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Leave for Green-er pastures

May 16, 2001

Leave for Green-er pastures



Ex-Goretti star takes his chance with North Texas

By BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

There are many stories of athletes who sign to play for colleges based on everything they will get from a university besides an education. And then there is Lee Green, a story unto himself.

The former St. Maria Goretti star held out for two things in his recruiting whirlwind - a chance for experience and a chance to play. And like a no-look pass, they both came out of nowhere, convincing Green to sign a letter of intent to play basketball for North Texas.

Green signed with North Texas, sight unseen, after playing the last two seasons for Allegany College in Cumberland, Md. He was the multipurpose guard and sixth man for a Trojans' team which went 32-3 this season and finished second in the NJCAA national tournament. He signed with little fanfare and without a visit for one main reason.

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"In life, you gotta take chances," Green said. "I'm ready to go with the flow. I was talking with one of my teammates who is from Texas and he said it's a nice place."

Green will be starting at ground level along with the Eagles' program. North Texas, a school in Denton, Texas, in the Sun Belt Conference, has a new coaching staff and a new philosophy after a 4-24 record last season. Green agreed to sign without ever visiting the school.

"It's a good situation for him," Allegany College coach Bob Kirk said. "He will be solid for them. He will go down there and do the things he needs to do to be successful. Lee is a good defensive player."

Green had received some interest from schools including Towson State and St. Bonaventure and visited a few other Division I schools, but was bypassed and overlooked in the unscientific world of recruiting. North Texas presented itself after its coaching change.

"Fred Rike had seen us play and saw Lee while he was an assistant with Lefty Driesell at Georgia State," Kirk said. "(Rike) moved on to become an assistant at North Texas and called to see if Lee was still available."

Rike left Georgia State to join the staff of Johnny Jones in April. Because of the late change, Green is a godsend to North Texas as the program's first signee.

"Lee is a very solid point guard," Jones said. "He's capable of handling the ball, taking care of the ball and getting you into your offense and getting the ball into the hands of the right people. We're very fortunate to sign a player of his caliber."

The 6-foot-3 Green played point, shooting and swing guard positions for the Trojans, averaging 10 points, three rebounds and five assists off the bench. Allegany was 60-5 during Green's stay.

Green, who leaves today to visit the school, liked the possibilities the North Texas situation presented to take the signing risk.

"I think this is a good decision," Green said. "They seem like a family with good coaches who are coming from Alabama and Georgia State. They told me that they expect to win 15 games or more and that I'm going to get a lot of playing time. They want to give me the ball and let me run the team. The coaches are used to winning and they want to win now. I'm ready to step in and make the best out of it."

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