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Green has new method to make assists count

May 23, 2010|By BOB PARASILITI

Lee Green is a lifelong assist man.

Like Ed McMahon, Dr. Watson and Robin before him, Green has been comfortable being the second banana who makes a teammate look better.

In Green's case, it was all on the basketball floor ... and still is.

In former days, the Hagerstown native was a point guard. He spent his time dealing passes to help teammates score while playing at St. Maria Goretti, Allegany College of Maryland and the University of North Texas. He even tried his hand at it as a semipro basketball player.

But after spending almost his entire life assisting others, he came to realize he could do even more.

"There is a time when you have to be honest with yourself," Green said. "You have to look at the big picture. When I was playing semipro ball in Las Vegas, I said I could keep doing this and have a minimum impact or I could move on and find something that would allow me to have a huge impact. It all goes to finding your place."

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So now, Green has redefined his assists. He traded in his mouth guard for a whistle and created Lee Green Basketball, a camp and school that specializes in developing young players in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. For four years, he has taken what he has learned as a player and is using it to impact Dallas-area youths.

"I have found my niche to give back," said the 29-year-old Green. "About 90 percent of the kids who come to the school have been told that they can't play the game by someone. I'm changing their beliefs. I'm helping to show that they can play and that helps with their self esteem and confidence. It points them in the right direction. The Lord put me in a position to help these kids."

And Green found out a man's place changes over time.

When he was younger, it was all about playing. After graduating from Goretti in 1999 with the Washington County Player of the Year title in his pocket, he went to Allegany. There, he helped lead the Trojans to the 2002 national junior college championship game before making a knee-jerk decision to attend North Texas.

"I signed the letter-of-intent without ever seeing the school," he said. "It was all about the basketball then."

He started for two seasons at North Texas before trying his hand in Las Vegas in a semipro league. There he realized his place was changing and his life was about to take a detour.

"Through different experiences of playing basketball, you learn so much," he said. "Basketball teaches you about life. It is a game where you can control your own destiny because when the ball is in your hands, you make the decisions. You have your ups and your downs while you play, but you have to learn to keep yourself in the middle to see that big picture."

"My place wasn't playing after I got out of college. It wasn't for me. I didn't have the patience for it. I wanted to get married and have a family. When I turned 24, I found out that I had a different route. I got saved in 2004 and once I gave my life over to God, everything started to turn."

Initially, Green's decision took him away from basketball to a 9-to-5 job.

"I felt like I had so much to give," Green said. "I hooked up with a coach who was working with youth basketball and I was helping out. I got hooked and I had to take a leap of faith. That was scary because you never know what is on the other side. But, that is what life is all about."

In 2006, Green opened his school. He sat down and wrote out a plan of how he wanted it all to work out, but said he found out "what you want isn't always what you get."

With one other coach, Green opened his doors with the prospects of 15-20 players coming to his first session. When the session started, there were only two students on the floor.

"We looked at each other and said 'What are we going to do?'" Green said. "We decided to work them and help them improve."

After the humble --and humbling --beginnings, Lee Green Basketball is now 150 players strong, both boys and girls.

On one of his Web sites, Green professes, "Our purpose is to provide players with a solid basketball foundation, helping them to master the advance skills and fundamentals that will keep them a step ahead of their competition."

Camps are offered for players ranging from fourth grade to high school seniors. He offers general camps along with specialty instruction targeting certain aspects of the game. He also offers downloadable books to give coaches teaching points.

A second website is for North Texas Heat Basketball, which is for the game with a message. It is "a Christian-based select basketball organization" that takes "pride in being Christ-like examples to the youth involved in the program."

The motto for the site is Matthew 6:33: "Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything that you need."

The two organizations have completed Green's beliefs and "leap of faith."

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