By LARRY VAUGHT
At the time Blair Green gave her verbal commitment to Kentucky, there was a lot of uncertainty about coach Matthew Mitchell’s program.
After the 2015-16 season, Mitchell’s entire coaching staff left for various reasons. He also had a mass exodus of players. Yet in September of 2016, the Harlan County star gave her commitment to UK before the start of her junior season.
Other players that had been committed to UK changed their minds. But not Green and UK’s successful 2016-17 season only validated her belief in Mitchell.
“I am really excited about going down there. I feel like I can add to it and we can build this program up again,” Green said last week before the leading the Kentucky junior all-stars to a win over the senior all-star team that played Indiana.
“I just feel like the season they had just makes me think we can do this. The girls who have been committing shows the Kentucky fans we are here and ready to build this program up to where it should be. The freshmen coming in are great players. I have played against them. I am excited they are all coming.”
The 6-0 Green is a top 40 player in the 2018 recruiting class. She averaged 23.1 points and 7.2 points for 28-3 Harlan County — coached be her mother, Debbie Green — last season. She shot 53.8 percent overall from the field, including 43.8 percent from 3-point range, and 77 percent at the foul line.
She spent most of May playing with Kentucky Premier, a standout AAU team that has lost just one game this season. This month she’s playing with her high school team and then in July “it starts big-time” again with Kentucky Premier.
She is one of the leading candidates for 2018 Miss Basketball honors.
“It would mean a lot. To go to play for Kentucky and be Miss Basketball in Kentucky, that would be such an honor. One of my best friends, (Kentucky junior) Maci Morris, got it. Just following in her footsteps would be amazing,” Green said. “It (Miss Basketball) has always been a big deal. Mom has always talked about it.”
Her mom, Debbie Green, is her high school coach and also a former UK player. Her mother went to school with Morris’ mother.
Morris won Miss Basketball honors at Bell County and is already trying to help Green. The two worked out together recently when Morris visited Green.
“Maci is Maci. She is so much fun and her game is just unbelievable,” Green said. “She surprised a lot of people even from her hometown by coming to Kentucky and starting. I don’t think a lot of people thought she could do that but I know how good she is. When we work out together she helps me and gives me faith in my game.”
Green has a definite list of what she wants to work on this summer to get ready for her senior season as well as her Kentucky career.
“Definitely my 3-point shot. Getting to the rim more. I am more of a pull-up shooter. Getting more consistent and accurate with my shooting is a big thing. Working on footwork. Just things for college level basketball that I know I have to do, or do better,” she said.
Green plans to attend camp at Kentucky this week where she can work out with coaches and pick up “some things” to work on when she returns home.
Green knows younger players in eastern Kentucky look up to her just like they did Morris — and Kentucky sophomore football player Kash Daniel of Paintsville.
“Just because you are from the mountains does not mean you cannot go out and do stuff. You don’t have as many opportunities to get seen and stuff, but my success gives them hope and the better I do, the more hope it gives them they can do the same thing,” Green said.
Can't find something?