Jalen Brunson sat beneath that flat, round, one-of-a-kind ceiling at Madison Square Garden on a spectacular October day. When he was a hotshot McDonald’s All-American a couple years back, this is about where most expected him to be as the 2017-18 NBA season dawned.

But wasn’t he supposed to be there in an NBA uniform?

Brunson was dressed sharply on Big East Media Day at the Garden, but he was there as a Villanova Wildcat. No — he was there as the Villanova Wildcat. He's the player around whom coach Jay Wright is building another national championship contender.

“I know the NBA is my all-time goal. It’s what I dreamed of as a little kid,” Brunson told Sporting News. “But the NBA is not going anywhere. I can wait. I can still get better. I can still get my degree. That’s the approach I had. I talked it over with my parents, and they’re just 100 percent fully supporting me. So that’s where I am.

“The most important thing is I wanted to graduate.”

Brunson is one of only three players who appeared in the 2015 McDonald’s game who will play NCAA basketball this winter. Eight players from that game left as “one-and-done” entrants to the NBA draft, two of whom already are out of the league. Another nine entered the draft following their sophomore seasons.

Of those who remain in college, it's intriguing to note only one has played two full seasons with essentially no drama: Brunson.