Future Watch: Jalen Brunson Rookie Basketball Cards, Mavericks – Jalen Brunson was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey in 1996. His father, Rick Brunson, played college basketball for Temple University and spent nine seasons in the NBA. The Brunson family relocated from New Jersey to Lincolnshire, Illinois in 2010 where Jalen would play for Stevenson High School.
In his sophomore season, Brunson helped to lead Stevenson to the 2013 IHSA Class 4A championship game while averaging 21.5 points. That year, Stevenson went on a 19-game winning streak that led them to the championship game. After the season, the Associated Press named Jalen Brunson to the Class 4A All-state second team. He was the only sophomore on the first or second teams that year.
Brunson continued to grow as a prep prospect in his junior and senior seasons with Stevenson. On February 21st, 2014, he scored 57 points in a double overtime victory. A month later, he set the IHSA playoff single game scoring record with 56 points in a state playoff semifinal loss. He was named Illinois Gatorade Player of the Year as a junior. That season, he was the only non-senior on the Class 4A All-state first team.
ESPN rated Brunson as the number one point guard recruit heading into his senior season. He would entertain offers from Illinois, Purdue, Kansas, Villanova, UConn, Michigan and Temple. Before the season began, he would commit to play for the University of Villanova.
Brunson followed his junior year with a stellar senior season that saw him earn Illinois Gatorade Player of the Year honors for the second straight year. He would help Stevenson alleviate their championship woes, having lost the previous two seasons, when he scored 30 points in a 57-40 victory over Norman Community High School. Following his senior season, Brunson was named Illinois Mr. Basketball. He was a Parade All-American and named to the third-team USA Today All-USA high school basketball team.
In three seasons at Villanova, Brunson helped the Wildcats win two national championships. Over the course of his college career, his points, rebounds and assists per game all increased each season. In his junior season, he started and played in 40 games while averaging 18.9 points, 3.1 rebounds and 4.6 assists over 31.8 minutes per contest.
That year, he was showered with awards from the college basketball community:
- Consensus first-team All-American by Sporting News, USBWA, Associated Press and NABC
- USBWA Oscar Robertson Trophy
- Associated Press College Basketball Player of the Year
- Naismith College Player of the Year
- John R. Wooden Award
- NABC Player of the Year
- CBS Sports National Player of the Year
- Bob Cousy Award
- Sporting News Player of the Year
Heading into the draft, scouts praised Brunson’s incredible basketball IQ and poise on the court. He was an effective pick-and-roll ballhandler in college and shot 40.8% from behind the arc. His left hand finish at the rim is strong, but he lacks the explosiveness to get that shot consistently in a half court set. Brunson is listed at 6’3” but looks smaller than that on the court. He’s a point guard through and through. In the NBA that’s what he’ll play and that is who he will defend. On draft night, the Dallas Mavericks selected Jalen Brunson in the second round with the 33rd overall pick.
So far this season in Dallas, Brunson has played in 36 games, averaging 16.8 minutes. His best game so far came in a 101-76 win against Orlando on December 10th. He played 32 minutes and scored 17 points on 7-of-9 shots from the floor and added three rebounds, six assists and a steal. With star rookie Luka Doncic running the first team offense, Brunson plays the bulk of his minutes with the second unit. Dallas is looking to trade Dennis Smith Jr., which will give Brunson a higher spot on the point guard depth chart.
The future in Dallas is looking brighter as the team looks to escape the doldrums of the Western Conference. Doncic is clearly the player they want to build around, but Jalen Brunson can take a crucial role on this roster as the back up point guard. A good back up point guard is always a fan favorite. Mavericks collectors should be happy to have him in their collection. Once Dallas returns to the playoffs and gets national love, more collectors will certainly get on board.
Look for Jalen Brunson in his Villanova Wildcats uniform in 2018 Panini Contenders Draft Picks Collegiate. He has a strong presence among Panini’s 2018-19 catalog of NBA products. Look for his rookie cards and autographs in Revolution, Hoops, Prizm, Absolute Memorabilia, Contenders and many more.
Follow him on Twitter @jalenbrunson1.
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