Villanova players, and the coolest people they met as national champs
It has been nearly seven months since Kris Jenkins hit that shot against North Carolina to cap off Villanova's incredible run and capture the NCAA title. The Wildcats, who will open their season on Nov. 11, had a whirlwind summer. They met President Obama at the White House, attended the ESPY Awards in Los Angeles, and were treated like rock stars at almost every turn.
I asked several players Tuesday at the team's media day to name the coolest person they met - besides Obama - since winning the championship. Here's what they said:
Darryl Reynolds: I was about to say Obama. As soon as you said "cool" that's who came to mind. The coolest person I met besides Obama was at the ESPYs. I walked up on Dr. J. He was sitting by himself on the steps, eating popcorn. No one around him, just completely out of the mix. I walked up to him and said I need to shake your hand. Didn't ask for a picture or anything. His class and the way he carried himself - because I was watching him throughout the night, to be honest - is neck and neck with how Obama was. I just introduced himself as a man; he introduced himself and said his full name. We kept it moving. The fact that he was just sitting on the steps off to the side, everyone else was moving around, and he seemed to almost want that privacy, which was nice.
Josh Hart: The ESPYs were dope. You grew up watching those guys and everyone was there in one place. It was crazy. LeBron, Dwayne Wade, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony. Then Jim Brown, Kobe Bryant, Clayton Kershaw. It was just everybody. In terms of who I met, I'm a big, diehard Redskins fan. So I'm a big Josh Norman fan. That one was cool. I always announce my name. I'm sure they don't know who I am. I say, 'I'm Josh Hart, from Villanova.' I'm an ant in their world. Kris Jenkins, he doesn't have to announce himself too much. But me, "I'm Josh Hart, I play for Villanova basketball, Kris Jenkins made the shot, we won the national championship. How you doing?' That's usually how it goes.
Phil Booth: We met Clayton Kershaw, the pitcher from the Dodgers, at the ESPYs. He was a pretty cool dude. He talked to the team and took a picture with some of the guys. He was a real cool guy to talk to. He said congrats to the team on all of our success, and we congratulated him on all of his success. Darryl Reynolds was wearing his jersey the day before - he's a big fan of his. He likes the jersey a lot and brought it to L.A.; he knew what he was getting into going to L.A.
Kris Jenkins: I have to think about that one. Obama was really the only one I was starstruck over. Everyone at the ESPYs. Charles Barkley, Reggie Miller, DeAndre Jordan, all of those guys. That was pretty cool.
Mikal Bridges: Reggie Miller. He was really cool. I told him that I didn't believe his height. I stood next to him.
Eric Paschall: Yeah, Reggie is taller than I thought he was.
Bridges: I told him he was lying. We went back to back and we're like the same height, 6-7.
Jalen Brunson: I literally almost said Obama. It had nothing to do with it, but I met Drake this summer. That was pretty cool. At his concert in Philly, I just said 'How you doing. I'm Jalen. Nice to meet you.' I never really say 'Hi, I'm Jalen, from the national championship team.' I got away from that because we got so much love from the fans of Nova Nation that sometimes it's cool to just be a guy that no one looks at with wide eyes. Just being a normal kid is pretty cool.