2 Players on Center Stage, But Only 1 Does the Talking
Saturday, March 17, 2007
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C., March 16 -- Jared Dudley, Boston College's irrepressible senior forward, once gave himself the nickname "JeBron." Two years ago, the Eagles traveled to Cleveland for the first weekend of the NCAA tournament, and when the players got off the plane, recalled senior Tyler Neville, Dudley flipped open his cellphone and pretended to make a call: "LeBron, it's JeBron. We're in town. What are you going to do?"
Georgetown senior Kenny Izzo smiles when the story is recounted to him. He is then asked if Dudley's Hoya counterpart, junior forward Jeff Green, has ever done something similar.
"I could never see him giving himself a nickname like that," Izzo said. "Maybe one time he'll throw up a shot and call himself Redick [after the former Duke star, J.J.] or he'll do a move and call out an NBA player's name, but he knows he's Jeff."
That illustrates the difference between Dudley and Green, who will take center stage when their teams meet on Saturday afternoon in an East Region second-round game in Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum. But the two players -- who were honored as the very best in their respective leagues, the ACC and the Big East -- resemble each other in many other ways, from their versatility to their basketball intelligence to the way they can dominate a game without scoring.
"They are very similar in that regard," Georgetown Coach John Thompson III said. "There have been numerous games that both have played in where they may have scored points, but they've dictated the outcome in so many different areas."
The 6-foot-7 Dudley leads the Eagles in scoring (19 points) and rebounding (8.3) and is second on the team in assists (3). The 6-foot-9 Green leads the Hoyas in scoring (14.3 points) and is second on the team in rebounding (6) and assists (3.2).
Boston College senior Sean Marshall describes Dudley as "the smartest player I've ever played against," which is something that the Hoyas say about Green. Both players are so skilled that opponents and coaches refer to them simply as "basketball players," rather than pigeonholing them simply as forwards. Both prefer team accomplishments to individual ones.
When it is pointed out to Dudley that he has been named first-team all-conference in both the Big East and ACC, he is quick to counter that his career hasn't gone exactly as he'd hoped because he never won a conference title and he never beat Duke. (Two things that Green can claim.)
"He is more aggressive on the offensive end and I am kind of laid-back and I take what the offense gives me," Green said of Dudley. "I can see the resemblance in the size and the way he plays, his height and the way he can handle the ball and the way he can shoot. It's a good resemblance, but I don't try to compare myself to him and I hope he doesn't compare himself to me. We are just two different types of players."
They are certainly two different types of personalities. The three words that Neville would use to describe Dudley are "showman, happy-go-lucky, genuine." For Green, Izzo would use "leader, silent, influential." But it's interesting to note that four of those characteristics could be used for either player.
Dudley is sharp, opinionated and frank. Earlier this season, his candid assessment of Virginia Tech's defense -- "You'll get your looks and an opportunity to score," he said -- was cited as motivation by the Hokies after their 80-59 win. On Friday afternoon, he offered his take on 7-2 Roy Hibbert as a freshman ("He was definitely a little less coordinated back then") and on why he's happier playing in the ACC than in the Big East ("U-Conn. and Syracuse are both good teams, but when you say North Carolina and Duke, it's different -- star power, Tobacco Road and everything").
In regards to Saturday's game, Dudley said: "This tournament isn't about who is better, it's about matchups. And right now, our matchup, I like our matchup with Georgetown. . . . When we've struggled this year, it's when teams have been a lot more athletic than us and over-pressured us. We'll see if [the Hoyas] can do that. I feel confident about our team."
At the end of Boston College's news conference, Dudley scanned the room as he rose from his chair.
"Is there a magazine here?" Dudley said. "Sports Illustrated, I'm trying to get an article. No one's here? All right, after we get this win, hopefully I'll get one."
Forty minutes later, when Georgetown's session concluded, Green simply got up and left.