CSU's Dorian Green Has High Hopes For Rams
Dorian Green, left, was actually a standout baseball player before excelling at basketball.
FORT COLLINS—Dorian Green is a soft spoken, nice, intelligent and articulate young man. He's honest, humble, a natural-born leader.
It is why Green has been the starting point guard for Colorado State since Day One in Fort Collins, and he's a key reason the Rams have improved each of his first two years.
Maybe one of the reasons Green was able to quickly adapt to the college lifestyle was because he grew up in Lawrence, Kansas, home of the Kansas Jayhawks.
He called his hometown great saying, “It's a little like Fort Collins, but back home you can't ski or snowboard so everyone is centered around the university, to an extreme.”
Green knows first-hand about how important Kansas athletics are to the town. His father Darren is a KU alum and played football in college.
The 20-year-old emphasized how important his family is to him--not only his father--but his grandparents as well.
“I think my Dad's been my biggest influence in my life growing up,” Green explained. “In a sports aspect, going and playing basketball games and being able to come home and talk about it. He was always there and always supportive. Him and my grandpa, too.
“My grandpa and grandma probably never missed one of my sporting events until I came to college.”
And Green's father, also a dominant college athlete in his day, was able to give his son advice about adjusting to the competition at the next level.
Dorian Green drives against a UCLA defender.
Photo by Andrew Fielding, Mile High Hoops
“My Dad, playing college, it was just an easy transition, because he said, 'Look, there's going to be times where it's going to be tough in basketball. This is not high school anymore. There's going to be a learning curve and you're going to get used to it.'”
And while Green is an accomplished player on the court now, he didn't fall in love with the sport until sophomore year in high school.
“I was a big-time baseball player. The summers, I didn't travel and play basketball; I traveled and played baseball,” he said.
“I pitched and played outfield. I was mainly a pitcher. I always get made fun of because I wasn't a very good hitter,” Green said with a laugh.
“In Lawrence, you can't play sports in high school as a freshman. So, my sophomore year I knew I would probably get a chance to play some varsity (basketball). I started playing really well, so I just kind of went with it. I guess my sophomore year is when I really started to say, 'I'm going to play college basketball instead of college baseball.'”
Even Green admitted it was weird that he switched to basketball so late in life and he said it's partly because, “Baseball is kind of boring, basketball is fast-paced.”
During his time in high school he was an amazing athlete and an astute learner. Green took his team to the Kansas state tournament twice—once losing in the championship game—he won a state baseball championship, all while earning a 4.0 GPA in the classroom.
The talented Green had offers from Creighton, Western Kentucky and other schools, but picked Colorado State because, “I felt like this was a place that was on the rise. I knew it was a place that was going up, and I felt like I could contribute, maybe have a chance to contribute as a freshman, I didn't know it was going to be to that extent.”
Rams Head Coach Tim Miles broke down his recruitment of Green saying, “Well watching him play, one of the more interesting things you do when you go into somebody else's environment you find out what other people think of the prospect.
“And, I remember after Dorian's game, there were seven different people lined up; teachers, assistant coaches, baseball coaches, the guy that employed him in the summer and they were all like, 'This is the best kid.'”
Green set a freshman record in 2009-10 for Colorado State by starting in every one of the Rams' 32 games, and he averaged the most minutes on the floor at 35 per contest. Green said he realized he was fortunate to play and contribute so much in his freshman year, and he was honest when remembering last year and how his production dropped off a bit.
“I didn't shoot the ball very well last year, especially in conference. It was frustrating because I wasn't hitting shots I was used to hitting. I got a little frustrated at times and I wasn't as aggressive as I should have been.”
Still, despite the point guard's decrease in scoring last season, Colorado State enjoyed winning its most games in 20 years. And while he realizes that making the NIT was an accomplishment, Green wanted to make it clear that wasn't the goal.
“My freshman year we went to the CBI and last year the NIT. We're trying to get to the NCAA Tournament. Like we said from Day One, we want to get to the NCAA Tournament and win when we get there and cause a stir.”
How will they get there? By employing a higher-tempo attack that gets many of the Rams' talented players involved.
“This year, there's an element of surprise,” Green said. “Nobody knows what's going to happen. It's faster and I think it's going to be good for me because I'm used to playing at a faster pace because in high school we played at a chaotic pace at times. It's going to be fun if we can value the ball and get a lot of people touches.
“Nobody knows where the scoring is going to come from right now because we don't have one set guy that we're running a bunch of options through, it's everybody.”
Miles spoke highly of his junior point guard and what he's meant to the CSU program.
“Great guy. Fun to be around. Very intelligent. His recall is amazing, and yet, he can make jumpers and drive closeouts and play defense. So, he's really been a blessing for us.
“We put Dorian on the floor because we trust him, we know he's a good player from the second he stepped on campus.”
Yes, Ram fans got lucky when Dorian Green stepped onto their campus.
He's a smart kid, a willing learner and leader, a skilled player—someone that can take Colorado State to the next level.
Rich Kurtzman is a freelance journalist based in Fort Collins. Along with being your CSU Rams Examiner, Kurtzman writes for Blake Street Bulletin, Stadium Journey, Bleacher Report, and Mile High Hoops.
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