The USA U18 basketball team took home the gold in the FIBA Americas Men’s Championship on Saturday, defeating Canada 113-74 for its fifth straight championship.
While Ohio State sophomore guard Musa Jallow didn’t make the cut for the team, he was one of 32 players invited to the camp, and he said he learned a lot from the experience.
“Any chance you have to put the USA on your chest is just, I’m so grateful for it,” Jallow said. “Unfortunate that I didn’t make the team, but still a great experience, had a lot of fun with the guys and the coaches there.”
Jallow was the only player to attend the training camp following a year of college experience, a year in which he averaged 2.5 points a game in 33 appearances for the Buckeyes.
Jallow finished high school a year early to join Ohio State as a 17-year-old true freshman, and he said it is a decision he will always stand by.
“I love this place,” Jallow said. “You can always look back and see the little things you could improve on from the past, but overall, I’m super satisfied with my choice in coming a year early, wouldn’t trade it for the world.”
While at the camp, Jallow worked under Kansas head coach Bill Self, and he said that the year of college helped him adapt quicker than the players coming out of high school.
“Coach Self had the practices at a pretty high pace, which is how we practice here, and it’s a lot different than high school or AAU practice and so, some of the guys, they weren’t ready for that,” Jallow said. “I was quicker to act on that stuff and pick it up and kind of coach the guys with it.”
Jallow said the players had a lot of questions about college life once they realized he had played for Ohio State last year, asking things like “What was it like? What were the practices like? How intense were they?” as well as questions on how players are treated on campus.
He might still be one of the youngest players on the team next season, but Jallow said he is ready for a larger role in this upcoming season.
“Having the year under my belt, I definitely feel older,” Jallow said. “I was definitely in the freshman position last year and now that we have new guys coming in and we lost our leadership, I just have to be able to make a big jump and kind of take the reigns a little bit.”