In April 2014 Rick Brunson, the father of five-star 2015 point guard Jalen Brunson, was charged with sexual assault in regards to an incident with his then-massage therapist. The situation came at a time in which the younger Brunson had yet to choose a college, and with Temple being one of the schools in the mix the assumption in some circles was that the two could possibly be a package deal of sorts.
Late last week Rick Brunson was finally afforded the opportunity to tell his side of the story in front of a judge, and he was ultimately acquitted of all charges. With that occurring Rick spoke with the Chicago Tribune about the case, its impact on his son during his senior year of high school and whether or not the two could have gone to Temple together as some speculated.
Rick dismissed that possibility, noting that the job he discussed with Temple head coach Fran Dunphy was a non-coaching position. With that being the case, Jalen (who committed to Villanova last September) wouldn’t have been able to join the program for two seasons per NCAA rules.
“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.”
Brunson played four seasons at Temple before spending eight in the NBA, with the connection to his alma mater being a factor in discussions between he and Dunphy. With this situation being resolved, it’s a weight off the shoulders of both Rick and Jalen, with the younger Brunson preparing for his first season at Villanova.
Stevenson High (Illinois) rising senior Jalen Brunson is a top-15 recruit and is arguably the top point guard in the Class of 2015.
The five-star floor general narrowed down his list of options to eight back in May. On Tuesday night, Joe Henricksen reported Brunson had scheduled three of his five official visits. The 6-foot-1 point guard will remain in-state for his first visit, going to Illinois on Aug. 29-31. Brunson will head to Philadelphia the following two weekends, heading to Villanova on Sept. 4-6 and then Temple from Sept. 11-13. Later in the week, Brunson revealed his final two official visits. Henricksen also reported Brunson will be at Michigan State from Sept. 19-21. That will be followed by a trip to Purdue on Sept. 26-28, according to Reggie Rankin of ESPN.
The third visit is the most intriguing. In June, a report surfaced that Jalen’s father, Rick Brunson a Temple grad who both played and coached in the NBA, would be added to Fran Dunphy’s coaching staff as an assistant. However, Rick Brunson was charged with attempted sexual assault and battery in July after an incident involving a masseuse. Hiring Rick Brunson was likely an attempt to land Jalen. A package deal like that is allowed by the NCAA.
Jalen Brunson is also considering Kansas, Michigan and UConn.
As a junior at Stevenson, Brunson averaged 26.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 2.9 steals per game. He dropped state tournament record 56 points in a playoff game against Jahlil Okafor and Chicago powerhouse Whitney Young. This summer, he was part of a USA Basketball U18 team that won the gold medal at the FIBA Americas Championships in Colorado Springs. Even in a reserve role, Brunson averaged 12.0 points and 5.6 assists per game in the five-game tournament. He also shot the ball well from deep, at a 40 percent clip. In 23 games on the Nike EYBL circuit with Mac Irvin Fire, he averaged 11.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game.
Rick Brunson, a former NBA player and the father of top 15 recruit Jalen Brunson, has been indicted on a number of charges stemming from an incident that occurred with a masseuse at a fitness center in Chicago in April.
Brunson has been charged with attempted criminal sexual assault, criminal sexual abuse, aggravated battery and domestic battery, according to the Chicago Tribune, and has pled not guilty to all the charges.
The victim alleges that Brunson used a fake name — Patrick Ewing — to book a massage in April because months earlier she had informed Brunson that she would no longer massage him. Brunson was arrested earlier this month.
The biggest reason that this incident is newsworthy is that Brunson was reportedly set to be hired by Temple as an assistant coach, with the assumption being that bringing Rick into the program would be enough of an enticement for the Owls to land Jalen as well.