basketball Edit

USA Basketball: Jalen Johnson talks wide ranging recruitment

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO. – One of the most versatile prospects in America, Jalen Johnson has become a nationwide priority while locals are doing all the can to keep him in state.

Settling in during his second stint at the US Olympic Training Facility this week in hopes of securing a spot on the under-17 USA Basketball roster, Johnson recapped his spring, why he hasn’t looked at in his phone in days and the sell that some of the schools involved have given to the five-star sophomore.

“The first time here, I was little nervous and not really confident in myself. Now, it being the second time around, I am much more confident and I am playing my game,” said Johnson. “I have just been worried about getting better every day no matter what I am doing. It doesn’t always have to be basketball; it could be training, weight training and all of that.”

On June 15, prospects in the 2020 class were allowed direct contact with college coaches for the first time. Asked on who was the first to reach out, Johnson still has no idea. “I actually haven’t been able to receive any phone calls because I am waiting until tomorrow morning to get them since my main focus is on USA Basketball right now, he said. “I didn’t want any other distractions but I do know that Kansas and Kentucky each called my dad.”

While Kentucky and Kansas are the calls that Johnson was aware of, Duke, Marquette, Wisconsin, Arizona, Illinois, LSU, Minnesota, Florida, USC, UCLA, Iowa, Arizona State, Purdue, Kansas State and West Virginia are among the many others who are looking to make him a priority.



Due to media session limitations, Johnson wasn't able to speak specifically about every school on his list but did have time to discuss some of the programs involved.

Kansas: “They have a big, winning tradition there. Allen Fieldhouse, I am sure that is just a crazy place to play at. It just seems like a great environment.”

Kentucky: “That is a great school. It is run by a great coaching staff and Coach Cal (John Calipari) has developed his players. I know they’re known for going one-and-done but he still develops his players to be the best that they can be, which is what I have the utmost respect for, in that aspect of it.”

Marquette: “He (Steve Wojciechowski)just tells me to keep working every day. He knows there is going to be a lot coming at me with the schools and stuff and all of the attention but he just wants me to stay focused and keep working hard.”

Wisconsin: “They have told me that I am their top priority and their top target because they want for me to stay close to home and help change that program around and keep the winning tradition. They are just telling me to stay focused and humble throughout all of this with the attention coming at me.”

Duke: “I love the slogan ‘The Brotherhood.’ That means a lot to me. I am not the type of guy that would want to go away from home because I am more family oriented but when they dropped the whole spill on The Brotherhood, that made my interest get bigger because you feel like you are at home with them.”


Johnson will remain in Colorado Springs for the next few days in hopes of making the final group of 12 that will play in Argentina next month at the FIBA Under-17 Basketball World Championship.

In July, he can be found playing with the Phenom University 16-under team as they attempt to win the Nike Peach Jam 16-under championship.


When asked to describe what it will be like whenever he does put his phone back on, Johnson responded by say, “It is going to be crazy.”

The recruitment of Johnson will be heated and many of college basketball's best have already made him a priority with everybody on his list but Duke and Kentucky having offered. At this point, Johnson remains wide open while he gets to know the programs interested in landing him.