Jalen Brunson had one of the most decorated three-year college basketball campaigns in the modern era. He won two national championships, a National College Player of the Year Award, a Big East Player of the Year Award and was a consensus First-Team All-American. The one season his Villanova Wildcats did not win a national title, they won 32 games and were the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.

But he also accomplished something most people outside his inner circle didn't see. Brunson, who was drafted No. 33 overall by the Mavericks on Thursday night, graduated Villanova in three years. And that was always part of the plan.

"From the moment that I stepped on campus -- from the moment that I committed -- I knew it was going to be a process," Brunson says. "I knew that I wanted to get my degree. It’s very important to me and my family. Basketball can only go for so long. I just wanted to set myself up for life, and that degree from Villanova, I thought is very special."

The communications major had one more year of eligibility left but had all the credits he needed to graduate. Part of that was the result of taking a series of summer classes -- passing on scouting camps -- to keep up his three-year pace. 

"They were tough, especially taking science in the summer was very hard, but it was worth it," he says of his classes. "When you work for something, no matter hard it is, no matter how time consuming, how draining it is, you work for it. Just like basketball, you may be tired, it may be time-consuming, but you gotta work for it."

Brunson's father, Rick, played four years at Temple and graduated before going undrafted and playing nine seasons in the NBA.

Jalen's academic journey was documented as part of Spalding and Slam's "Without a Doubt" Vol. 3. In the short film, Wildcats coach Jay Wright says, "I've never seen anyone at Villanova graduate in three years, let alone a student-athlete or a National Player of the Year-caliber athlete."

Brunson spoke to ThePostGame at Spalding and Slam's draft suite in New York City during NBA Draft week.

Former Alabama guard Collin Sexton -- drafted No. 8 by the Cavaliers -- and IMG Academy product Anfernee Simons -- selected No. 24 by the Trail Blazers -- were also featured in the series.

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