Wednesday, December 19, 2012
KU, Greene on journey to maximize talent
By Dave Telep
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Kansas-bound ESPN 100 shooting guard Brannen Greene (Monroe, Ga./Tift County) is a heck of a talent.
In terms of confidence when it leaves his hand, I’m of the opinion you bet on the make way more than the miss with Greene. It’s a beautiful jump shot with a strong release and good balance. For Greene, it’s his calling card. The trick, in terms of getting the most out of him, will be the evolution of his game that doesn’t hinge on that jumper.
When some players make their college selection you intuitively know the place, coach or environment aren’t conducive to that specific player improving. Many elite players simply need a great match to jump start their talent and assist in maximizing their abilities.
Kansas commit Brannen Greene can score with the nation's best wings.
Bill Self is right coach for Greene, but it won’t be a smooth overnight transition. For most freshmen, it rarely is. The first few weeks of Greene's career at Kansas will be eye-opening. He’ll be asked to play harder than he ever has, and that means both ends of the floor and in the lane as a rebounder. Practice will be a daily test of who has the stronger will.
At 6-foot-6, Greene has shown the ability to post up, but he doesn’t do it enough. In high school it’s an advantage and he should utilize it more, play to that strength.
During those initial weeks in Lawrence, Kan., Greene will be faced with a choice: work through the adversity or play limited minutes. He’s not the first player at KU who will face this challenge. Travis Releford went through it, and so did Brandon Rush. Perry Ellis and Andrew White are battling through it now. At Kansas, there is no cruise control. In Lawrence, the first few weeks of practice are called “Boot Camp” for a reason.
Greene has natural gifts that give him inherent advantages over his peers. So far at the City of Palms Classic, Greene has experienced success in the scoring column (26 points in a win over Eagle's Landing), but there’s an air of casualness that is the elephant in the room. Given his considerable talent, you watch the game and sense there’s more he can give as a senior leader and top-50 talent.
An effortless shooter, he’ll be asked to put forth more effort defensively for the Jayhawks. The contact he avoids now will be routine after a few days in the Kansas system. It’s called being a freshman for one of the more demanding but instructive players' coaches in America.
Self has proven over time that he can coach players who aren’t as intense or focused as they need to be. Those players are always faced with a decision: buy in or watch someone else play who does. In another program, Greene might be coddled and given a path of lesser resistance. Not in Lawrence.
Greene has already challenged himself. He did that when he made the decision to play for Self. The next part will come this summer when coach and player butt heads in an effort to help each other and take Greene from good to great. If he buys in and embraces competing day in and day out, Greene’s game can make another leap. After all, isn’t that the goal for all parties involved?