Home » Columns » Currently Reading:

Jay Greene A Big Key For UMBC

March 17, 2008 Columns 1 Comment




Little Man Comes Up Big For UMBC

by Phil Kasiecki

CATONSVILLE, Md. – Jay Greene has been the “little guy” his whole life. He’s always been viewed that way, with his size defining him to outsiders. When it comes to basketball, a game where size often matters, his size defines him to some even more so.

But a better description of him might be “the little engine that could.” The 5’8″ junior point guard is a prime reason that UMBC – fittingly, a “little guy” in college basketball as a member of the America East Conference – is off to the NCAA Tournament for the first time as a member of Division I, as Greene was the MVP of the America East Conference tournament.

“You look at him, you look at his stature and you say, I don’t know if he can get it done,” said UMBC head coach Randy Monroe. “I’ve had people tell me that. But people know now that Jason Greene is one of the top guards around.”

The middle child of three boys, Greene hails from Whitehall Township, a small suburb just north of Allentown in Pennsylvania and not far from the campus of Lehigh University. The town is less than 13 square miles in land area and has a population of about 25,000. He’s not the first notable athlete to come from there, as New England Patriots center Dan Koppen and former NFL linebacker Matt Millen both hail from there. It’s also in an area that has produced a few Division I players over the years.

When recruiting Greene, Monroe saw the same things that are apparent now. He saw Greene’s ability to make teammates better, he saw that he knows how to win, and also that he can score. If anyone thought Greene was simply a passer and not one who gives the ball away (he had an 8.3 assist/turnover ratio in the America East Tournament and has a 3.6 ratio for the season), he reminded them of his scoring ability in Saturday’s championship game by going 4-6 from long range.

Most of all, Monroe saw that Greene’s stature doesn’t tell the whole story at all. It may be a cliché with players of his size, but Greene is short in stature only and is a warrior with the heart of a lion.

“We often have a nickname for him, ‘Little Scrappy’, and that’s what he is because he finds a way to get it done,” said Monroe. “He is one tough hombre. If I’m going to go to war and be in the foxhole, I’m going to have Jay Greene with me.”

Because of his competitive nature, Greene is perhaps the perfect player to run the team for Monroe, who is very intense on the bench. Monroe is often animated on the sidelines during games, while Greene has the look of a calm, cool and collected leader on the floor. But as with his height, don’t mistake the lack of an obvious game face for a lack of desire. He shows it with his play.

He showed some potential in his first season on the team, then had a better sophomore year. This season, with a few more scoring options, Greene broke loose, leading the conference in assists by a wide margin and shooting nearly 42 percent from long range. Greene facilitated an offense with four double-digit scorers and two sophomores off the bench who are capable of doing that one day. Included in that group are three much-heralded transfers, as well as a player who’s been in the program since Monroe was the head coach in senior Brian Hodges.

With his play this year, Greene was named a First Team All-America East player, and deservingly so. As good as his teammates have been, Greene has been at the nerve center of it all and made everything work. He was certainly deserving of being the conference’s tournament’s MVP. It’s the end result of a journey that’s seen the conference’s smallest player come up big on one of the biggest stages.

“All his life, he’s had to fight and prove people wrong,” said Monroe. “I think there are a lot of people seeing it not only here at UMBC’s RAC Arena, but people around the world had a chance to see one of the best point guards around. He finds a way to make his team better, he finds a way to make players on his team better.”

And when it was all over, Greene didn’t celebrate small; in fact, he leaped right onto the press row table in front of this writer. The viewing audience saw how good he is, and they saw him celebrate the end result.

     

Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. […] Please take a minute to read this piece written about him back in 2008 when he was helping the Retrievers win the America East title and advance to the NCAA Tournament.  THIS SUMS UP THE SPIRIT OF JAY GREENE. […]

Comment on this Article:







Advertisement

Coaching Changes and NBA Draft Early Entrants

The coaching carousel is moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Also, keep track of players who have declared early for the NBA Draft.

Your Phil of Hoops

Young UNLV team grows in Brooklyn

November 23, 2014 by

unlv

Teams often grow from early season tournaments, and that appears to be what UNLV did in Brooklyn. The young Runnin’ Rebels need the experience.

Simply put, Syracuse needs to improve offensively

November 22, 2014 by

syracuse

Jim Boeheim didn’t have many things to say about his team’s offense, but that said it all. It’s at that end of the floor that Syracuse’s fate this season will be determined.

Growing pains are here for talented Brown team

November 20, 2014 by

brown

Brown has good talent and should be a factor in the Ivy League, but with three sophomores starting on the perimeter, growing pains are in the foreseeable future

Hoopville Archives

Reader Poll

This poll is closed! Poll activity:
start_date 17/11/2014 12:00:00
end_date 22/11/2014 00:00:00
Poll Results:
Which conference will be the best one in 2014-15?

2014 Prep School Tour

Missed a recap of an open gym workout? We have them all right here for you.

Sept. 9: Putnam Science Academy
Sept 10: Commonwealth Academy
Sept. 11: St. Andrew's
Sept. 12: Northfield Mount Hermon
Sept. 16: Brewster Academy and Phillips Exeter
Sept. 17: Brooks School
Sept. 21: Holderness School
Sept. 23: St. Thomas More and Marianapolis Prep
Sept. 24: South Kent School and Kent School
Sept. 25: Williston Northampton
Sept. 28: Wilbraham and Monson Academy and Suffield Academy
Sept. 30: New Hampton
Oct. 5: Worcester Academy
Oct. 7: Brimmer and May
Oct. 8: Cushing Academy
Oct. 9: Tilton
Oct. 12: Tabor Academy and Rivers School
Oct. 14: The Master's School
Oct. 16: Vermont Academy

You can also find them all right here.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

New England Prep Schools 2014-15: looking back and looking ahead

November 3, 2014 by

nepsac

With a series of prep school open gym visits in the book and the season not far away, here’s a look back at open gyms and a look forward to the season in the New England prep school ranks.

Marianapolis Prep will battle in Class AA

October 20, 2014 by

marianapolis

Marianapolis Prep is far from loaded with talent, but they have enough perimeter talent to be dangerous. As is usually the case, they will battle and be a tough out in Class AA.

New Vermont Academy coach has put together a contender

October 17, 2014 by

vermontacademy

Vermont Academy has a new coach for the second year in a row, but they shouldn’t skip a beat. They have enough talent to win a lot of games and make a deep run in NEPSAC Class AA.

The Master’s School has good students and talent

October 15, 2014 by

mastersschool

The Master’s School has a number of good students, and they will continue to head to college later. This time around, they also have some talent on the hardwood and should win a few more games.

Rivers will try to build on a breakthrough season

October 13, 2014 by

riversschool

The Rivers School had a breakthrough season last year, winning the Independent School League. They will try to build on that with a team that loses a lot but also returns a lot from last season’s team.