Of the 32 players called into training camp for the United States U18 national team training camp, Musa Jallow is already a standout for one key reason.

It’s why the 18-year-old Ohio State sophomore got the call to potentially represent his country at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Canada.

“Definitely my college experience and that I was able to be in college for a year and still be as young as I am,” Jallow said before departing for Colorado Springs, Colorado. “That’s what they said when they called. They want a team that can win and they need leadership and guys with experience at higher levels. I’m the only kid that’s been in college (in camp), so I fit the mold pretty well.”

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The Bloomington, Indiana, native was initially slated to be a college freshman this season but opted to reclassify to the class of 2017. As a freshman for the Buckeyes, Jallow appeared in 33 games, made 10 starts and averaged 2.5 points and 1.5 rebounds in 14.0 minutes. He didn’t turn 18 until Feb. 3, when Ohio State was roughly halfway through the Big Ten season.

Although his playing time dwindled as the season progressed, Jallow said he never doubted his decision — especially now that it’s helped him earn a shot to play for Team USA.

“It was like, ‘Oh man, this is still so much better than what I would be doing,’ ” he said. “Like, I don’t want to put down high school, but you just can’t compare being in the Big Ten tournament at Madison Square Garden or flying to Boise, Idaho, for two NCAA Tournament games and all the different places and beating the No. 1 team (in Michigan State). There’s no other way except doing it.”

The camp will begin Thursday and continue with two-a-day sessions before finalists are expected to be announced Saturday. Those who make the cut will continue to practice at the Olympic Training Center through June 7 before leaving for St. Catharines, Ontario. The tournament gets underway June 10.

Whether he makes the cut or not, Jallow said the experience will help prepare him to assume more responsibilities on what will be a young Ohio State team.

“That’s exactly what it is: me being able to demonstrate and put into practice what I’ve learned this past year with Ohio State and showing that I can take everything up a notch,” he said. “This is kind of like a jump-start into the next couple of years. They’re just going to see me handle the ball more and be more ball-dominant and be dominant on the court in general. Obviously, I paid respect to Keita (Bates-Diop) and (Jae'Sean Tate) and watched them and learned from them, and now it’s my chance to lead the way and be the guy.”

Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann said in April that Jallow had an ankle injury, and Sunday night Jallow said it remains a minor issue but one that shouldn’t impact his chances of making the team. He suffered the injury before the NCAA Tournament, he said.

Jallow said he knows two of the players he will be competing against in Colorado: five-star point guard prospect DJ Carton from Bettendorf, Iowa, and five-star center prospect Trayce Jackson-Davis from Greenwood (Indiana) Center Grove. Ohio State has been recruiting both members of the class of 2019.

The team will be led by Kansas coach Bill Self and assistants Anthony Grant (Dayton) and Danny Manning (Wake Forest).

Jallow said while he gets chills just thinking about being part of the team, he knows what he needs to bring in order to make the cut.

“My intensity,” he said. “I want to win. I’m not out here trying to have a flashy all-star game. You know by how I played this year, I’ll get down and dirty and stand up to anybody. I’m not there just trying to be cool and get a hoop mixtape or whatever. I’m there to win and represent my country and represent Ohio State and represent my home town and my AAU team and my family. I can bring all that.”