Jalen Brunson leaned on the press table at the Pavilion surrounded Wednesday by more than a dozen reporters and camera people, with more waiting behind the scrum, quite possibly a record amount of press for a freshman at Villanova's preseason media day.

Senior Daniel Ochefu watched the proceedings with amusement.

"He's like the second coming of Scottie Reynolds," Ochefu said with a grin.

Almost everyone wanted to get the comments of Brunson, a 6-foot-21/2 guard whose resumé includes McDonald's All-American, most valuable player of the FIBA Under-19 world championships and Big East preseason freshman of the year.

The attention was something else. Villanova coach Jay Wright said it reminded him of the freshman year of Ryan Arcidiacono, now a senior. Not that Arcidiacono had the same size crowd, but he gave answers that might have been offered by someone older and with more experience.

"Awesome," Wright said, describing how Brunson was handling the day. "He's an old soul. He coaches things like a wily veteran. Remember when Arch was like that? Jalen's really grounded and we're lucky. We're just lucky."

For his part, Brunson, the son of former Temple star and NBA player Rick Brunson, spoke like a young, respectful freshman.

"I know I'm a freshman and have a ways to go," he said, "but I think if I lead by example and earn the respect, that everyone knows I'm here to work hard, I'll eventually get the respect from the upperclassmen, show them that I want to be a leader and want to do everything I can to win."

Arcidiacono, who has been going up against Brunson nearly every day in practice, used the words "great" and "awesome" to describe how the rookie was handling everything.

"Every single time he comes into practice, he's always wanting to learn from myself, his teammates, the walk-ons and the coaches," he said. "He's been coming in with open eyes and open ears. He doesn't think about the hype, or he doesn't let it get to his head. He just comes in and practices every day."

Ochefu, the Wildcats' only other scholarship senior, called the newcomer "just one of the guys."

"Obviously for a young guy, you see him get all that attention and it could definitely be distracting," he said. "But Jalen, he came in, he had a senior mentality. I'm pretty sure none of this fazes him, he's dealt with this his whole life."

Ochefu also said Wright "has done a great job of making sure that, at the end of the day, on this court, we're all the same."

Wright said he hasn't seen any of his players negatively affected by the attention Brunson is receiving from either media or the NBA scouts who have been attending practice.

"We try to keep our roster in a way that everybody can see their path," he said. "I think that's good with this team. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Everybody on this team sees their role, sees their path.

"So far."

jjuliano@phillynews.com

@joejulesinq