NEW YORK - The Shot already is part of history, living in collective memory, resting with the other "greatest" plays in American sports.
The guy who shot it? Kris Jenkins was at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday, sitting by the court at Big East media day, talking in a low voice about putting The Shot in a closet, bringing it back out when this Villanova season is over.
This perspective didn't happen right away. It couldn't have, shouldn't have. Jenkins could Google his own name if he wanted and lose a day. Christian Laettner, previous holder of greatest NCAA shot ever, talking about passing the torch. There's still the video of Michael Jordan nodding in the Houston crowd, the president of the United States referring to Jenkins and adding "AKA Big Smoove" about his nickname. Replays of the shot that won a national title from all angles, Charles Barkley going airborne past the baseline, the Pavilion back home erupting.
I asked Villanova coach Jay Wright about Jenkins' doing the opposite of moving past it, how he can use The Shot.
"I've got to believe, as a matter of fact I think I said it to him in practice," Wright said. "We were in a scrimmage situation in practice. He got mad when he missed a shot. I said, 'Kris, you hit the biggest shot in the history of college basketball. You can't ever get mad when you miss a shot.' "
Jenkins now must have the "elite confidence," Wright said, that comes with making "the biggest shot under the most pressure."
"So I know I'm going to make the next shot," Villanova's coach said. "That's one of the things we talk about. The ring can't be what we take from the national championship game. We've got to take all the experiences that can help us in life. That's one of the experiences. If you make that shot, and if you shoot 1 for 10 in a game, you have to believe that you're making the next shot, because there can't be any more pressure. I want him to take it that way the rest of his life. I want him to live that way, too. Whatever happens to me under pressure, if I keep a positive attitude, I can be successful."
Villanova center Darryl Reynolds made the point that Jenkins will actually turn The Shot into a chip on his shoulder, that if people are saying he can't top it he'll aim to prove them wrong. A neat psychological trick if you can pull it off. "He's going to use that for fuel," Reynolds said.
Jenkins downplays this a little bit, but life has been crazy since he took that little feed from Ryan Arcidiacono inside a football dome in Houston.
At a Villanova alumni event, Reynolds said, "a lady actually threw her baby at Kris."
"Threw her baby," Reynolds said. "Like she actually heaved her child at Kris in order to stop him from moving."
"Yeah, yeah, he has great hands," Reynolds said.
Wright mentioned that the arc of Jenkins' career has continued. He has kept working in the weight room, alone in the gym, continuing to reshape his body. Jenkins was talking about playing better defense, rebounding more, being more of a leader.
"My role has changed every year," Jenkins said.
The only thing that was different, Jenkins said about the summer, was the travel because of the national championship. (You get a banner for winning the Big East, but you don't get invited to the ESPYs.)
"You have people come up to you and talking about the game," Jenkins said. "You take it for what it is and keep moving forward."
Everything is the same, Jenkins kept saying, in terms of what they do. Probably doesn't hurt when an NBA star such as Kyle Lowry shows up for early-morning summer workouts.
"He's a hard worker, man," Jenkins said. "Whenever he's in the gym, he lets it be known that when you work hard and sacrifice, great things can happen for you. He's real adamant about that."
The all-Big East team was announced Tuesday. Big East coaches, making Villanova the unanimous choice to win the league (other than Jay Wright's vote for Xavier), also voted for Josh Hart for preseason player of the year, with Jenkins making the first team. That level of respect goes beyond one shot.
Early in the summer, Jenkins made the same trip he has every year - "spending time with my brother. It was normal."
Except his brother, Nate Britt, played for North Carolina, and a bunch of those other guys in the pickup games Jenkins played in down in Chapel Hill were on that court in Houston, too.
"We have a great time. We work out still," Jenkins said.
About the other guys? Jenkins kind of laughed.
"It was all competitive out on the court," Jenkins said. "Whenever it was over, we'd chill, relax, watch TV, got something to eat. That's it."
Safe to say nobody was asking him to re-create The Shot. ESPN did, though. It had Daniel Ochefu and Arcidiacono and Jenkins out there again in the spring. They ran it 11 times. Jenkins buried it seven times.
He understands it never leaves him.
"I try not to get caught up in all that, being famous," Jenkins said, asked specifically about that since returning household names are increasingly rare in college hoops history and game-winning NCAA final shots belong only to him.
He talked about "there's 13 of us," referring to Villanova's squad and how all the players are ready to embrace the journey of this season.
"The pressure always comes from within," said a guy looking for more shots to take.