Villanova championship backcourt reunion: Knicks bring back Ryan Arcidiacono on 1-yr deal

Alder Almo
Arcidiacono, Brunson, Knicks
Apr 2, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Villanova Wildcats guard Ryan Arcidiacono (15) celebrates with Villanova Wildcats guard Jalen Brunson (1) during the second half against the Oklahoma Sooners in the 2016 NCAA Men's Division I Championship semi-final game at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The 2016 Villanova championship backcourt is reuniting in New York as the Knicks brought back Ryan Arcidiacono on a one-year veteran’s minimum deal, per league sources.

Arcidiacono and Knicks’ prized free agent acquisition Jalen Brunson teamed up in the Wildcats’ championship run six years ago.

Brunson, then a freshman guard, sealed their regional final win against no. 1 seed Kansas with two clutch free throws in the last 3.5 seconds.

Arcidiacono, then a senior guard, issued the game-winning assist in the championship game against North Carolina Tar Heels.

Brunson was a unanimous Big East All-Freshman Team selection, while Arcidiacono was named the Most Outstanding Player in the NCAA championship game.

The former Villanova duo hopes to rekindle their magic at the Knicks backcourt.

Arcidiacono impressed New York coach Tom Thibodeau with his veteran leadership and positive locker room presence, which led to the Knicks converting his pair of 10-day hardship deals into a standard contract for the rest of the season. The 6-foot-3 guard appeared in only 10 games averaging 1.6 points in 7.6 minutes but played hard every time he was on the floor. He had a pair of five-point games and a 3-assist game in 13 minutes against the Washington Wizards in April.

Arcidiacono’s signing raised the Knicks’ roster to 14, leaving one spot left up for grabs with the training camp starting in two weeks.

The Knicks still have four training camp roster spots left — one standard deal and three more players on Exhibit 10 deals after signing DaQuan Jeffries. They also have an option to leave that last roster spot open for flexibility. But Thibodeau fancies a player who doesn’t demand playing time for his end-of-the-bench guys.

Brunson is expected to start as the Knicks’ point guard, while Arcidiacono will reprise his role as one of the few veteran leaders left on the team following the departure of Alec Burks and Taj Gibson.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo