Some smart college basketball coach will venture into the Jungle, Lawrence High’s old and charming basketball gymnasium, to watch the skinny guard with long arms and broad shoulders. Then that smart coach will close his eyes and picture what Dorian Green will look like five years from now.
What he’ll see is a an athlete who started weight training during a red-shirt year and became accomplished at it because that’s what Green does when he sets his mind on something. He’ll see an upper body that looks nothing like it does now. He’ll see an athlete who has spent the past five years practicing daily against far better competition than he faced in high school. He’ll see a guard who helped him to keep his job.
Some college basketball coaches look for flaws, for reasons not to offer the precious few scholarships they have each season. If that’s what they’re looking for in Green, they can point to his lack of strength compared to most high school seniors. They can picture him getting chucked and thrown off balance every time he cuts to the hoop because of that lack of strength.
Prediction: Most coaches who allow that deficiency to prevent them from pulling the trigger with an offer will end up signing a player who won’t contribute to as many victories as Green will in his career.
The smart coach evaluating Green will notice the unselfish way he sets up teammates after blowing by his man. They’ll see his step-back jumper and easily picture him developing a few more moves that will free him for shots. They’ll appreciate his extraordinary court vision and the velocity on his long passes, the touch on his shorter ones. They’ll understand that an athlete with a 4.0 grade-point average and a natural feel for basketball is going to learn at a more rapid pace.
Green and teammates didn’t have their shooting touches Friday night, yet the player who will be the city’s first basketball player to earn a Div. I men’s scholarship since Brady Morningstar (Free State, Class of 2005) still made enough plays to keep the Lions within striking range in a 55-52 loss Friday night to Olathe East.
With Lawrence’s shooters having off nights and without injured Bobby “The Human Floor Burn” Davis on hand to spread the defense with his three-point threat, O-East defenders sagged off their men and collapsed on the driving Green, who still managed 17 points, six rebounds and six assists. Green missed all five of his three-pointers, and the team shot 4-for-23 from long range.
Again, though, it’s not what Green is doing now, it’s what he’s capable of doing once he begins working out with weights and battling daily in practice against other elite athletes, once he has a red-shirt season behind him. That’s what the wise college coaches will envision.
Green, who so far has received offers from Div. I schools Wagner College and University of Missouri-Kansas City, understands that he will be a better basketball player five years from now than one year from now.
“I have to work on my game,” Green said. “If it’s better for me to red-shirt, then I definitely want to play four years and not waste a year. I’m definitely open to anything. If you red-shirt, at a lot of places you can graduate with your masters. There is definitely a benefit to it. Basketball’s going to get me a free education. That’s the most important thing I want to get out of it.”
Whether Colorado State coach Tim Miles, scheduled to be at the Jungle on Tuesday night to evaluate Green against Shawnee Mission South, gives him the chance to reach that goal in Fort Collins could depend on whether the coach can see for miles and miles, all the way into the future.