Jalen Green Back with USA Basketball, This Time as a Veteran Leader
One of the hottest high school basketball prospects in the county, Jalen Green already has accomplished much during his young career.
The 17-year-old shooting guard is considered a five-star collegiate recruit as he prepares to ply his trade this season at Prolific Prep in Napa, California, after playing his first three high school campaigns at San Joaquin Memorial High School in his native Fresno. He chose to attend Prolific Prep rather than turn professional and play overseas at his still tender age after becoming San Joaquin Memorial’s all-time leading scorer after just three seasons.
As if that wasn’t enough, Green already has had his share of international playing experience. He’s already accomplished much on the world stage as a member of USA Basketball Junior National Team.
Green already has three gold medals to his credit, having played an integral role on USA Basketball squads that won the 2017 FIBA Americas U16 Championship, 2018 FIBA U17 World Cup and 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup.
“I love everything about (playing for USA Basketball),” he said. “The competition has taken me all over the world. It’s given me lots of new experiences and life lessons.”
Adding to an already impressive highlight reel, Green was named the MVP of the 2018 FIBA U17 World Cup after leading the USA to a perfect 7-0 tournament record. He led the team in scoring, averaging 15.7 points per game in Santa Fe, Argentina, to bring home his second gold medal and MVP honors.
“Winning that gold medal was a high point,” he said. “The experience has been important to me. Playing with different coaches and different players, you need to know your role and how to best contribute to the team.”
It is in that spirit that Green returns to Colorado Springs, Colorado, for his fourth USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Team Minicamp this weekend. Despite being delayed in his journey to Colorado due to some early October snow, the 2019 All-USA Today California Boys Basketball Player of the Year shrugged off any weariness and was ready to go for another weekend of development.
“It’s great being part of the competition here, and seeing all the great players at this facility,” he said. “There’s a lot of support here. It keeps me coming back.”
As he continues to refine his game both through and for USA Basketball, he has seen his place among his peers change somewhat since his first minicamp in 2016.
“A lot has changed for me since I was a freshman,” he said. “As a freshman, you kind of look up to some of the older players. Now that I’m a senior and more experienced, I try to be more of a role model.”
Not that Green is back in Colorado merely to be a mentor. There are still aspects of his own game that he seeks to continue to develop and refine.
“I’ve learned that it is important to do the little things right, play good defense and be a good teammate,” he said. “I want to continue to work on my jump shot, play better defense and be more of a leader.”
When he’s not in Colorado, or even overseas, with USA Basketball, Green is still immersed in the game. Taking up the sport full-time in eighth grade following a football injury, he credits his mother – Bree Purganan – as the key influence for where he is today.
“Mom for sure. She is a strong woman,” he said. “I have really good support at home. My family handles a lot, which gives me a chance to focus on school and basketball.”
A student of the game, when Green isn’t playing basketball he is watching the sport at both the collegiate and professional levels.
“I have a lot of friends playing both in college and the NBA,” he said. “I watch a lot of college ball. I don’t have a favorite team or anything like that, but my favorite player is (Brooklyn Nets small forward) Kevin Durant.”
As his high school days begin to wind down, Green appears to have his pick of colleges to attend next year as he looks to elevate his game to the next level. He is currently expected to make his selection of schools to attend next fall by this Christmas.
Until then, as well as after that point, Green will continue to work to be the best player he can be with USA Basketball and for whichever teams he plays for as his future unfolds – perhaps one day taking to the court with his favorite professional player.
“I’ve got mad love for the game,” he said. “I want to go to college. From there, I do hope to make it to the NBA.”