Hoopla surrounding Jalen Green like nothing the Valley's ever seen
Over the last three years on the FOX26 10 O'Clock News, we've shown dozens of Jalen Green dunks. The San Joaquin Memorial junior is a highlight machine - and the hoopla surrounding Green is like nothing the Valley's ever seen.
“Jalen is just supernatural," says Memorial head coach Brad Roznovsky. “You pay five dollars, the kid’s going to put on a show for you.”
The Jalen Green show is soaring in popularity. National basketball blogs follow his every move on the court, he has 260,000 followers on Instagram, and regularly sees standing room only crowds, with cell phones ready to capture The Unicorn's next mythological moment.
“When I’m watching film of our games, I enjoy watching the fans in the background, what they do," says Roznovsky. "I mean these people just go nuts.”
Afterward, the fans of all ages line up for the high school junior - looking for pictures and autographs. This happens wherever he goes in Fresno.
“This one time I caught someone recording me," says Green. "I was like, ‘do you want a picture?’ He’s like, ‘yes, bro. Like, please.’”
Roznovsky says, “I’ve never seen anything like it at this level. I don’t know if we ever will.”
Because of Green, the Panthers played on ESPN earlier this year. Every home game is streamed online by NorCal Sports. SJM is the only school the Bay Area-based company is broadcasting every home game for, and it's one of three different outlets that asked Memorial for exclusive rights to do so.
“He’s not just a local celebrity, he’s nationally really well known right now," says Roznovsky. "I think he’s the most popular and probably the best high school player in the nation as a junior right now .”
It's not just the dunks, either. Green can do it all on the court, with ease. Just in the last few weeks, he hit nine three-pointers in one game, and scored 49 points in another.
Green is already one of only 22 players from the Central Section to ever score 2,000 points, and is on pace to be the Valley's all-time leading scorer by the time he's finished.
Considering he's still just a 16-year-old kid, he handles the hysteria surrounding him amazingly well.
“Yeah, he’s a mature adult," says Roznovsky. "I don’t know how many kids at his age could handle the stardom. He just kind of takes it with a grain of salt, you know?”
The bottom line for Green - this is all just a lot of fun, because he says he simply loves basketball.
Which is good. Because people sure love watching him play.