This is a part of a regular series on prospective American Family Insurance ALL-USA basketball players. Jalen Brunson, a 6-2, 190-pound senior point guard from Stevenson (Lincolnshire, Ill.), is a two-time All-State player, played for USA Basketball’s FIBA Americas U18 Championship gold medal team this summer, averaging 12.0 points and 5.6 assists, and has signed with Villanova. He is the son of former NBA player Rick Brunson and was a member of the American Family Insurance ALL-USA preseason boys basketball team.
Recruit ranking: Listed as the No. 20 player overall and the No. 2 point guard in the 2015 class by 247Sports.com’s composite rankings.
Style of play: Strong three-point shooter with a solid crossover and is physical enough to handle double-teams. Capable of putting up points in bunches as evidenced by his 56 points in a playoff loss last season against Whitney Young (Chicago). Makes up for a lack of athleticism with a high basketball IQ and the ability to play big in important games.
Learning from his father: “It has helped me a lot because he has a great mind and I get to pick from it every day,” Brunson said. “That’s something I should be thankful of. It gives me more motivation to get better.”
Working on: “Making the right play at the right time,” Brunson said. “I have to play better and have to play within myself. When I know someone is coming at me full-speed, I know I can’t back down from the challenge.”
Handling odd defenses: One team, Libertyville, put a triangle and two defense on him with the two players staying on him even when he didn’t have the ball. “My teammates scored 10 straight points, “Brunson said. “So they came right out of that defense.”
Last season: He averaged 26.1 points and 4.7 assists a game, leading team to the 4A semifinals.
This season: He’s averaging 23.0 points, 5.1 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 2.7 steals a game.
Big games: He put up 48 points in an 88-81 defeat of Chaminade (St. Louis) on Jan. 2. He had 41 points in a 76-69 defeat of Lake Forest on Jan. 15.
Compared to a pro: Has similar games to Derek Fisher and Deron Williams, two rugged but undersized point guards who know how to win.
They said it: “He sees the game at an incredible level,” Stevenson coach Pat Ambrose said. “In certain games, the bigger the game, the better he plays.”