzo, Mikal Bridges, and Omari Spellman were all drafted in the first round of the 2018 NBA Draft while Brunson was drafted No. 33 overall by the Dallas Mavericks.

    “Brunson is mature, and he is a winner,” ESPN’s Jay Bilas said on air. “He’s an excellent point guard and is another guy who’s not going to stand out because of how athletic he is. He’s very efficient, he knows how to play, and he’s just a winner. I’m not sure I’ve come across a more mature player in the course of my years in college basketball and as a good as a leader.”

    “There’s a reason why Villanova won, and they won in large part because of Jalen Brunson,” Bilas added.

    In his junior season, Brunson averaged 18.9 points and 4.6 assists per game and shot 52 percent from the field.

     

    The four former Wildcats that were selected in the draft weren’t highly-touted NBA prospects before the season, but their team play and unselfishness during their successful campaign led to a rise in their draft stock.

    “What [the NBA guys] really liked about them was, they saw how talented they were, and then they looked back at how they played during the season and said,” Villanova head coach Jay Wright said on ESPN Thursday morning. ‘These guys were unselfish, they played defense, they were hungry, and they really wanted to win.”

    Brunson, who is projected by many to be a solid backup option at the point, will join Dennis Smith Jr. and Wesley Matthews in the Mavericks’ backcourt.

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