LADERA RANCH — Say hello to a flying Filipino Unicorn.
Jalen Purganan Green is only 16-years-old, and he already has ball handling skills, an explosive first step, and the ability to score from anywhere.
These are a few reasons why the high school junior is considered the number one player in the country in the Class of 2020.
“Honestly, it’s just a lot of pressure I try to ignore that. Keep my head on tight, stay humble and just keep doing what I’m doing. Getting better everyday,” said Green.
It’s been a busy year for the 16-year-old who’s mother traces her roots to Ilocos Sur. He visited the Philippines this past spring with fellow Fil-Am prodigies.
“That was a great experience too. It was really last second and I’m glad I did it; it was a rare opportunity to go out the country show my name. Show face, make a stand for myself out there.”
He then joined his team USA under 17 teammates, winning the FIBA tournament and MVP honors.
He’s now spending the summer with AAU team elite basketball organization.
The Fresno-based teen added to his highlight reel at the Adidas Gauntlet Series this past week — averaging 23 points per game in the 7 games in 4 days tournament.
He led EBO to the semifinals, his all-around play wowed the fans, media, and college coaches who use these high profile tournament to scout players.
“I appreciate all the college coaches reaching out and sending me those letters. But I don’t really try to focus on the offers. I’m only about to be a junior probably not going to make my list until the senior year.”
But just like how he glides past defenders, college coaches may find this unicorn to be elusive.
The NBA is considering a rule change to once again allow high school graduates to go straight into the pros.
The NBA has not allowed high school players to enter the draft since 2005, and any rule change would not take affect until 2020 at the earliest — the year Green graduates from San Joaquin Memorial High School.
His potential is high, and the college offers will only grow.
With NBA on the verge of an age change, Green will have plenty to think about the next couple years — but until the future plans become more clear, it’s a safe bet to say that Jalen Green is future of the sport.