In the buzzing basketball scene of Oklahoma High School, there's a rising star making some serious waves - 16-year-old Jalen Montonati from Owasso.
Not too long ago, Jalen was wrapping up junior high basketball. Now, he's donning the USA jersey at the U16 World Championship in Mexico, and his journey has just begun. Watching his son's incredible journey from the sidelines, his high school coach and father, Brian Montonati, can't help but share the excitement.
"The coolest experience," he recalled, "was watching him run out onto the arena, with USA on his jersey. That was huge."
Being part of Team USA is more than just a cool experience. It's giving Jalen unparalleled exposure at an international level. Already a sought-after prospect for the class of 2026, Jalen's garnered interest from top-tier universities, including Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, and the University of Tulsa. But for Brian, it's not just about the offers.
"We're not chasing offers," Brian said firmly. "It's all about his development and finding a place where he can contribute, play, and ultimately, get an education."
At just 16, Jalen's future is incredibly promising. Yet, Brian knows that his son still has a lot of growing to do. "He just turned 16 two weeks ago. He's got to continue to get stronger, get bigger. It's all part of maturing," he noted.
Despite the challenges, Jalen's time with the national team is already paying off. He's developing a strong belief in himself and building a solid reputation on the court.
"They've said he's one of the better shooters in the country," Brian shared. "That's certainly going to boost his confidence level."
From Owasso to Mexico, Jalen Montonati is on a thrilling journey. With hard work, passion, and a supportive coach-father by his side, this young basketball prodigy is undoubtedly one to watch.