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2016 Villanova Basketball Preview: Jalen Brunson

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The Sophomore Point Guard is ready to make the Wildcats his team

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Hometown: Lincolnshire, Illinois


High School: Adlai Stevenson (Lincolnshire, Illinois)


Height: 6’2


Weight: 190


Career Stats (2015-2016 Season) :

SEASON

MIN

FGM-FGA

FG%

3PM-3PA

3P%

FTM-FTA

FT%

REB

AST

BLK

STL

PF

TO

PTS

2015-16

24.0

3.2-7.0

45.2%

1.2-3.2

38.3%

2.1-2.7

77.4%

1.8

2.5

0.0

0.7

1.8

1.8

9.6

Player Preview

Coming out of high school as a 5 star prospect and arguably the top PG in the 2015 class, Brunson had a high school state championship and a Gold medal for Team USA to his name before even setting foot on Villanova's campus. And did you know his dad played in the NBA? No one ever mentions that.

While the season started relatively unremarkedly for the freshman starter, any doubt about Brunson's capabilities was eliminated when he torched Temple last February for 25 points. Fueled by a hostile crowd, the true freshman went 9-11 from the field and 4-5 from deep spoiling the Owl's bid to strip Villanova of their #1 ranking. During Villanova's NCAA run, Brunson was quietly efficient, averaging 7.6 points on 47% from the field, but with an impressive 50% clip from three.

His freshman year saw him split ball-handling duties primarily with senior Ryan Arcidiacono. This year, with Arch gone, Brunson will be the primary ball handler with Phil Booth. Brunson averaged 2.5 assists a game last year, a number that figures to rise with the loss of Arcidiacono. Brunson is an excellent facilitator with great vision on the floor and the ability to find the open man in traffic. On his own, he can create shots for himself, penetrate the defense, and open up space for others.

Despite his success, most fans would agree that we have yet to see what Jalen Brunson can do. With Arch leaving, Villanova is finally Jalen Brunson's team to direct. While Brunson was solid last year, fans are anxious to see whether Brunson can become a bonafide star for the Wildcats, as his pedigree coming into college suggested.

Best Case Scenario: Things are good when your 5-star point guard doesn't have to play like a 5-star point guard for you to win a national championship. That being said, the training wheels come off this year and Brunson is the runaway Cousy award winner while helping Villanova capture the repeat...the V-peat... ©

Worst Case Scenario: I think the worst case scenario for Brunson lies in his defensive game. We've seen him facilitate and we've seen him be a solid offensive contributor. However, there were some bumps in the road defensively as he was slow to catch on to Villanova's defensive schemes. With Ochefu gone and Omari sidelined, Villanova's defense is already facing a shake-up wherein Brunson, and everyone else, will be expected to constantly provide help defense when in a small lineup. A worst case scenario for Brunson, and for the team in general, is if that proves difficult.

The Wisdom of Crowds Returns

We are pleased to bring back our Wisdom of Crowds experiment for the 2016-2017 season. In this series, we ask that you consider the points covered in our player preview to supplement your own personal insights and instincts to predict the points per game each scholarship player on the roster we score in the upcoming season.