Villanova took home its second national championship in three years on Monday night. Late in the game, Doug Gottlieb shared an anecdote about national player of the year Jalen Brunson, which some former 'Nova stars didn't appreciate.
Brunson had one of this worst games of the season, scoring just nine points on 4-of-13 shooting on Monday. That fact may actually make 'Nova's blowout win over Michigan even more impressive.
For the year, the junior point guard averaged 18.9 points and 4.6 assists per game. He shot an impressive .521/.408/.802 for the year, and has now been a crucial piece of two Wildcats national championship teams.
With the game winding down, Gottlieb pointed out an that Brunson very nearly played for another Philadelphia-area program: Temple. The reason that he did not is not a particularly happy chapter for the Brunson family.
For background, Jalen Brunson's father Rick Brunson was an NBA player from 1995-2007. The former Temple star was set to take a job with the Owls, and like bring his five-star son with him.
In 2014, he was indicted on charges sexual assault and other related crimes after being accused by a local massage therapist. He pleaded not guilty, and was later acquitted.
The ordeal cost him the chance to coach at Temple, however. As a result, Brunson wound up at Villanova. Gottlieb tweeted about it during the game, insinuating that without the arrest, Villanova may not be on the run that it is.
Doug Gottlieb may be right about how things worked out for Jalen Brunson and Villanova, but former Wilcat stars Kris Jenkins and Josh Hart were among those that pointed out how bizarre it was to bring this story up during the game.
And, of course, there is no certainty that Jalen Brunson was so dead-set on Temple before his father's arrest. Rick Brunson said as much after his acquittal. From a 2015 Chicago Tribunepiece:
"My son always wanted to go to Villanova," Brunson said. "Nobody understands this. He never, ever wanted to go to Temple with me. I've never coached him at any level. Would I have wanted him to play for me at Temple? Of course. Would it have been right as a family? You're damn right. But would it have been wrong for him? Yes.
"I have a lot of love and respect for Fran Dunphy because he understood that I couldn't force my son to go to Temple. It was a long shot for him to go there. Jalen wanted to have a chance to play in a Final Four. Of all the schools that recruited him, he felt Villanova has the best shot of playing in a Final Four this coming season."
I'm really not sure that Doug Gottlieb actually meant to offend the Brunsons here, during one of the brightest moments of Jalen Brunson's basketball career. However, he had to know how his tweet would come off, and how inappropriate the timing looked when it came through.