Georgetown's Green: 'New-Age Scottie Pippen'
Saturday, March 3, 2007
Patrick Ewing had the dunk, his long arm driving the ball through the basket with authoritative might. Alonzo Mourning had the blocked shot, rejecting the ball into the stands with an accompanying scowl. Allen Iverson had the crossover, the flash and panache that broke defenders down.
Jeff Green, asked to describe what epitomizes him as a basketball player, answers without hesitation.
"Handling the ball at the top and hitting my guy going backdoor on the bounce pass," Green says. "That's my favorite play. I love throwing the bounce pass to my teammates."
The first prominent player of Georgetown basketball's next century has an old school game and a laid-back demeanor, which sets him apart on the Hilltop, where the personalities of the coaches and players have been so strong and defined.
He cut off his long braids -- which gave him a distinctive look and the nickname "Predator" as a freshman -- because he wanted a more "grown man" look. He doesn't have a single tattoo. Deferential even though he is clearly the best player on the ninth-ranked Hoyas, Green describes himself as the Robin to 7-foot-2 center Roy Hibbert's Batman.
Should Green grab four rebounds today against Connecticut in the Hoyas' final home game of the season, he will join Reggie Williams, one of the school's all-time greats, as the only players in program history to amass at least 1,000 points, 600 rebounds and 300 assists. Next Tuesday, he could be named Big East player of the year, becoming the first Hoya to win the award since Mourning in 1992.
If Green does win -- which would make him only the sixth player to be named both the Big East rookie of the year and player of the year -- it will be a testament to his versatility, not his scoring or any one incredible gift belonging to Hoyas of the past. Green is averaging 13.5 points this season, which leads the Hoyas but is only 22nd in the conference.
"You kind of distinguish a player on what he's great at and what he's bad at, but you can't say that Jeff is bad at anything," junior forward Patrick Ewing Jr. said. "Every aspect of his game is a step ahead of everybody else."
"Jeff Green is a basketball player," Coach John Thompson III said. "When you start trying to label him, saying he's a big guy or a small guy, all of a sudden he does things that are the opposite of what you were saying. He is a basketball player. I can put him at any spot on the floor, and he can have success."
Green leads Georgetown in assists and is second in rebounding, blocked shots and made three-pointers. Ewing Jr. likes to refer to Green as a "new-age Scottie Pippen," which is appropriate, considering that the former Chicago Bull is Green's favorite player. One of Green's goals is to record a triple-double -- which would be only the second in program history (Mourning has the other) -- and he came close in the win at Villanova (19 points, 9 rebounds, 8 blocked shots).
Three Hoyas are asked to describe their ultimate Jeff Green play, and it is illustrative of Green's versatility that they come up with three different answers, none of which involves him scoring.
Ewing Jr. picks a blocked shot: "The other team will have a fast-break layup or dunk, and then you'll just see Jeff come out of nowhere and sky over whoever it is and make the play. . . . You're just like, 'Wow, how did he do that?' "