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.
Knicks point guard Jalen Brunson, who helped lead Villanova to a pair of NCAA national championships and became just the second Wildcat ever to be named National Player of the Year, will have his No. 1 jersey retired at halftime of the game on Feb. 8, 2023, vs. DePaul at Finneran Pavilion.
The 6-3 guard was named winner of the Oscar Robertson, John R. Wooden and Naismith trophies as the nation’s top player in 2017-18. In addition, he earned the Bob Cousy Award as the nation’s top point guard and BIG EAST Player of the Year honors.
Brunson was a 2018 second team CoSIDA Academic All-American and the BIG EAST Scholar Athlete of the Year. He would go on to receive his degree from Villanova in 2019, following his first season in the National Basketball Association.
“Jalen put together one of the most amazing Villanova Basketball careers ever,” said Wildcats head coach Kyle Neptune. “His remarkable will and work ethic left an indelible mark on our program. He set a standard of excellence, on and off the court, that still impacts us today.
“We can’t wait to celebrate Jalen’s legendary Villanova career with the Nova Nation.”
In three seasons, Brunson scored 1,667 points (14.4 ppg) and delivered 432 assists (3.7 apg). As a freshman, he started in the backcourt for a Wildcats’ team that finished 35-5 and won the 2016 NCAA national championship 77-74 over North Carolina on a Kris Jenkins game-winning 3-pointer. As a sophomore, he was named first team All-BIG EAST as the Wildcats posted a 32-4 record while claiming BIG EAST regular season and Tournament championships. In his final campaign, Villanova went 36-4, winning each of its six NCAA Tournament games on the run to the title by double digits.
A plaque honoring Brunson will take its place in the main lobby of Finneran Pavilion, where the other retired jerseys of Wildcats legends are now located. With the single exception of Paul Arizin’s No. 11, Villanova retires the jersey of its legends but not the number (Arizin is the only other Villanova player to have earned National Player of the Year honors). Freshman Brendan Hausen, who currently wears No. 1 for the ‘Cats, will continue to do so.
Villanova hosts DePaul at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 8 at Finneran Pavilion (FS1 and the Villanova IHeart Radio Network).
(Release via Villanova)
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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.