Now a two-time champion, Jalen Brunson is embracing his basketball success. Brunson and his teammates won the championship on Monday, were in a parade on Thursday, and for Brunson, he got to end it with another honor.
Friday evening, Brunson was named the 2018 Wooden Award Winner; the first from Villanova. This season, he averaged 18.9 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 4.6 assists for the Wildcats.
According to the Wooden Award website, nearly 1,000 members of the national college basketball media vote for the award based on set criteria. Listed below is the complete criteria they base their voting on.
- Candidates must be full-time students in an accredited NCAA college or university.
- Consideration should be given to scholastic achievement and aspirations. All candidates must have a cumulative 2.00 grade point average since enrolling in their current university.
- Candidates must exhibit strength of character, both on and off the court.
- Candidates should be those who contribute to team effort.
- Candidates must excel in both offense and defense.
- Candidates should be considered on their performance over the course of the entire season (pre-conference, conference and tournament play).
This was not the only award Brunson won tonight. He was also earned the Bob Cousy Award for point guard of the year. He joins Jameer Nelson (Saint Joseph’s) and Frank Mason (Kansas) as the only players to win both awards.
Brunson already has earned several honors this season. They include:
- 2018 NCAA champion
- College National Player of the Year
- Consensus first-team All-American
- Bob Cousy Award
- Second-team Academic All-American
- Big East Player of the Year
- First-team All-Big East
That is just from this year! He has previously won a high school state championship and other awards as well as on the national stage, medals with the U19 USA men’s team.
Brunson has stayed humble through all of his early success. Despite years of award and trophies, he has not let that blind him. He uses that as a goal that he must obtain and then tries to go beyond what he sets out to do.
He is graduating in May as a junior from Villanova. He could return to school but he has not made his decision final. NBA is a major possibility whether he goes this year or the next. Early mock drafts have him going near the end of the first round and early second round.