Former Stevenson point guard Jalen Brunson has been named the 2015 USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year.
Also named Mr. Basketball of Illinois and the CSN Preps Player of the Year for the 2014-2015 high school season, the 6-foot-2 Brunson led the USA Basketball U19 team to a gold medal at the FIBA World Championships in Greece this past summer.
Now a freshman at Villanova, Brunson averaged 14.0 points, 5.6 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game during the U19 World Championships as he was named MVP of the event. Brunson joins former local stars like Isiah Thomas, Glenn "Doc" Rivers, Michael Finley and Jabari Parker as winners of the USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year award. The USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year award is given annually to a player (or team) within USA Basketball and is not exclusive to any particular age group. Other notable winners include Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, LeBron James and Kevin Durant.
“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 [Sean] Miller,” Brunson said in the release. “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 a senior at Stevenson, Brunson led the Patriots to the Class 4A state championship as he averaged 23.3 points, 5.3 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 2.6 steals per game. The son of former NBA veteran Rick Brunson, Jalen led Stevenson to Peoria his final three seasons of high school as he was named a McDonald's All-American during the spring.
So far at Villanova during his freshman season, Brunson is averaging 10.5 points and 3.1 assists per game for the 8-2 Wildcats.