Jalen Brunson Declares for 2018 NBA Draft After Junior Season at Villanova

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistApril 11, 2018

Villanova's Jalen Brunson during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Connecticut, Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018, in Hartford, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Jessica Hill/Associated Press

Villanova guard Jalen Brunson announced Wednesday he'll forego his senior season with the Wildcats to enter the 2018 NBA draft.

The Naismith College Player of the Year confirmed his decision, which includes hiring an agent, with an open letter on ESPN.com to Nova Nation:

"It is with great honor and privilege that I have called Villanova University my home for the past three years. When I decided to commit to coach Jay Wright and the basketball program, I was driven by three goals: getting my education, competing at the highest level and winning a national championship. While I pride myself on remaining disciplined and focused to achieve these goals, I have grown as a man and have established lifelong relationships with my teammates, classmates, members of the basketball staff, fellow student-athletes and the wonderful educators and administrators of this prestigious university."

His announcement comes one day after Wildcats teammate Mikal Bridges told Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN he was also making the NBA jump after his junior season.

Brunson averaged 18.9 points, 4.6 assists and 3.1 rebounds across 40 appearances for Villanova during the 2017-18 campaign. He shot 52.1 percent from the field, including 40.8 percent from three-point range, and connected on 80.2 percent of his free-throw attempts.

The 21-year-old New Jersey native capped his collegiate career by helping Nova win the 2018 NCAA tournament. He was also part of the 2016 national championship squad.

In his latest mock draft, Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman predicted the Philadelphia 76ers would take Brunson with the 24th overall pick.

"Add another national title to Brunson's resume," Wasserman wrote. "He has well-documented flaws related to his athletic limitations, but between his winning track record, skill level and intangibles, the Sixers could decide he's worth gambling on in the 20s, using a second first-round pick."

Along with earning the Naismith Trophy and helping to win the national title, the efficient guard was a consensus first-team All-American and the Big East Player of the Year in his final season with the Wildcats.

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