After briefly taking part in the NBA Draft evaluation process, Villanova forward Kris Jenkins announced Monday night that he’s decided to withdraw and return to school for his senior year. Jenkins, whose three-pointer as time expired gave the Wildcats the win over North Carolina in the national title game, announced the news via Twitter.
2015-16 was a breakout season for Jenkins, who moved into the starting lineup and averaged 13.6 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. The 6-foot-6 forward shot 45.9 percent from the field and 38.6 percent from beyond the arc, and with starters Ryan Arcidiacono and Daniel Ochefu graduating he’ll have even more opportunities to produce next season.
Jenkins’ decision to return leaves wing Josh Hart as the lone Wildcats going through the early entry process at this time. Hart was a first team All-Big East selection as a junior, and his return would be the final piece to the puzzle for a team that many expect to be a national title contender in 2016-17.
Jenkins and Hart wouldn’t be the only returnees who had a part in the national title run, with guards Jalen Brunson and Phil Booth, wing Mikal Bridges and forward Darryl Reynolds back as well. To that group Villanova adds Fordham transfer Eric Paschall and a recruiting class anchored by Omari Spellman and Dylan Painter with Donte DiVincenzo and Tim Delaney available after being hampered by injuries last season.
Delaney missed all of last year after undergoing surgical procedures on his hips, and DiVincenzo played a total of 74 minutes over the first nine games before having to sit due to a broken foot.
While No. 2 Villanova had plenty of fans make the trip to Houston from various points across the country, there were also those who remained on campus to watch the action. The school hosted a watch party at The Pavilion, and as one would expect the night produced some images that will be remembered for years to come.
Below are two videos of the fan reactions to Kris Jenkins’ game-winning three, with the first including the call from Villanova play-by-play announcer Ryan Fannon courtesy of WPVI-TV Philadelphia.
And here’s another high-quality reaction, although it did not take place at The Pavilion.
It’s become a tradition in the sports world: when the NCAA tournament ends, the video montage with David Barrett’s song “One Shining Moment” serving as the soundtrack sums up what we’ve watched over the last three-plus weeks.
Who made the cut? And what image of the national champions will be used at the end of the video? Those questions get asked annually, and more often than not “One Shining Moment” does not disappoint. This year it was Villanova’s turn to take the final spots in the video, as they beat North Carolina 77-74 on a Kris Jenkins three as time expired.
Above is this year’s edition of “One Shining Moment,” with the Luther Vandross-sung version of the song being used.
It’s been this way for quite some time: an individual or team suffers disappointment, and social media rushes to apply the face of a crying Michael Jordan to their bodies. And with No. 1 North Carolina, Jordan’s alma mater, playing in Monday night’s title game against No. 2 Villanova you just knew that people wouldn’t pass up the opportunity to use “crying Jordan” had the Tar Heels lost.
Sure enough they did, as Kris Jenkins’ three-pointer at time expired gave Villanova the 77-74 victory. And with that came the deluge of “crying Jordan” memes. A few of them can be seen below, including one person applying the face of Villanova “piccolo girl” Roxanne Chalifoux to Jordan’s body (he was in attendance at the game).
And one other note about Chalifoux: she was able to watch her alma mater cut down the nets, one year after tearfully playing the Villanova fight song following the Wildcats’ upset loss to NC State.
After two duds in Saturday’s national semifinals, No. 2 Villanova and No. 1 North Carolina produced a national title game we won’t soon forget.
The Wildcats won 77-74 on a Kris Jenkins three as time expired, but his heroics came 4.7 seconds after North Carolina’s Marcus Paige hit a double-clutch three to tie the game.
And here’s the game-winner from Jenkins, who’s earned the nickname “Big Smooth” from his teammates, with Villanova winning its second national title in program history. The first came in 1985, when the Wildcats knocked off Big East rival Georgetown.
No. 2 Oklahoma made a run at No. 2 Villanova to start the second half, closing to within eight, but just like that Jay Wright’s Wildcats regained control of the game. One of the plays that helped: Mikal Bridges going deep for a pass over the Oklahoma press and dunking on forward Jamuni McNeace.
Just as good as the dunk is the pass by Kris Jenkins, who hit Bridges on the money with a baseball pass thrown flat-footed.
And the questions of how NRG Stadium would impact the teams’ shooting haven’t applied to the Wildcats, who halfway through the second half were shooting 70 percent from the field.