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Filipino American high school basketball player will skip college and go pro

Jalen Green via Instagram

Views from the Edge

A Filipino American widely considered the top high school basketball prospects in the US will forego college and sign up with a new program in the NBA’s G League.

Last month, 5-star recruit Jalen Green, who spent his senior season at Prolific Prep in Napa, was mulling over which college he would attend to hone his skills in preparation for a career in the National Basketball League.

But on Thursday morning on Instagram Live, he announced that he’ll skip college, the traditional route to the NBA, and go straight to the pro’s in a reshaped NBA professional development program that could help provide new opportunities for elite high school seniors.

“It’s been a crazy exciting journey for me and my family, a lot of opportunities have came, the ultimate end goal is to get to the NBA so with that being said I decided to partner with NBA G League’s new team for elite players,” he stated.

Instead of playing for a college team for a season or two with no compensation except for a scholarship, the G League initiative will pay top players like Green $500,000-plus and set them up in a one-year development program outside the typical minor-league structure, according to ESPN. He would also be eligible to earn money with product endorsements and still get a college scholarship if he chooses to continue his education.

Green, whose mother is from Ilocos Sur in the Philippines, was ranked No. 1 by ESPN and No. 3 by the Rivals Scouting Report. He was also named to the 2020 McDonald’s All-American and a member of the USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Team.

Green is also decorated with gold medals from FIBA youth World Cups in the Under-19, Under-17 and Under-16 tournaments.

He was also awarded MVP in the 2018 FIBA Under-17 Basketball World Cup in Argentina.

“We’re thrilled to welcome a player and a person of Jalen’s caliber to the NBA G League,” G League President Shareef Abdur-Rahim said in a news release.

“He represents the next generation of NBA players, and we couldn’t be more excited to have him develop his professional skills in our league,” he added.

“The main reason for this, I wanted to get better, and develop, a more better game, I want to work on my craft, get stronger like that so I can be more ready for the NBA, this is the best route to prepare myself,” said Green.
Another member of the 2020 class is Kai Sotto, a 7-foot, 2-inch center from the Philippines, who has attracted interest by several top-notch basketball colleges including the No. 1 team in the country, the University of Kentucky.
While Sotto. a 4-star recruit according to Rivals, could go straight from high school to the NBA draft, he told PhenomHoopReport that there was “more chance of going to college.”

As the No. 1 high school player in the Philippines, Sotto left Ateneo University to hone his game at The Skill Factory in Georgia, which has produced several pro basketball players, including James Harden.
The 17-year old Sotto, whose father played pro-ball in the Philippines, said his dream is be the “first full-blood Filipino” to play in the NBA. He said adjusting to life in the States was “not really easy.” But time has helped, adding, “I just work hard, I just listen to the people around me and it’s become easier.”

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