Villanova's Jalen Brunson to enter NBA draft

Jalen Brunson, the 2017-18 consensus NCAA player of the year and a key element of the Wildcats’ two most recent national championship teams, has declared for the upcoming NBA draft. Brunson, a junior, averaged 18.9 points, 4.6 assists and 3.1 rebounds, and his flexibility in both the backcourt and the post provided Villanova with a multi-pronged threat during his time as a Wildcat.

Brunson thanked Villanova in a letter first posted on ESPN.com. The full text of the letter follows:

Dear Nova Nation,

It is with great honor and privilege that I have called Villanova University my home for the past three years. When I decided to commit to Coach Jay Wright and the basketball program, I was driven by three goals: getting my education, competing at the highest level and winning a national championship. While I pride myself on remaining disciplined and focused to achieve these goals, I have grown as a man and have established lifelong relationships with my teammates, classmates, members of the basketball staff, fellow student-athletes and the wonderful educators and administrators of this prestigious university.

After careful consideration and prayer, I have decided to enter the 2018 NBA draft and hire an agent. I want to thank my parents, family members including extended family, and close friends for their continued love and support through this process. I would also like to thank all the coaches that I have had throughout my career for everything they have done for me and my family. Lastly, I want to thank my teammates for welcoming me to a family that I am forever grateful for being able to join.

Once a Wildcat, always a Wildcat!

Love,

Jalen Brunson

Brunson has won both individual and team honors at every level of basketball, including championships in high school to college to international competition. On the individual front, he’s won the Big East Player of the Year and the Wooden and Naismith National Player of the Year awards.

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Draft projections peg Brunson as a late first-round pick, which gives him the opportunity to join an established team rather than carry a hobbled one right out of the gate.

Related: See photos from Villanova's big win: 

21 PHOTOS
NCAA championship: No. 1 Villanova vs. No. 3 Michigan
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NCAA championship: No. 1 Villanova vs. No. 3 Michigan
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Donte DiVincenzo #10 of the Villanova Wildcats attempts a free throw against the Michigan Wolverines in the second half during the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Mikal Bridges #25 reacts with Eric Paschall #4 of the Villanova Wildcats during the second half of the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game against the Michigan Wolverines at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Omari Spellman #14 of the Villanova Wildcats and Moritz Wagner #13 of the Michigan Wolverines compete for a rebound in the second half during the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Collin Gillespie #2 and Jalen Brunson #1 of the Villanova Wildcats react in the second half against the Michigan Wolverines during the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: The Villanova Wildcats bench reacts in the second half against the Michigan Wolverines during the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Chris Covatta/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Omari Spellman #14 of the Villanova Wildcats reacts with his teammates during the second half of the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game against the Michigan Wolverines at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Eric Paschall #4 and Jalen Brunson #1 of the Villanova Wildcats celebrate in the second half against the Michigan Wolverines during the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman #12 of the Michigan Wolverines shoots a free thros against the Villanova Wildcats during the second half of the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Brett Wilhelm/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Jalen Brunson #1 and Omari Spellman #14 of the Villanova Wildcats battles for the ball with Moritz Wagner #13 of the Michigan Wolverines in the first half in the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. The Villanova Wildcats defeated the Michigan Wolverines 79-62. (Photo by Matt Marriott/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Charles Matthews #1 of the Michigan Wolverines reacts during the second half of the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Brett Wilhelm/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Donte DiVincenzo #10 of the Villanova Wildcats celebrates with teammates after defeating the Michigan Wolverines during the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. Villanova defeated Michigan 79-62. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: The Villanova Wildcats celebrate after defeating the Michigan Wolverines during the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. Villanova defeated Michigan 79-62. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Donte DiVincenzo #10 of the Villanova Wildcats celebrates with teammates after defeating the Michigan Wolverines during the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. Villanova defeated Michigan 79-62. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Charles Matthews #1 of the Michigan Wolverines reacts on the bench late in the second half against the Villanova Wildcats during the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Donte DiVincenzo #10 of the Villanova Wildcats attempts a shot against Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman #12 of the Michigan Wolverines during the first half in the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. The Villanova Wildcats defeated the Michigan Wolverines 79-62. (Photo by Brett Wilhelm/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Head coach John Beilein and Duncan Robinson #22 of the Michigan Wolverines hug after the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game against the Villanova Wildcats at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Chris Steppig/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: The Villanova Wildcats celebrate after defeating the Michigan Wolverines during the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. Villanova defeated Michigan 79-62. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: The Villanova Wildcats celebrate on stage after the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game against the Michigan Wolverines at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Jalen Brunson #1 of the Villanova Wildcats celebrates with the trophyafter the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game against the Michigan Wolverines at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Brett Wilhelm/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Donte DiVincenzo #10 of the Villanova Wildcats celebrates after the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game against the Michigan Wolverines at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Donte DiVincenzo #10 and Jalen Brunson #1 of the Villanova Wildcats celebrate after defeating the Michigan Wolverines during the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. Villanova defeated Michigan 79-62. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
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Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at jay.busbee@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.

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