When Philahoops asked La Salle alum Rodney Green what it meant for him to be representing the Philadelphia team during The BALL Showcase this Sunday at Hagan Arena, he responded quite emphatically:
“It means a lot!”
“Philly has a lot of good basketball players and for me to be considered one of them is a great feeling,” Green told Philahoops.
Green, who finished his Explorers career in 2010, is excited to get back on the court and play amongst guys that he competed against during his four years tenure at the program located at 19th and Olney.
“Playing against these guys in the Big 5, high school, Sonny Hill … everybody knows each other and the game should be a lot of fun,” he said.
Green and other players participating in the event have made it clear that they look forward to having fun as they are set to play against a talented group of D.C. counterparts, but Green will tell you that Philly’s finest has their mind set out on doing more than just showing up.
“It’s very important that we get the win.” Green said. “We usually get slept on by other cities when it comes to basketball, but we can play just like D.C., Baltimore and New York.”
Determined words voiced by Green, who spent his life growing up in the southwest area of Philadelphia. Attending Prep Charter High School, Green knows first-hand what it’s like to work hard and yet still be overlooked.
“Some get their shot, some don’t,” Green said.
At 6-foot-5 and just over 200 pounds, Green finished his high school career at Prep Charter as the all-time leading scorer. Second and third on that list are current NBA big men Marcus and Markeiff Morris.
One may suggest that the notoriety absorbed by the Morris twins may have shadowed the reality of Green being the best player on the team, but he will tell you that wasn’t the case.
“We were family on that team, and we still are,” the former All-A-10 Second-Team selection said. “On that team we did whatever it took to win.”
Winning is exactly what they did as Green helped lead Prep Charter to the 2006 PIAA Class AA State Championship during his senior year there.
Green then extended his Philly hoops legacy by deciding to play college ball at La Salle University. During his time there Green started off as project transitioning from a post player and into a point guard.
His steady incline in numbers supported the development in his game.
During his freshman season he averaged 12.6 ppg, finishing the season having shot only eight 3-pointers. Sophomore year those numbers went up to 13.4 ppg and you could see his perimeter game progressing as he shot a modest 34 percent from 3-point range (16-for-47). During that season his steals increased as well while his assist total almost doubled from 56 to 101 good for just over three assists per game
In his junior season, Green finished the season having been named to the All-A-10 Second Team after posting a team-high 17.8 points per game. Green had been part of a cornerstone recruiting class for coach John Giannini that seemed poised to make a huge run in the A-10 during the 2009-10 season.
By Green’s senior year, in which he averaged 18.5 ppg, the team was selected to finish fourth-best in the conference. But the predictions were left high and dry after the team was plagued by injuries to three key seniors (Rueben Guillandeaux, Yves Mekongo, and Kimmani Barrett) over the course of the season. The team finished 13th in the A-10 that year while missing the A-10 tournament.
Green finished his career with 1,914 points and 390 assists, good for ninth all-time in both respective categories at La Salle. The big man gone floor general is one of only six players in Big 5 history to record over 600 rebounds and 300 assists.
Despite the hardships faced in his senior season, Green did get a chance to play against his old teammates, (Morris twins) as the former frontcourt trio faced off in a preseason game against University of Kansas.
“One of my most memorable moments was playing Kansas in Kansas (City),” Green said. “Not only did I play against my high school teammates, but that atmosphere was crazy.”
Playing this past season for Mykolaiv in Ukraine, Green averaged just under 17 points per contest to go along with five boards. Although not playing against the Jayhawks in front of 17,000 plus in the bedlam that goes on at Allen Fieldhouse, Green’s time playing in Europe has presented a number of similar hostile environments that he has had to play in.
“It’s like anywhere else you play, you have ups and downs. I think the fans are different overseas,” Green said of his experiences playing internationally. “They really take their sports serious.”
The Palestra, over its history has been the scene of similar fan enthusiasm; Green embraces the memories he had of playing at this venue. Looking back at the competition he faced in the Big 5, some of these former opponents Green will be suiting up with on Sunday.
“Playing in the Big 5 is another great feeling,” he said. “Everybody knows each other so it’s a lot of trash talk, and bragging rights.”
Green sees this weekend as a similar atmosphere in which he hopes to take home bragging rights . . . once again.
-BALL info: Sunday’s The-BALL showcase game is scheduled to tip off at 8 p.m. Click HERE for tickets. … College students who show a valid ID and wear team colors will be admitted for free. … The-BALL is soliciting a team name for the Philadelphia contingent, with the winner receiving courtside seats for 10 people to Sunday’s game. Tweet your suggestions to @TheBALLHoops.
Related story: The-BALL CEO Michael Wranovics talks to Philahoops about the league’s concept.
-Cab Washington covers La Salle for Philahoops. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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