Brunson Explains 'Nova Pick

Nation's top PG finally opens up on why he selected the Villanova Wildcats and shares some of the details that went into the tough decision he faced.

It seemed like the writing was on the wall in the hours leading up to his decision, but Stevenson senior point guard Jalen Brunson made the official announcement on Wednesday that he will be playing his college basketball at Villanova.

At just after 4:30 PM central time in Lincolnshire, Brunson made it public that he had committed to Villanova.

“At this time I want to announce I will be continuing my career at Villanova University,” he said at the press conference.

The nation’s top point guard discussed his decision to join the Big East program.

He said chose the Wildcats, “..Because Villanova was a great school. The coaching staff were obviously a big part of my decision. The team they are a together group of guys. I feel like I fit in there really well. I think it is the right decision."

He decided after taking back to back official visits to Illinois and Villanova that he didn’t need to take anymore.

“At the beginning of the fall there were the five schools I was considering visiting," Brunson explained. "Once I really sat down with my parents and talked about it there were two schools which I was strongly considering which were Illinois and Villanova.”

Brunson says it went back and forth between the two programs in the days leading up to his decision.

“Some days I knew, some days I didn’t," he admitted. "The past couple days I have been really thinking about it and woke up with that gut feeling this morning that this is where I wanted to be.”

The Stevenson guard spoke to what ultimately broke the tie in his mind.

“I think those two schools are a lot in common with teammates and the coaching staff," he said. "For me I just felt a lot more comfortable at Villanova.”

Many speculated that the presence of Villanova upperclassman point guard Ryan Arcidiacono would play a negative role as Brunson wants the ball in his hands from day one. He says he thinks that they can make it work.

“I believe we can be on the floor at the same time," he said. "It is a similar situation to when I came to Stevenson and they had a guard in Mike Fleming. I just need an opportunity and it is my job to earn it.”

Illinois did a tremendous job over the last year in their pursuit of the Stevenson star to put themselves in the mix in the end. Saying no wasn't easy, but Brunson knew he couldn't say 'yes' to both.

“It is about relationships," he said, "Me and Coach Groce have a healthy relationship right now. He has done a lot to get back to this point. We talked about it and have been through a lot together. Sadly I can only choose one school.”

How difficult was it to tell the coaching staff at Illinois he was headed elsewhere?

“Actually I had my dad talk to the Illinois staff while I was at school today,” he admitted.

Brunson wanted to avoid the controversy at his announcement that came with a previous announcement of another top recruit, which by some, has been referred to as "hat-gate." Instead of grab a hat off of a table, Brunson donned the shirt of his future school.

“I wanted to try to be classy with it," he said of the announcement. "I didn’t want to accidentally pick up the wrong hat.”

Illinois will now shift their full focus at the point to Kimball (TX) star point guard Jawun Evans who checks in at No. 23 overall and is the 3rd ranked player at his position nationally. Evans visited Illinois over the weekend and enjoyed his time in Champaign. For now he intends on continuing the recruiting process which includes an official visit to Oklahoma State which is believed to be Illinois’ toughest competition. The Illini staff will be in to see Evans this week in Texas, presumably Thursday.


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