Anders Said It: Brunson’s Villanova Legacy


Courtesy of Villanova Athletics

Brunson’s jersey was retired at the game against DePaul

Anders Pryor, Staff Writer

This past Wednesday, Villanova University retired the jersey of Jalen Brunson, one of the Institution’s most prized alumni. With his No.1 jersey now immortalized, it’s natural for students, alumni and former teammates to reflect back on all of the memories Brunson created during his time as a Wildcat.

As you walk through the Finneran Pavilion, you can see all of the retired greats that have suited up for Villanova and learn about all they have accomplished. But none of the resumes stand out quite like that of Brunson’s, who has now solidified himself as the greatest Villanova basketball player. 

Big East All Freshman Team, two time All Big East Conference First Team and Big East Player of the Year in 2018, as well as playing a pivotal part in both the 2016 and 2018 National Championship teams, are enough accolades to elevate Brunson into the conversation for the greatest ever. 

But the individual awards are beyond Villanova. 

The Bob Cousy Award for the best point guard in the nation and being consensus first-team All American make him supersede the fabric of the program and make him one of the best Big East players of all time.

And yet the resume, despite its worthiness of awe, is only the start. 

Villanova’s “attitude” mentality is the lynchpin of what makes its players so successful. Overcoming adversity, playing for each other, committing to the system and taking pride in the jersey you wear. Nobody embodied that like Brunson. 

Even though he was a McDonald’s All-American, he never let that get to his head. Brunson put up the numbers as a freshman, but took more pride in the success of the team than his own. 

He showed his passion, but never let it get out of control. His relationship with coach Jay Wright was built on trust, not success. And, despite all the hardware they brought to campus, it’s Brunson’s and Wright’s bond that stands out the most, as the entire Finn saw after Wednesday night’s ceremony. 

So, what about the other greats? Kyle Lowry has had great success in the NBA and has represented the University well at the professional level. Yet, most of his success did not come in a Villanova jersey, with his only major accolade being an appearance on the Big East Second Team. 

And what about Ryan Arcidiacono, who many view as the primary ambassador for Villanova athletics, and the University all together? 

Pound for pound, Brunson’s resume still has the edge, not to mention that Brunson has had more NBA success than Arcidiacono. 

This year Brunson will be making his first All-Star appearance as an alternate with the New York Knicks, providing more name-attraction from the University to NBA fans than any other alumnus.

Brunson is the greatest Villanova basketball player we’ve seen yet. That title may be taken from someone we least expect. But it stands for now, and should for a long time.