In a way, Devonte Green’s performance at the Jordan Brand Classic was a fitting end to a stellar high school career.
Green, a Long Island Lutheran senior, scored just nine points in Team New York’s 148-128 boys basketball win over Team East in the Regional Game Friday night at Barclays Center. But he also grabbed seven rebounds and tallied game-highs with eight assists and seven steals.
The 6-2 guard has long had the reputation of a scorer. His 20.3 points per game and 42 percent three-point shooting this season only bolstered that.
“Obviously he can score,” Lutheran coach John Buck said, “but for me it’s the defense. When he’s not in the game you can really sense it that he’s not out there. He does it all. He rebounds at a high rate. He scores. He defends. He really became more of a complete player this year.”
In an up-and-down all-star game, Green chose to feature those attributes when he struggled early with his shot.
“Everybody knows what everyone’s trying to do,” he said after shooting 4-for-10 for the game. “Everyone’s trying to score, shoot the ball. I’m trying to stand out for everything else.”
That’s what Indiana coach Tom Crean noticed this winter, just a few months after watching Green compete on the AAU circuit over the summer.
“I really wanted to like him [in the summer], and I did,” Crean said in a phone interview with Newsday. “When I saw him in December, it was a no-brainer. His improvement has been outstanding. He’s really proven that he’s a complete guard who will only get better because you can’t teach how competitive he is and how great a teammate he is.”
Crean offered a scholarship and Green accepted on Jan. 9. Green officially signed his national letter of intent on Thursday.
“The whole college recruiting process is long,” Green said. “It’s just a relief to get it over with.”
Green is part of a recruiting class that includes guards Curtis Jones and Grant Gelon. They will join James Blackmon Jr. and Robert Johnson in a backcourt that loses its star, Yogi Ferrell, to graduation this spring.
Crean said Green will play both guard positions.
He also noted a similarity between Green and older brother Danny, who went from a second-round pick and D-League journeyman to NBA champion with the Spurs.
“What I love is Danny Green’s story, and I love how he has developed and stayed with it and wouldn’t take no for an answer,” Crean said. “When you’ve got that kind of tenacity and perseverance in your blood that’s pretty good, and I think Devonte has that.”
His stat-line Friday in Brooklyn is just the latest indication.