Villanova freshman Jalen Brunson was named 2015 Male Athlete of the Year by USA Basketball on Monday. More in info from USA Basketball below:
In honor of his remarkable, MVP showing at the 2015 FIBA U19 World Championship this past summer, Jalen Brunson (Villanova/Lincolnshire, Ill.) today was named the 2015 USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year.
“It definitely means a lot, but it’s also a credit to everyone that has helped me – my parents especially, my coaches and teammates, coach Miller,” Brunson said. “They helped put me in the right position so that I could be successful. It’s an individual honor, but at the same time it’s a team honor. Everyone helped me, and I can’t thank them enough.”
As the starting point guard for the 2015 USA Basketball Men’s U19 World Championship Team, Brunson averaged 14.0 points (tied for team high), 3.3 rebounds and team highs of 5.6 assists and 2.1 steals in a team-leading 26.4 minutes per game to help the USA to a gold medal and seven-straight wins at the 2015 FIBA U19 World Championship from June 27-July 5 in Crete, Greece.
“Jalen obviously had a tremendous performance at the 2015 FIBA U19 World Championship this past summer, and we are proud to recognize his incredible achievements, ” said Jim Tooley, USA Basketball CEO/Executive Director. “As the team’s point guard he was the leader for the USA, and when the team needed it most, he stepped up as a scorer as well.”
This year marks the 36th time USA Basketball has presented its Male Athlete of the Year award, which was established in 1980 to recognize a USA Basketball athlete who, during the year of the award, made a significant impact on the success of his team’s performance.
“Jalen Brunson was spectacular this summer for our gold-medal winning U19 team,” said USA men’s U19 head coach Sean Miller (University of Arizona). “His performance in our semifinal win over Greece was equally dominant and clutch as we played in front of a passionate, home crowd for our opponent. He became a leader both on and off the court for his teammates, and he is very deserving of this prestigious award.”
Brunson was named the MVP of the 2015 FIBA U19 World Championship after a gold-medal game performance that saw him finish with a team-high seven assists and no turnovers, and he scored all 14 of his points in the second half and overtime in a 79-71 win over Croatia.
For the tournament, Brunson shot 54.2 percent from the field (32-59 FGs), 44.0 percent from 3-point (11-25 3pt FGs) and 85.2 percent from the foul line (23-27). He recorded just 12 turnovers for the entire championship.