Jalen Brunson or Jalen Marquis Brunson is an American pro basketball player for the New York Knicks of the National Basketball Association. He was born on August 31, 1996. He played college basketball at Villanova University. As a junior, he was named National Player of the Year and won two national championships.
Brunson was one of the best point guards in the country when he finished his junior year of high school at Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, Illinois. He was chosen as the 2014 Gatorade Boys Basketball Player of the Year in Illinois. In addition, he was chosen to play in the 2015 McDonald’s All-American Boys Game, the 2015 Jordan Brand Classic, and the Nike Hoop Summit for Team USA. As a senior, he was named the 2015 Illinois Gatorade Player of the Year for the second time and a third time by the Associated Press (2nd first team). In that year, he led Stevenson to the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Class 4A championship. At the end of the season, he was named Mr. Basketball in Illinois. During the 2014–15 school year, Jalen Brunson concluded his period as a senior year.
Brunson holds the records for most points scored in an IHSA playoff game and in an IHSA Class 4A championship game. He also set the USA Basketball record for most assists in a single game at the FIBA Americas Under-18 Championship. In addition, he won the Most Valuable Player award at the 2015 FIBA Under-19 World Cup, where Team USA won the gold medal.
He started college as the 2015–16 Big East Conference Preseason Freshman of the Year, and at the end of the season, he was named to the Big East All-Freshman Team. As a starter, he helped the Wildcats win the 2016 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament championship game. As a sophomore for the 2016–17 Wildcats, he was picked for the first team of the All-Big East by every coach. As a junior, he was the National Player of the Year and a consensus first-team 2018 All-American. He also helped the 2017–18 Wildcats win the championship game of the 2018 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament, giving Villanova its second National Championship in three years. He signed a deal to play for the New York Knicks on July 12, 2022.
Brunson was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and lived in the south of the state until the sixth grade. Rick and Sandra Brunson are his parents. Erica is his sister (born c. 2001). Rick played basketball for the Owls men’s team at Temple University, where Sandra played volleyball. The family lived in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, at first, but they moved seven times before settling in Lincolnshire, Illinois in 2010. Jalen played football for Stevenson High School during his high school years.
On May 5, 2014, USA Basketball announced that Brunson was one of 21 athletes who had been invited to try out for the 12-person USA national team for the FIBA Americas Under-18 Championship from June 20–24, 2014. Brunson was named to the 12-person USA Basketball Men’s U19 World Cup Team for the 2015 FIBA Under-19 World Cup on June 18, 2015. Brunson was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) after leading his team to 5.6 assists, and 2.1 steals over the course of the tournament.