Jalen Brunson wasn't the first freshman to start for the Villanova Wildcats during Jay Wright, but it is still a somewhat rare occurrence. He offered the team another skilled ball-handler to complement Ryan Arcidiacono on the court and helped make the Wildcats one of the scarier backcourts in the country.
Next season, we can expect him to try and fill Ryan Arcidiacono's shoes as the team's leader and primary ball-handler (if that's even a thing). Now on to the #analysis.
What we expected
Before the season kicked off, we thought that Brunson had a chance to become a true star for the Wildcats, scoring and facilitating for teammates. With the potential to be the best new player in the conference, we were ready for him to break out.
Vote from Wisdom of Crowds
We held a vote to predict how many points Brunson would total this season. The predictions were pretty high.
Brunson played in all 40 games this season, and VU Hoops predicted that he would would score around 10.7 points this season. A plurality of readers thought he would score between 10.0 and 11.9 ppg, while a 29% predicted greater than 12 ppg and 24% predicted between 8 and 9.9 points.
Looks like the Crowd's wisdom was a little off this time. While Brunson's 9.9 ppg was pretty good for a freshman, it fell short of the predictions that 65% of VU Hoops readers had for him in pre-season. 24% of readers were right about Brunson's scoring this season.
Against his father's alma mater, Temple, Brunson had a great night in mid-February. He scored a season-high 25 points in the victory on 81.8% shooting, including 4-of-5 from deep. He also had 1 rebound, 2 assists, and one 1 steal against the Owls.
Against Seton Hall in the Big East Tournament title game, Brunson played just 9 minutes, scoring no points on 0-for-1 shooting.
Brunson put together strong season for a freshman point guard, though maybe not one most would expect from a 5-star recruit. With Arch gone this is now his team, and you couldn't ask for much more of a replacement. Brunson's a winner, plain and simple, and should keep the Wildcats' humming right along next season.