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Jalen Green’s prep school coach believes more high-end talent will forgo college for the G League
Jalen Green is the first NBA professional pathway program’s participant and might start a trend of elite prep athletes to forgo college. (Courtesy: @JalenGreen/Twitter)

Jalen Green’s prep school coach believes more high-end talent will forgo college for the G League

NAPA, Calif. (BVM) – Nothing about Jalen Green is traditional.

The consensus five-star recruit and No. 1 player in the Class of 2020 is perhaps the most well-known prep athlete in the country with nearly one million followers on Instagram. Following a three-year run at San Joaquin Memorial High School – where he averaged 26.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and three assists per game — Green transferred to Prolific Prep for his senior season.

Prolific Prep was founded in 2014 and, according to its website, the basketball academy is the first of its kind. The academy provides a unique opportunity for talented student-athletes to be immersed in an environment of intense basketball training while taking classes with its educational partner, Napa Christian.

Simply put, Prolific Prep is “a factory for basketball” that has helped Green and other hoopers reach their full potential.

“The biggest difference between normal high school and a prep school like Prolific Prep or Montverde or IMG is the exposure, access to be able to work out multiples times a day and take their game to, quote, unquote, ‘the next level,’” Prolific Prep head coach Joey Fuca said.

Prolific Prep plays the majority of its prep circuit schedule in different states and brings in top talent from all over the country. Chief among this pool of talent is Green, who averaged 31.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and five assists per game and led his team to a 31-3 record during the 2019-20 season.

The 6-foot-5 guard’s senior campaign earned him Sports Illustrated All-American Player of the Year honors and left a major impression on Fuca after just one season.

“Jalen just operates at a different level, processes the game at a different speed and has a different approach to the game than a regular 17-year-old,” Fuca said. “He has an approach to the game that is unlike anyone else I have seen. He’s the first one in the gym, he’s constantly asking for more work and that’s the type of kid he is.

“Jalen is on a mission,” Fuca added. “He’s very driven to get where he wants to go for him and his family.”

Green’s mission will not take place at any of the handful of Division I programs who courted him. The senior received offers from the likes of Kansas and Kentucky and narrowed his decision to a final pair of Memphis and Auburn, but that route is too traditional for Green.

In April, Green announced his decision to bypass college and become the NBA professional pathway’s first participant. The reshaped program is a G League initiative that will pay prospects $500,000-plus and provide a one-year development program separate from the minor league’s traditional team structure. Fuca said Green is in a much different situation than most athletes, and because of that, this move makes perfect sense for the prep star.

“The G League, with its expansion and financial backing, I think is really the opportunity he (Green) was looking for,” Fuca said. “He didn’t want to go all the way across the pond (to play professionally overseas) and he was entertaining college, but I just think at the end of the day, he liked the fact that he could stay closer to home, play at the next level, workout multiple times a day and prepare for his ultimate goal of playing in the NBA.”

Just a day after Green’s announcement, another blue-chip recruit decided to follow the same path. Isaiah Todd, the No. 13 player in the 2020 ESPN 100, decommitted from Michigan and confirmed that he’ll also join the G League’s professional pathway program.

Fuca said he has no doubt that more elite prep athletes will choose this route in the future.
“This is just the start,” Fuca said. “I think the NCAA is going to be in a tough spot because there’s kids that are looking at going to college for eight months as ‘Why would we do that if we can make more money and play at the professional level?’ That’s what works for these kids the best and I think we’ll see a lot more kids doing it.”