Parasiliti: Green invests in future while paying his dues

October 21, 2012|By BOB PARASILITI
  • Bob Parasiliti
Joe Crocetta

Lee Green has taken the pledge.

He’s taking membership in a special fraternity. It is one of serving, helping and nurturing.

The former St. Maria Goretti star is living a life of basketball, the dream that he has harbored in the days even before he was running the floor in the Gael Center.

Back then, he wanted to be a player. But with time and wisdom, Green found his true calling.

Now, he wants to teach players.

Green, now based in Dallas, came back to his roots on Saturday to host the Maryland Preseason Skills Clinic on the Goretti campus. It’s a far-reaching arm of Lee Green Basketball, the organization he created in 2006 to help up-and-coming players gain structure and focus to excel in the game he loves.

He brought this clinic home, far away from Texas. You see, when you are a member of the coaching and teaching club, dues are involved.

“I never forget where I came from,” said Green, a 1999 Goretti graduate. “I want to come back here and pay it forward.”

For Green, Saturday was another day when he remained a part of the game that has provided so much direction in his life. He proves that you don’t have to wear a uniform to be an impact player.

Instead, his way of being a game-changer is summarized in a line at the bottom of the webpage — “Success leaves footprints. Are you following them?”

Green is where he is today because he followed his personal roadmap to his own Mount Rushmore. Standing at the base, Green looks up and sees five images: Todd Rideout, Cokey Robertson, Bob Kirk, Johnny Jones — all coaches who shaped his game and life — and his mother, who gave him life.

Rideout and Robinson coached Green through his scholastic years before he played for Kirk at Allegany Community College. Johnson recruited him to the University of North Texas, where he started at point guard for two seasons.

 “They all had an impact on me and helped me get to where I am today,” Green said.

Green credits Rideout for getting him started and Robertson for being firm in his teaching. Kirk took that foundation and taught Green “to be a man” with discipline and structure. Johnson refined those talents on the Division I basketball level.

And his mom? That goes without saying.

“She’s been a major influence in my life,” Green said. “She’s been by my side all the way and has been very helpful to me. I wouldn’t be here without her.”

All of their efforts were channeled into basketball. Green found his calling after his playing days reached a crossroads.

“I told the kids today that there are many more things you can do in basketball than just playing,” Green said. “I played high school, college and semipro basketball. Once I found my passion was in teaching, now I’m trying to do everything I can to maximize my gift.”

It fast forwarded to Saturday, when Green put a group of 25 players though the paces of improvement with a variety of drills to help dribbling, defense, shooting and offensive decision making. It was a firm but caring collection of rapid-fire knowledge aimed at helping with dexterity and fundamentals while promoting quick thinking.

The main messages of the day were “hard work” and “passion,” but Green’s personable, hands-on style sent stronger messages for each camper to hopefully remember after the three-hour session.

“When they walked out that door, I want them to remember passion, work ethic and the idea of setting goals,” Green said. “But I also want them to get outside their comfort zones. There is no reward without risks. I told them that today was going to be challenging and difficult, so don’t be afraid to make mistakes. They will help you learn and grow.

“I can’t ask them to do anything that I won’t do myself. I’m not perfect. I make mistakes. I showed myself as vulnerable … and that’s OK to me. You can’t let others dictate your success. You can’t stop striving for goals.”

Through paying those dues, Green has realized how much emphasis is on perfection in a game where shooting 50 percent is considered fantastic.

“There are some coaches who are about getting it right. They’re controlling,” Green said. “That adds a lot of tension and puts kids in a box. You play better when you play relaxed and free.”

Those philosophies have allowed Green to pay those dues in Dallas, where his developmental organization helps elevate basketball skills while passing on the life skills he learned from his Mount Rushmore.

Many have entered Green’s gym — including some 180 in various programs at any one time. Those enrolling for instruction are of various ages and talent levels. Some have learned well enough to take their games to the college level.

Green brought that message to Hagerstown when he could have easily gone to bigger and more populated areas. But none would be as important.

“I could be in places where I could have a bigger response and could charge more money,” Green said. “But it’s not about the money. It’s all about giving back to the home base and repaying where I got started.”

Green plans to hold more clinics to help players in his hometown.

That’s because there is no place like home.

Which makes paying it forward worth every cent of Lee Green’s dues.

Bob Parasiliti is a sports writer for The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-791-7358 or by email at

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