Villanova will begin college basketball's postseason Thursday as the defending national champion, so it's time once again to remember "The Shot" - the most dramatic of moments in NCAA tournament history - and the guy who let it fly.

Kris Jenkins, as polite a 23-year-old college senior as you'll find, would rather talk about something other than "The Shot."

"What shot?" he said with mock seriousness. "I've made a lot of shots."

Yes, he has, 257 of them from behind the three-point arc, including the buzzer-beater that gave the Wildcats the 2016 national championship with a 77-74 win over North Carolina. It was a life-changing instant for his team and his university. But after the celebrating died down, Jenkins never talked about "The Shot" unless asked.

"When you see someone who probably hit the biggest shot in college basketball history and then not mention it . . . I've never heard him mention it once," teammate Josh Hart said Tuesday after Villanova's final practice at home before heading to New York for the opening game of the Big East Tournament on Thursday at Madison Square Garden.

"I guarantee you in about 20, 30 years, I'm going to hear that every time I see him. But as of now, he's never said it. When you have someone who made that big of a shot on that stage and never mentioned it and just focused on getting better and being coached, it's a reality check for everybody."

The Wildcats (28-3), the Big East regular-season champions, will begin tournament play at noon against St. John's (14-18), a team they swept during the season.

Jenkins admits "The Shot" could have changed him. He was showered with adulation every time he was out on campus or anywhere in the Philadelphia area. Perks came with the spectacular achievement he helped provide, including trips to the White House and to the ESPY Awards.

But the change never happened.

"I have a lot of great people around me," Jenkins said. "My family does a great job of keeping me humble. I feel like I still have a lot to prove, not only to myself but to my family, because everything I do I want to make them proud.

"And to this team, I feel like I'm still growing and still getting better. If the younger guys see that, if they can see where I came from as a freshman to where I can get by the end of this year, then hopefully I can be a great example for somebody."

During last year's postseason, the Wildcats followed a loss to Seton Hall in the Big East tournament final with a spotless 6-0 run through the NCAAs. In the nine games, Jenkins led the Cats in scoring (16.9) and three-point baskets (27) while shooting 55.2 percent from the field and 45.8 percent from three-point land.

As he starts a new postseason with the national spotlight shining brighter than ever, Jenkins has connected on just two of his 16 three-point attempts in his last three games. He said that it hasn't affected his confidence and that his approach would be to "keep shooting, keep being aggressive, taking the shots when they're there and, more importantly, just make the right play for our team."

Hart is confident that he will. He'll never forget "The Shot," not only because his team won the championship but also because of the circus atmosphere that followed Jenkins around in the ensuing months.

"It wasn't possible to grab a bite to eat," Hart said, laughing. "Everybody would say, 'That's Kris Jenkins' and wanted a picture or an autograph or something, and I'm thinking, 'Man, can we just eat in peace?' "

Sometimes Hart wasn't in the selfie fans were taking. And sometimes, he was taking the photo.

"I'd be out there, 'Smile . . . Say cheese,' " he said.

But he would do it again in a heartbeat.

"Without a doubt," he said. "I'll take as many pictures as need be for that to happen again."

It all starts Thursday.

jjuliano@phillynews.com

@joejulesinq