For the first time in Villanova history, a Wildcat is the Associated Press men’s basketball player of the year. Junior Jalen Brunson received the award on March 29 from a panel of basketball writers.
The win comes after he was named to the AP All-American team. He led all vote-getters on the All-American team.
Thirty-six of the 65 voters chose the Wildcats point guard for the award. No other player received more than 15 votes. Votes were cast before the start of this year’s NCAA Tournament.
Brunson is the driving force for Villanova this season. His elevated play has the Wildcats in the Final Four for the second time in three years. Villanova faces Kansas in a national semifinal game on Saturday.
A native of Lincolnshire, Illinois, Brunson is averaging 19.3 points per game this season. He also boasts impressive shooting percentages. Currently, he is shooting 52.7 percent overall, 41.4 percent on three-pointers and 81.1 percent at the freethrow line.
Villanova coach Jay Wright says confidence and leadership are big parts of Brunson’s game and success.
Brunson Beats Freshman Trio For AP Award
Brunson is the only non-freshman player to finish in the top four of the voting.
Oklahoma freshman point guard Trae Young finished second with 15 votes. Young led the NCAA in points per game (27.4) and assists (8.7) per game. However, he struggled with turnovers and his team struggled to win games late in the season.
DeAndre Ayton, a freshman center from Arizona, finished third. He got seven votes after averaging 20.1 points and 11.6 rebounds this season.
Duke’s Marvin Bagley III came in fourth with four votes. The freshman big man scored 21 points and also grabbed 11 rebounds per game.
Additionally, Young, Ayton and Bagley III are all heading to the NBA Draft this summer. All are expecting to be top ten picks in the draft. Brunson, however, has yet to announce his plans.