By LARRY VAUGHT
Jalen Green of Prolific Prep (Calif.) is the nation’s third-rated player in the 2020 recruiting class but he thinks that might be too low.
“I don’t think anyone is better than me in my class,” the 6-7 Green said.
He had 26 points at the Marshall County Hoopfest Friday night in a 75-71 win over Our Savior Lutheran about 24 hours after his team had beat Hillcrest Prep in Phoenix Thursday night in a game that was on ESPN2. Green was 6-for-6 from 2-point range but only 1-for-8 on 3-pointers. He did make 11 of 12 free throws and pulled off six rebounds.
“It was really a good atmosphere,” Green said. “A big crowd. Kind of shocking really. I didn’t think there would be this big a crowd but I asked people and they said there were a lot of people last year. Just surprised there were so many but happy they came out.”
Youngsters lined up to get Green’s autograph after the game — something he says has been happening for about three years now.
“The fact that these little kids look up to me is mind blowing. It keeps me on my toes,” he said. “The kids just want autographs, pictures and a smile. It’s a lot more fun than answering questions from the media like I have been doing.”
He gets lots of questions about what he’ll be doing next year. He has not officially narrowed his list of colleges but ESPN recruiting analyst Paul Biancardi noted last week that Green told him he had not ruled out playing professionally overseas next year.
At one time it looked like he might play at Kentucky, something Green smiled and said he knew many UK fans were hoping would happen.
“It was supposed to happen but me and Kentucky parted ways,” Green said. “They are no longer in the running. My college offers are still open. I still don’t know what I want to do. It’s very stressful. Big decision for me. Biggest decision I have ever made but Kentucky no longer is recruiting me.”
Apparently coach John Calipari found other perimeter players he liked more or worried Green might go overseas to play.
Whatever the reason, he passed on a chance to have a rare talent playing for him. He has now visited Auburn, Fresno State, Memphis, Oregon and USC and Auburn coach Bruce Pearl is here to watch him play tonight when Prolific tries to go to 14-0 this season.
“Coach Pearl doesn’t tell you what you want to hear. He’s been very straight with me and that stood out,” Green said.
He originally was scheduled to commit later this month. Then he decided to push the date back. He also says because he has taken five college visits that does not mean that is his top five list.
“My recruiting is still open. I’ve had good visits but nothing is set yet,” Green said.