Frederick County’s Green lands with Denver Nuggets

Posted: June 28, 2013

The Winchester Star

Millbrook High School basketball standout, and the ACC Player of the Year while at Virginia Tech, Erick Green watches the NBA Draft Thursday with family and friends in his Frederick County home. He was drafted by the Utah Jazz with the 46th pick and traded to the Denver Nuggets. (Photo by Jeff Taylor/The Winchester Star)
Erick Green watches the NBA Draft Thursday with his mom Tamara and friends in his Frederick County home. He was picked by the Utah Jazz and traded to the Denver Nuggets. (Photo by Jeff Taylor/The Winchester Star)

WINCHESTER — With about 100 family members and close friends anxiously waiting and watching Thursday night’s NBA Draft with former Millbrook and Virginia Tech standout Erick Green, his selection sent off a roar that was likely heard throughout his neighborhood.

More than four hours after the draft started at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., Green was selected in the second round (46th overall) by the Utah Jazz and then traded to the Denver Nuggets.

Green hugged his parents, Erick Green Sr. and Tamara, along with his younger sister Courtni and he was greeted with chants of “Erick Green” and “Here we go Jazz” for more than a minute.

For Green, the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year, the waiting was truly the most difficult part of the draft process Thursday night at his Frederick County home.

“It was hard to wait and not knowing where you’re going to go,” said Green, who led the nation in scoring (25.4 points) as a senior at Tech this past year. “The draft was crazy this year. I’m not even mad. I’m not upset. I was hoping to go in the 20s, but 40s — oh well, it doesn’t really matter.

“We thought maybe Denver would take me at 27 as a point guard but they didn’t and then they [traded] for me at 46.”

Even though a first-round draft pick offers more stability with a two-year guarantee, the silver lining for Green is that he’ll be going to a Denver franchise where he will have a great mentor in former North Carolina guard Ty Lawson. Green and Lawson have both worked with Keith Stevens, Green’s former coach with the D.C.-based Team Takeover AAU basketball team.

“Me and Ty have been pretty cool, so there’s no better person to learn from than someone like family,” Green said. “They need a point guard, and a scoring guard, so I think it’s a great fit.”

Tamara Green, who first announced details of the trade from Utah to Denver, said it was a difficult watching the draft picks go by throughout the first round, but she said she couldn’t be happier with Erick going to the Nuggets

“I know [the waiting] was hard on [Erick],” said Tamara, “but this is a good situation for him.”

Green worked out for about 15 NBA teams, including two visits to the San Antonio Spurs, and the lively gathering did seem somewhat dejected when the Spurs did not select him with the 28th overall pick.

By falling to the second round, Green will have to earn his roster spot.

“It’s a good time to prove myself,” said Green, who was the first player at Virginia Tech to lead the nation in scoring and the first to be named ACC Player of the Year. “They’ve got Ty and Andre Miller, so I get a chance to learn from two great point guards. I’ll go in and hopefully contribute.

“I’m just excited to get to Denver and start my career.”

Green’s parents both thanked the family and friends who stayed throughout the draft to see Erick’s selection and the community for helping with the Rising Stars — the AAU basketball program that Erick Green Sr. established when Erick was in middle school.

“I just want to thank you guys for all of the support,” Erick Green Sr. said. “Tonight is a celebration of Erick’s patience.”

While the draft tested his patience, the start of his career at Tech also tested his perseverance. He went from a player who averaged just 2.6 points per game as a freshman at Tech to becoming the nation’s leading scorer as a senior this year.

And his hard work throughout a career that saw him win a Group AA state title as a junior at Millbrook in 2008 and then a Division-I state title at Paul VI certainly paid off. His workouts with about 15 NBA teams since March also paid off at the end.

Green said the best part was sharing the draft experience with his family and close friends.

“It’s the greatest,” said Green. “I know people wanted to see me go in the 20s and go earlier — but just seeing my name on national TV [on ESPN], there’s nothing better than that. It’s been hectic, but it’s a great ride. This is a dream come true.”

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