Knicks’ Jalen Brunson gushes over hard-working spark plug

New York Knicks guard Josh Hart (3) reacts after being ejected from the game during the second half against the Indiana Pacers at Madison Square Garden
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

New York Knicks forward Josh Hart had a standout game in Team USA’s resounding victory against Greece, accumulating six points, 11 rebounds (five of which were offensive), and five assists. This comprehensive showing played a pivotal role in Team USA’s 109-81 drubbing of Greece. Jalen Brunson, Hart’s teammate, lauded his contributions in a post-game interview.

“Josh is the epitome of hard work. He can do what any NBA player can on the court, but what sets him apart is his commitment to the fundamentals,” Brunson said. “He has this relentless approach, something I’ve noticed since the first day I met him.” Steve Kerr, Team USA’s Head Coach, echoed Brunson’s sentiments.

“What can I say? Josh is a winner,” declared Kerr. “People often ask, ‘What position does he play?’ Well, he plays the position of a winner. He’s the guy who’s diving for loose balls and guarding anyone on the court.”

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A Partnership Forged in College and Rekindled in the NBA

The synergy between Brunson and Hart isn’t newfound. Both athletes played together during their college years as members of the Villanova Wildcats, clinching the NCAA Tournament in 2016. This camaraderie was rekindled in the NBA when Brunson’s New York Knicks acquired Hart right before the trade deadline, a strategic move that has yielded immediate dividends.

How Hart’s Presence Transformed the Knicks

With Hart on board, the Knicks kicked off with a perfect 9-0 record in the first nine games he featured in, culminating in a season record of 17-8 when he played. This performance landed them the 3rd spot in the NBA during that period. Additionally, they secured a position in the top three for both Net Rating and Offensive Rating. Hart’s remarkable defensive skills were especially noticeable in the Knicks’ first-round playoff win against the Cleveland Cavaliers. He took on a vital role, starting in Games 4 and 5 due to an injury to Quentin Grimes.

Team USA’s Quest in FIBA World Cup Continues

After clinching a win against Team Jordan, Hart and Team USA have secured their first place in Group C of the FIBA World Cup. They are set to continue their championship quest against Montenegro on Friday, September 1st at 4:40 a.m. EST, and the game will be aired on ESPN+ and ESPN2.