Jean Montero: ''I fully believe that we will be at the World Cup''
MIAMI (United States) – Jean Montero is one of the most renowned prospects in the Dominican Republic. Since he was 14 years old, he has been showing his talent in the different categories of his national team and has always stood out for his scoring ability and his quick hands to recover balls.
He participated in the FIBA U17 World Cup in Argentina 2018, at just 15 years old and finished with averages of 15.4 points and 4.1 steals. The following year, in 2019, he played in the U17 Centrobasket and the U16 FIBA Americas Championship, leaving averages of 28.2 and 30.3 points, respectively. Since then, many eyes have been on him.
“The fact of attracting so much attention, I would not say that it has generated pressure on me, but rather a commitment to the Dominican people. I feel the responsibility of wanting the best for my country and putting our flag on the highest level," said Montero.
In the last window of the Americas Qualifiers for the FIBA World Cup 2023, the 19-year-old player had his first stellar moment with the national team, guiding the victory over Venezuela with 22 points, including the last shot. Montero hopes to continue contributing to the Dominican squad and continue to count on the confidence of coach Néstor García.
“That night was special. Being able to have such a performance in front of the Dominican people was something very big for me. But I understand that now the commitment is bigger and the opportunities will be better, I want to continue preparing myself to be as ready as possible for my next matches”, he assured.
“‘Che’ Garcia is more than a coach, he is a teammate and a father to everyone on the team. I am more than happy to have him back, I know that he fully trusts me and I appreciate that very much because now I am at a tight moment in my career”, he added.
Montero, at his young age, already has experience in the second and first division of Spanish basketball, with Gran Canaria team. Last year he played at Overtime Elite High School in the United States and then tried his luck in the NBA Summer League with the New York Knicks (5.4 points in 5 games). However, right now he is in Santo Domingo, working on his own game, waiting to obtain his visa to continue testing abroad.
“My experiences in recent years have been a lot of learning. I have had ups and downs, but I am very grateful for all the opportunities that have been given to me. Playing in the NBA will always be a personal goal. Although this is not the moment, I have had the courage to accept things and look for new opportunities, but there will always be the desire to play there”.
While figuring out where he will play next, Montero, of course, also keeps his focus on the Dominican team that is very close to qualifying for the FIBA World Cup, due to being tied for second place in Group E with Venezuela and Argentina, all with a 7-3 mark.
“The challenge that lies ahead is even greater because we are in the final stretch of qualifying, but I fully believe that we will be back in the World Cup. Personally, achieving the goal and being part of the team would be something very special and important in my career”.
Montero, when he was 16, was a part of the group of players from the Dominican Republic that was preparing for the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China, but could not make it among the 12 players. Now, at 19, playing in basketball's biggest event would still be a remarkable moment.