Living true to his billing as the top HS prospect in the Class of 2020, Filipino-American Jalen Green was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) and member of the All-Star five of the recently concluded 2018 FIBA U17 World Cup after powering Team USA to a fifth straight tournament championship.
He made sure to make noise in his return to national duty after representing the United States in its title conquest of last year’s FIBA Americas U16 Championship, Green averaged a team-best 15.7 points while adding 2.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.4 steals in 7 games for the Americans. His best game in the tourney was a 27-point outburst against Croatia in the quarterfinals while shooting 76.9% from the floor that included a perfect 5/5 from the two-point area. He also fired 25 markers to lead Team USA over Canada in the semifinal stage.
In his squad’s 95-92 triumph versus France in the gold medal match, Green had 11 points and 2 boards while helping the Don Showalter-mentored side maintain its unbeaten run. Team USA currently boasts a 37-0 slate dating back to the inaugural staging of the U17 World Cup back in 2010.
Green’s MVP feat puts him in an elite list of previous winners, all of which have either been drafted or signed to play in the NBA. His predecessors include Washington’s Bradley Beal, 2015 NBA Draft third over-all pick Jahlil Okafor, Los Angeles Laker rookie Malik Newman and Cleveland’s 2018 lottery selection Collin Sexton.
A legit scoring machine who’s making the most of his athletic gifts by being lethal off the dribble and equally deadly from the outside while disrupting opponent’s offensive sets with his sound defensive game, Green averaged 27.9 points, 7.7 boards, 2.8 assists and 1.6 steals in 32 games for Fresno’s San Joaquin Memorial HS Panthers during the 2017-18 season.
With this recent accomplishment, expect the incoming HS junior’s list of potential suitors from prominent NCAA Division 1 programs to expand even further. Among the schools that expressed interest in recruiting him include Arizona, Connecticut, Kansas, UCLA, UNLV, USC,Washington and current champions Villanova.
Green also made an appearance in the annual National Basketball Training Center (NBTC)-National High School Championship as he was part of this year’s visiting Fil-Am Sports contingent. During his short stint in the country, Green proved why he’s at the top of his class by lighting up perennial local HS powerhouse National University Bullpups for a tournament-best 51 points and 12 boards in their quarterfinal match.
This scoring milestone notwithstanding, Green’s most memorable highlight in his first Philippine stint may very well be his vicious hammer on Batang Gilas’ slotman Kai Sotto in the NBTC’s All-Star game:
Green and Team USA’s title run marks the second time in two months that a cager with Filipino lineage has been part of a champion squad in an international youth basketball joust. Last June, Kamaka Hepa saw action for the Team USA squad that won gold in the recently concluded 2018 FIBA Americas U18 Championship.
Photos from FIBA.com