By LARRY VAUGHT
Several 2020 Kentucky basketball recruiting targets are participating in the USA Basketball Under 19 World Cup camp in Colorado Springs through Tuesday when 12 players will be named to the team. The team will play in the World Cup June 29-July 7 in Heraklion, Greece.
Kentucky recruiting targets trying for a spot on the team include Jalen Green, Scottie Barnes, Nimari Burnett, Cade Cunningham and Sharife Cooper. Green led the United States when it won the 2017 World Cup by averaging 15.7 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.4 steals per game.
Green, a 6-5 shooting guard, is the No. 2 overall player in 2020 class. He averaged 30.1 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game last season as a high school junior for San Joaquin Memorial High School. In three season he broke the school career scoring record.
He has transferred to Prolific Prep for his senior year. One of his teammates there will be Burnett, a 6-3 shooting guard who just helped the USA under 18 3×3 national team win the gold medal at the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
Prolific Prep annually plays at the Marshall County Hoopfest in December and McCracken County Mustang Madness in January. Prolific Prep will be at both showcases again this season as well as possibly one or two other events in Kentucky.
Green, who won’t be 18 until February, has about 20 Division I scholarship offers including Arizona, Kansas, Memphis, Oregon, Villanova and UCLA along with Kentucky. Many have speculated he’s a Memphis lean, something he has denied.
Marcus Green, Jalen’s trainer, says the experience with USA Basketball has helped him in various ways.
“It helps get you to understand how to play professionally organized ball because of the way they run things,” Marcus Green said. “Do your job. Be on time. We got your back. It has made Jalen carry himself in a professional manner.”
By playing with Prolific Prep, Jalen Green will travel the country this season playing against other elite teams as part of the Grind Session.
However, Marcus Green said the move is not about the level of competition Jalen Green will face as much as the “development” for the player.
“It’s more about off the court stuff he does training-wise,” Marcus Green said. “That will help him more than who he is playing against. With the way the AAU world is set up and then USA Basketball, he has played against the best of the best. The move to Prolific is more about letting him develop more.”