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Jalen Brunson

Jalen Brunson Named 2015 USA Basketball Male Athlete Of The Year

  • Date:
    Dec 21, 2015

• VIDEO: 2015 USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year

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.”

USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year Award History
2015 Jalen Brunson 1996 Scottie Pippen
2014 Kyrie Irving 1995 Ray Allen
2013 Aaron Gordon 1994 Shaquille O’Neal
2012 LeBron James 1993 Michael Finley
2011 Jabari Parker 1992 *U.S. Men’s Olympic Team
2010 Kevin Durant 1991 Christian Laettner
2009 James McAdoo 1990 Alonzo Mourning
2008 *U.S. Men’s Olympic Team 1989 Larry Johnson
2007 Jason Kidd 1988 Dan Majerle
2006 Carmelo Anthony 1987 Danny Manning
2005 Shelden Williams 1986 David Robinson
2004 *Sean May & Chris Paul 1985 Chuck Person
2003 Tim Duncan 1984 *Michael Jordan & Sam Perkins
2002 Reggie Miller 1983 Michael Jordan
2001 Chris Duhon 1982 Glenn Rivers
2000 Alonzo Mourning 1981 Kevin Boyle
1999 Gary Payton 1980 Isaiah Thomas
1998 Elton Brand  *Co-recipients
1997 Earl Boykins  

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.

Among all players in the 16-team field, Brunson ranked first in free throw percentage, third in assists, fourth in efficiency, seventh in 3-point percentage, tied for seventh in steals, eighth in field goal percentage and tied for 13th in scoring.

He scored nine or more points in all seven games, and led the team in assists in six of seven games.

In the USA’s 82-76 hard-fought victory over host Greece in the semifinals, Brunson recorded 30 points on 9-of-13 shooting from the field, 2-of-5 shooting from 3-point, and 10-of-12 accuracy from the foul line. He also had four rebounds, four assists and one steal in 31 minutes of action. Brunson’s 30-point performance was the fourth-most points ever scored by a U.S. player in U19 history.

In a quarterfinal win against Italy, Brunson scored 17 points, and he dished out eight assists versus Croatia in the preliminary round.

He also helped the USA to a 2-0 exhibition record with wins over Greece (90-82 on June 23) and Argentina (86-75 on June 24).

As a member of the 2015 USA Junior National Select Team that fell 103-101 to a World Select Team in the 2015 Nike Hoop Summit, Brunson recorded 12 points, seven assists and one turnover in 20:20 of action.

He also participated in the 2014 USA Basketball Junior National Team October minicamp.

As a freshman at Villanova University in 2015-16, Brunson has helped the No. 12 nationally ranked Wildcats to an 8-2 start and is averaging 10.5 ppg. and 3.1 apg. per game (as of Dec. 21).

As a senior in 2014-15 at Adlai E. Stevenson High School (Ill.), Brunson averaged 23.3 ppg., 5.3 apg., 4.7 rpg. and 2.6 spg. to help his team to a 29-3 record and an Illinois 4A state title. He shot 48.0 percent from the field and 83.0 percent from the foul line and scored a record 30 points in the 4A title-game. He capped his prep career as a 2015 McDonald’s All-American who also played in the 2015 Jordan Brand Classic. He was a 2015 Parade Magazine All-American, a USA Today All-USA third-team selection and Mr. Basketball of Illinois and the 2014 and 2015 Gatorade State Player of the Year.

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