Despite being an early entry candidate for the draft after his junior season at Villanova, Brunson still put together one of the most decorated college careers in recent history. As a junior, he helped the Wildcats win their second national championship in a span of three years while garnering National Player of the Year and Consensus First Team All-American accolades in the process. Brunson was also tabbed the Bob Cousy Award winner and the BIG EAST Player of the Year in 2017-18. In 2020, the Sporting News honored him by naming him the College Basketball Player of the Decade.
The New Jersey native moved to Lincolnshire, Illinois, in high school and earned Illinois Mr. Basketball honors as a senior in 2015 after leading Stevenson High School to the IHSA Class 4A state title. Brunson was also named a McDonald’s All-American, Parade All-American and the USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year in 2015 after taking home MVP honors for Team USA at the FIBA Under-19 World Championship. He re-united with USA Basketball when he played for The Select Team in 2019.