Jalen Brunson, the best guard in the state of Illinois and top-20 player in the nation, has decided to play for Jay Wright and Villanova.
The 6'1,190-pound guard plays his high school basketball in the north suburbs of Chicago, but what ultimately led him to Villanova could have been the ties he's always had to the Philadelphia area.
His father, Rick Brunson, starred at Temple as a McDonald's All American for four years (1991-95) and went undrafted before bumping around the NBA from 1997-2006. His father's involvement with a sexual assault crime led to one of the more outrageous recruiting processes in recent history.
But that didn't stop Jay Wright, Ashley Howard and company from nabbing a top-20 player to add to a strong 2015 recruiting class with combo-guard Donte DiVincenzo (Salesianum School/Team Final AAU) and big man Tim Delaney (Blair Academy/WE R1 AAU). And finishing on campus would be a more polished Ryan Arcidiacono, Josh Hart, Kris Jenkins, Phil Booth Jr., Dylan Ennis and a bevy of guards for Wright and company.
Brunson is a complete guard who should shine on the offensive end, whether it's game management, pick-and-roll, or shifty change of pace moves.
Breaking Down Brunson
What Brunson will bring to the table immediately will be his ability to break down defenders using his dribble with crafty change of pace moves. He's a smooth point guard who can break down defenders and get his teammates involved before he starts scoring with a lot of dribble-drive penetration.
Brunson has the ability to change pace quickly, which keeps defenders on their toes. He also can weave his way between opponents on the break after a crossover move and can use his elite body control or ambidexterity to finish strongly around the rim.
The five-star guard also has the ability to hit shots consistently from mid-range and the three-point line off the dribble. Brunson gets his feet set well behind the line and can use a nifty 15-foot elbow jumper to freeze defenders in transition or off the pick-and-roll.
He likes to abuse perimeter defenders with step-back jumpers and in-and-out moves combined with a quick release from distance. Jab steps are also used frequently by him on the perimeter.
Adding to his skill set is his ability to dish during the dribble drive and also his vision around the court. While having a man in the air, Brunson can hit the open man in stride whether he's being face-guarded on the perimeter or driving to the cup for a finish.
He can also make flashy, acrobatic passes through a tight window to hit a man in the post. His vision might be the most elite aspect of his game. Put it all together and Brunson looks like the most complete guard in the nation.