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Jalen Brunson to participate in graduation ceremonies nearly a year after being drafted by Dallas Mavericks

Brunson earned his degree in three years, but was unable to participate in graduation ceremonies because of attending the NBA combine.

Villanova coach Jay Wright  pulled former Villanova basketball player Jalen Brunson onto the court for a college cheer after the Georgetown vs. Villanova University NCAA mens basketball game at Wells Fargo Center in Phila., Pa.on February 3, 2019.
Villanova coach Jay Wright pulled former Villanova basketball player Jalen Brunson onto the court for a college cheer after the Georgetown vs. Villanova University NCAA mens basketball game at Wells Fargo Center in Phila., Pa.on February 3, 2019.Read moreELIZABETH ROBERTSON / Staff Photographer

Jalen Brunson spent three years at Villanova, long enough to win two national basketball championships, several individual honors and more important, his college degree.

On Friday he experienced one of his greatest memories at the school — walking with his class during graduation.

Brunson actually earned his degree in communications last year, but wasn’t able to participate in graduation ceremonies because was attending the NBA combine.

“It is something I always wanted to do since I stepped foot at Villanova and it means a lot to myself and my family to get my degree,” Brunson said Friday evening in a phone interview. “It is something I am proud of.”

The fact that he earned his degree in three years took a lot of hard work.

“In the summer time, I overloaded with classes and it wasn’t easy, but I was determined to get it done,” Brunson said.

After helping Villanova win the 2018 NCAA title, Brunson elected to bypass his senior year and he was selected in the second round of the NBA draft by the Mavericks.

Brunson was the third player selected in the second round, the 33rd overall choice. He enjoyed a solid rookie season, appearing in 73 games, averaging 9.3 points and 3.2 assists in 21.8 minutes per game. Brunson was the NBA’s 12th highest rookie scorer.

“It was a great experience,” he said of his rookie season. “I was patient and once I got the opportunity, I was able to make the most of it and our coaches put me in a position to succeed and I had great teammates who trusted me.”

He said Friday’s ceremony meant so much to him because it was a tribute to his parents Sandra, and Rick.

“It was special because both my parents have their degrees and I am honored, and this was a blessing,” said Brunson, who was the John Wooden Award winner in 2018 as college basketball’s top player. “I can’t thank them enough for all they did.”

Brunson who will walk in another graduation ceremony on Saturday morning at Villanova with the college of liberal arts and sciences, said he has noting but great memories from his college experience.

“I have made so many great relationships at Villanova on and off the court,” he said. “It was truly a family atmosphere and I feel so fortunate that I attended Villanova.”

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