Villanova's point guard of the future grew up rooting against the Wildcats
Unlike those prospects who play for their childhood favorite college program, Jalen Brunson ensured he will do just the opposite when he committed to Villanova on Wednesday afternoon.
"It was my parents' rival school," the son of former Temple star Rick Brunson told reporters. "I didn't like them growing up."
Villanova fans are surely elated the younger Brunson had a change of heart because his commitment is a huge boost for the Wildcats. The 6-foot-1 senior at Stevenson High in Lincolnshire, Ill., is Rivals.com's No. 15 prospect in the Class of 2015 and one of the nation's most coveted point guard prospects.
Dozens of schools offered Brunson a scholarship, but he narrowed his list to two on Monday, eliminating Michigan State, Temple and Purdue and promising to decide between Villanova and Illinois. Brunson chose the Wildcats over the Illini on Wednesday even though Illinois has a starting spot at point guard available for the 2015-16 season and Villanova should still have incumbent starter Ryan Arcidiacono as a senior.
Asked if he envisions coming off the bench behind Arcidiacono or playing alongside him as a freshman, Brunson told reporters "I think we can be on the floor at the same time."
Considering Villanova's history of playing three and four guards under Jay Wright, it's probably a safe bet that Brunson and Arcidiacono will be on the floor together plenty. Arcidiacono can play off ball effectively, while the left-handed Brunson thrives with the ball in his hands. He handles the ball well, makes good decisions in transition and keeps defenders honest with his 3-point shooting ability.
There was a time that it appeared Villanova had little chance of landing Brunson.
Temple was thought to be a favorite to land because of their plan to hire his father as an assistant coach, but Rick Brunson's arrest scuttled that plan. Many believed Michigan State inherited the role of favorite from Temple after that saga, but Brunson instead will go down as another Chicago-area product who spurned Tom Izzo.
Their loss is Villanova's gain. The son of a Temple star who grew up rooting against the Wildcats could be their next star point guard.
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Jeff Eisenberg is the editor of The Dagger on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter!