Photo courtesy of Under Armour/Jeff Hinds.
By David Cordova
In the present day, there are plenty of basketball players that have started basketball, which have given them identities that have made them well-known throughout social media.
These days, there are names such as the “Jelly Fam,” the “Jam Fam,” and the “Bucket Fam,” which are movements made by top-tier basketball players that are in high school. Now, there’s another one that has gotten plenty of notoriety, “the Unicorn Fam.”
And its leader is one of the most recognized names in the high school Class of 2020. The leader’s name is Jalen Green and he is a 6-foot-5 guard that is rated as the No. 2 prospect in the nation in the rising junior class by ESPN. He has the type of game that is tailor-made for a high-major Division I college, or better yet the pro ranks.
When asked about what motivates him to be successful on the court, Green replied, “Just the love that I have for the game, and I’m always working. My family pushes me to get better, so that’s my motivation every day.”
Green hails from Fresno, California, a city with a population of 527,438, and the fifth-highest city in the state of California. The town is also known for Fresno State University, which has Division I programs.
“It’s tough. Nobody really makes it out of Fresno, because of what goes on in Fresno, so I mean, just to be able to start that up, you know turn the corner around, it’s big.” said Green about being from Fresno.
On the basketball culture in Northern California: “It’s big, everybody loves basketball. It’s basketball, football, all sports out there, so instead of basketball being the main sport.”
Although Green is a highly-touted player, he still feels as if he has certain things he has to work on in his game. “I gotta work on my shot, defense, well, just bringing it up to half-court.” But as far his strengths, he added: “But, I could go to the rim, I slash, I could draw a foul, and stuff like that.”
Green’s ability to be able to absorb contact really helps when it comes getting and-ones whenever he goes to the hole. When asked what he does to aid in his athleticism, he replied, “For a whole year, in seventh grade, I didn’t play basketball in my middle school, I sat out and did workouts with weights every day.”
Earlier this year, Home Team Hoops, a Florida-based mixtape company documented Green in his native Fresno during his sophomore season in what was known as the “Unicorn” episode.
When asked about the Home Team Hoops documentary on him, Green replied, “The Unicorn episode, those are big, Ryan [Currie] came out to Fresno, and that was big, I appreciate him for that.” Green says that there will be more of the Unicorn episodes coming soon.
Now, in regards to the Unicorn Fam, which has gotten nationwide acclaim as of late, this how it came about. “The whole Unicorn Fam thing started when a Florida State coach came up to me at my practice and told me I’m a unicorn, that I’m a different dude. So I just took that and was like, ‘Yeah, nobody’s doing what I’m doing, I play the 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.’ You know, I can play all that, I’m not selfish, nobody’s doing what I’m doing,” said Green.
He also added that if and when he turns pro, he plans on marketing the name, “Unicorn Fam,” which will help with endorsements.
This past spring and summer, Green played on the Adidas Gauntlet circuit with EBO (Elite Basketball Organization), a program that is based in Fresno and was established in 1994 by Darren Matsubara.
At the Adidas Summer Championships last month in Orange County, California, Green led EBO to a 5-2 record and averaged 23.3 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game. On his experience with EBO, he replied, “EBO is just a team of people in the Valley in Northern Calirfornia. I mean, we’re all top players, slept-on players right here too. A lot of these guys don’t know most of these guys, but they’re out here making it. Trying to get a scholarship.”
Also, on the Adidas Gauntlet, which is a very underrated circuit with plenty of special gems, Green added: “Playing on the Gauntlet, there’s just great competition like Kyree Walker, Isaiah Todd, P.J. Fuller, you know, there’s a lot of competitors out here trying to battle for the No. 1 spot.”
At San Joaquin Memorial High School, Green has made his presence felt, as he averaged 18.1 points, nine rebounds and 3.2 assists per game as a freshman. As a sophomore last season, he doubled his performance by averaging 28.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game, while leading the Panthers to a sectional championship. In his first two years at San Joaquin Memorial, he has led his team to a 51-14 record.
Green has also been successful on the international level, as he led the USA Basketball U16 squad to a FIBA Americas championship and gold medal last summer.
Also, this coming Saturday, Green will be playing in the SLAM Summer Classic in New York City, in which he will be one of 15 players playing on asphalt in front of a raucous crowd of at least 2,000 people.
When asked how he liked the idea of playing in New York, he replied, “I love it. I like playing on the East Coast better than the West Coast. West Coast, we don’t got a lot of competition like that, it’s easy, it’s light. But coming out here to the East Coast, [the competition], it’s really good.”
When asked if he would love to play at a venue such as Dyckman, which is also known as the “Red Carpet of Streetball,” he replied, “Yeah, for sure, I would.”
As far as his collegiate recruitment, he has been offered by schools such as Maryland, Memphis, Kansas, UTEP, Arizona, Oregon, UCLA, Cal, Cincinnati, Creighton, Fresno State, USC, Villanova, and Washington.
Whatever happens in the next couple of years, you can bet that Jalen Green will be playing in front of a TV screen. There’s a chance that he will be playing for a team that will go deep into the tournament, or will even be a top-10 draft pick in the 2021 draft.
Time will tell what will be in store for the kid from Fresno.
Highlights of Jalen Green:
Courtesy of Hoop Diamonds.
Courtesy of Ballislife.
Courtesy of Frankie Vision.
Courtesy of CaliHoop.
Courtesy of Home Team Hoops.
Courtesy of FIBA.
Courtesy of In The Gym Hoops.
Courtesy of Frankie Vision.
Courtesy of Home Team Hoops.