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Steady Rise: A Conversation with Jalen Montanati, Class of 2026

Jalen Montanati, a rising star from the Class of 2026, is making waves in the world of basketball. From his impressive USA experience to his relentless work ethic, Jalen is on a path to success. In this exclusive conversation after the CP3 Rising Stars Camp
 in NC, he opens up about his journey, his goals, and what it means to have his dad as his high school coach.

Q: Talk about your dad being your HS Coach?

Jalen: My dad being my high school coach is great for me. He pushes me every day in practice to be a better player and also a better leader. He’s always helping me improve
 on things. We share an unbelievable chemistry on the court, and I am very grateful to have him in my corner.

Q: What’s been the difference for you between last year and now?

Jalen: The difference between last year and now has been me finding out where I belong and playing the best competition that I can face. Joining Mokan this summer was
 one of the best basketball decisions I have made in my small career so far. I got my name out a lot this summer, and playing on the Eybl circuit and going to USA really helped me get better by competing with the best of the best.

Q: How was your USA experience, and how has it changed you?

Jalen: My USA experience was amazing. Sharing the court with future NBA players and going up against them and competing against them every day is truly special. It’s
 only made me a better player and work on my craft harder.

Q: What are you trying to achieve this spring/summer?

Jalen: My goals this summer were to make the U16 National Team and win a gold medal, and I accomplished that. Another goal of mine was to win Peach Jam. While we came
 up short in the Elite 8, I think we’ll be right there again next year, and the outcome will be different.

Q: What’s your developmental focus this season, goals?

Jalen: My developmental focus going into my sophomore year will be mainly on my body. Getting stronger and more athletic will put my game at a higher level. Another area
 of my game I’m looking to improve on is ball handling. I think the tighter my handle is, the more I can do.

Q: How often do you work out?

Jalen: I work out 6/7 days a week. I’m in the gym and the weight room consistently, constantly working on my game.

Q: What schools have offered, and is any school standing out above others?

Jalen: Oklahoma State, Tulsa, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Nebraska, Iowa, Arkansas, Michigan, Kansas, and Texas have all offered me. None have really stood out
 more than the others; they have all been amazing and have been in touch.

Q: Who’s on you the hardest?

Jalen: My dad is probably on me the hardest. He knows I want to be great and he knows I want to be a pro, so every day he is pushing me to become a pro. He’s a great
 mentor for me.

Q: What schools who haven’t offered are showing interest?

Jalen: Texas Tech, Ole Miss, and Duke have shown interest in me in the past couple of weeks.

Q: Any planned official/unofficial visits, when?

Jalen: I’m planning on taking some unofficial visits this upcoming football and basketball season. The main ones we’ve talked about are Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, and

Q: Who’s your favorite player?

Jalen: My favorite player is Jayson Tatum. I model my game after him and Paul George.

Q: Who’s the toughest player you played against this year?

Jalen: The toughest player I played against this year was probably David Castillo from Bartlesville.

Q: Who’s helping make your decision?

Jalen: My mom and dad are the main ones helping me make my decisions. But I’m also open to all my Mokan coaches giving me feedback and helping me with this process as

Q: What are you looking for in a program?

Jalen: I’m looking for a few things in a college program: Culture, good coaching, a system I can fit in and produce in, a winning school, and a place that can get me
 to the next level.

Q: Why do you like that school/staff?

Jalen: I’m looking forward to building a stronger relationship with the coaches that have reached out to me.

Jalen Montanati’s passion for the game, combined with his unwavering dedication, is undoubtedly paving the way for a promising future in basketball. As he continues to grow and develop, his journey is one that basketball enthusiasts will eagerly follow.

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