Happy Returns

By Tony

Last season, Georgetown won the Big East regular season title, claimed the Big East Tournament Championship, and advanced to the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament. One of the great aspects of that team from one year ago was their cohesion and togetherness. However, one player clearly separated himself, making vital plays throughout the season, always seemingly when they were most needed – Jeff Green.

After the season, Green decided to forego his senior year in order to enter the NBA draft. Yesterday, he made his first appearance at the Verizon Center as an NBA player, and HoyaHoops.com was there to be a part of the homecoming. Green’s Seattle Supersonics were defeated by the Washington Wizards 108-86. We had an opportunity to speak with Jeff about life in the NBA, memories from being a Hoya, and about the current Georgetown team.

The Sonics have struggled so far this season with a record of 9-24, but Jeff is taking things in stride and enjoying his rookie year. “Yeah, I’m having a lot of fun,” Green said. “This is my dream, living my dream and you just got to have fun with it, and that’s what I’m doing.”

Last year, the Hoyas played 37 games all year, but the most recent game for the Sonics was #33 in an 82-game season. So far, Green has been able to avoid fatigue by following the help of some of his older teammates. “I have a good number of guys around me who are teaching me how to control myself and how to better myself throughout the season, staying healthy and trying to get my rest, eat healthy. It helps you throughout the season so I’ve been doing that and listening to them.”

Green is now 3,000 miles away from the Hilltop, but he eagerly said that he still follows the Hoyas very closely. “Oh yeah, most definitely, 11 and 1, just beat Rutgers so I’ve been keeping up with them, talking with them. I talk to Tyler [Crawford] and Jon [Wallace] every day. Just keeping an eye on them making sure they don’t mess up.”

Green has a new perspective and can be more analytical about his former teammates, but he still leaves the advice to the experts. “They’re doing pretty good. They can get a little bit more rebounds, but that’ll come through hard work. I know coach has been on them about it so that’s not in my power to speak about it. Coach is a great coach, and he’s going to get them ready for the next game.”

Returning to the home court where he was named 2007 Big East Player of the Year, Green was willing to reflect briefly on his favorite moment in the Verizon Center as a Hoya. “When we clinched the top seed in the Big East – seeing Coach Thompson hold up the old-school vintage Georgetown sweater was kind of a memory that sticks out in my mind,” Green recalled. “Just being able to play in an arena like this where when you’re in college you look up to NBA players who play here, so it was a good experience to play here, all the students had fun and I had fun.”

Green didn’t have a great performance against the Wizards. He got into foul trouble and only managed 8 points, but for the thousands of fans at Verizon Center who came to see him specifically, the afternoon was a special one. He was wearing Green and Gold when he took the court yesterday, but any time Jeff Green steps on the floor at Verizon Center, Hoya fans will think of all the great things he did when he used to do the same thing wearing Blue and Gray.

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