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Green rolled his ankle while playing a pick-up game with his North Carolina teammates about three weeks ago, and has been sidelined for most of the time leading up to this week’s draft camp. X-rays came back negative, but he did not have a MRI performed following the injury.
The junior New Yorker started for Team No. 6 on Wednesday morning, sporting an aircast on the ankle while tallying nine points on 3-of-10 shooting to go along with four rebounds and a block in 22 minutes of action. But Green was a different player in the second half after he re-injured his ankle during the latter stages of the first 20 minutes.
“It tweaks a little bit here and there,” said Green, who indicated that he felt “about 75 percent” following the game. “It just takes me a little while to run it off. A couple of plays after I run on it, I feel better.”
It doesn’t help that 6-foot-5, 210-pounder is being called on to play extensive minutes at the shooting guard spot instead of his traditional college position of small forward. But Green said that other than his ankle problems, there should be minimal adjustments for him in moving to the two-spot.
“Right now it’s hard to get low and be able to guard these little quick dudes – Mike Taylor was giving me some problems out there,” Green said, highlighting Taylor’s game-high 17 points. “But showing that I can guard smaller guards and showing that I can stay in front of them [is what I need to do]. [Show them] that I’m quick enough. Right now, I can’t show my athleticism because I have no explosiveness, but [I can] show them that my jump shot is consistent and that I can play good defense and show them that I have other game.”
An unfortunate injury would seem to be par for the course for Green, seeing how it’s a mystery how he’s even here. UNC head coach Roy Williams acquired a wealth of information about the NBA possibilities for Tyler Hansbrough, Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington, and that trio announced their decisions in one united press release. Green’s decision was announced 24 hours later.
Green is still not sure how the disconnect between him and his coach transpired.
“I don’t know – you’d have to talk to him about it,” Green said. “I’m just trying to do what I’ve got to do… He’s definitely my coach. He’s been there for me and he’s been supportive, and he’s done all of the right things. I guess he just didn’t know. But when he knew that I wanted to make a decision, he fully supported me and he’s trying his best to help me out and hopefully he continues to do that for me.”
Regardless, Green intends to take full advantage of the NCAA’s rule permitting underclassmen to traverse the NBA landscape – if only for a short while – to find out more information about where they may possibly be drafted. The junior has workouts scheduled with Miami, Cleveland, Washington, and San Antonio. Meetings are also being ironed out with Chicago and Toronto.
Green expects improved health will place more emphasis on the individual workouts than what occurs this week in the land of Disney.
“I feel that I can do better in individual workouts than I’m doing here,” Green said. “Because I think by then my ankle will be a lot better and I’ll be able to show a lot of things that I can do that they think I can’t do – handle the ball, slide, [and] shoot more consistently in drills.”
Various mock drafts and talking heads have Green listed anywhere from a second-round selection to a free agent acquisition, but it really only comes down to one very simple factor – one team’s willingness to take a chance on arguably the nation’s top sixth man.
“I’m trying to get one team to like me – that’s all I’m trying to do,” Green said. “It only takes one. Hopefully I can get one. Just trying to get one team to like me.”