AJC Boys Player of the Year: Brannen Greene

Brannen Greene is a 6-foot-7 forward from Tift County. (24/7)

Brannen Greene is a 6-foot-7 forward from Tift County. (24/7)

Brannen Greene, a 6-foot-7 forward from Tift County, is the No. 1-rated senior basketball prospect in Georgia. He averaged 27.0 points, seven rebounds and five assists and signed with Kansas.

Here are some lesser-known facts about The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s all-classification boys state player of the year.

1. Greene’s parents are former basketball players at Pittsburg State in Kansas. Both are assistant coaches on Tift County’s varsity basketball teams. Jeffrey Greene, a former Southwest Macon star, is 6 feet, 5 inches. Lori Cantrell Greene is 6-2.

2. Greene got his first scholarship offer from former Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt the summer after his eighth-grade year. He settled on Kansas after making 10 campus visits. “I’d take a walk from the hotel on one end of campus to the fieldhouse on the other end,’’ Greene said. “Every time I did that, I would run into the college kids, and they’d say, ‘Hey, you’re Brannen, aren’t you?’ They all knew me.’’

3. Greene has a 4.0 GPA. His “far-fetched’’ ambition is to be a heart surgeon.

4. Greene played on AAU teams with older players, even if it meant less playing time. “Having to guard Shannon Scott (now at Ohio State) in practice and learning from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Georgia) was more valuable than coming away with 30 points,’’ his father said.

5. Greene transferred to Tift County from Mary Persons, a Class AAAA school that changed coaches twice in Greene’s three seasons, had not won a playoff game since 1968 and declined invitations to national tournaments that coveted Greene. “I wanted a chance to win a state championship and play at the highest level,’’ Greene said.

6. At Tift County, Greene joined another major blue-chip prospect, junior guard Tadric Jackson. They met several years ago at a tournament. Jackson frequently visited Greene and trained with Greene’s father.

7. Tift County was ranked No. 1 in Class AAAAAA when upset by North Cobb 68-63 in the quarterfinals. The Blue Devils blew a 14-point lead. “I just stood there shocked for about 30 seconds on the court,’’ Greene said. “I never at one point thought we were going to lose until they made those quick seven points. It was very tough to take.’’

8. Greene is a friend of Maya Moore, the former Collins Hill star and NCAA player of the year at Connecticut. Greene watched the high school state finals in Macon as a seventh-grader, and Moore approached him, recognizing him as a budding AAU star. She signed an old basketball that Greene brought. Moore later tried to persuade Greene to go to UConn. The Huskies were Greene’s second choice.

9. Greene is a scorer. “He’s 6-7, and he’s probably the best shooter in the state,’’ said Darron Rogers, coach of Westlake. “Then he handles the ball like a point guard, and he’s big enough that he can take you in the post. And he can guard his position. Those are professional athlete attributes.’’

10. Greene had no regrets about going to Tift County, which played in showcase events in Massachusetts and Florida and won a region title. “I didn’t get to accomplish everything I wanted,’’ he said, “but the season overall was very positive. I built friendships I didn’t have. There are things I can look back on in 10 years and be happy about.’’

12 comments Add your comment

Class of '98

March 22nd, 2013
12:07 pm

Brannen sounds like a good kid and I wish him the best in Kansas. I also wish UGA would someday keep kids like this instate.

KL Southside

March 22nd, 2013
1:32 pm

Awesome kid! Very well spoken.


March 22nd, 2013
2:54 pm

I wish the kid the best of luck at Kansas.

Of course there are some schmuck GT fans somewhere claiming that “academics” is holding us back and that the State of Ga. doesn’t produce enough Academically Qualified recruits for us to compete.

GT’s problem in FB & B-ball is that when we do find academically gifted ATHLETES here in the state of Ga. , we don’t close the deal on them.


March 22nd, 2013
7:47 pm

Very intelligent young man to say the least besides his athletic skills. Best in life for the young man and his family. A job well done!


March 22nd, 2013
9:42 pm

Thats how you raise a kid great job parents not the school teacher that we blame in te Metro Area.

Saguaro Dawg

March 23rd, 2013
10:25 am

Question: What do the top GA HS men and women athletes have in common. Ans: Most all of them leave their home state to play their sport at some other school other then UGA (and tech). Sad.


March 23rd, 2013
3:39 pm

@ Ssdawg: thats because those HC at UGA and GT don’t realize that they need to hire a Great Respected HS Coach from Ga. to help keep the kids home.


March 23rd, 2013
11:44 pm

UGA waves goodbye to another one leaving the State.


March 25th, 2013
6:04 am

Mary Persons hadn’t won a play-off game since 1968?? Bullcrap!! MP was in the state playoffs in basketball several times in the 90’s under Coach Gary Walker; even making it to the macon centreplex. Please do a little fact checking before you print AJC. Wish Greene the best with all his future endeavors.

Paladin Death Dealer

March 25th, 2013
8:27 am

Appreciate everything except the dig at Mary Persons. Coaches around the state have become familiar with the Tift Co. Scenario. They call it recruiting an All Star Team to win a State Championship. It almost worked, and does work most of the time. What makes a guy leave Monroe, Ga. And head 150 miles south with no assurance of playing with other great players to have a chance to win that ring. The motto unfortunately around high school sports in Georgia today is “if you’re not cheating, you’re not trying”. 95% of your state champions and state contenders are bringing in new talent from outside their jurisdictions each and every year. Gerrymander the paperwork and let the big dogs eat. The rule should be that any player who moves in from outside a district after the 9th grade for whatever reason has to sit out one calendar year. All these great players are not gonna give up a year of play just to try to win a ring. Think several states around us have this rule now. Please stop this recruiting. This guy could have made Mary Persons a candidate to win big if he had stayed around. Good luck to this young man at Kansas, but lets stop this “team building”.


March 25th, 2013
11:10 am

Congrats to a great player. Do you honestly think UGA ever had a chance at this kid? UGA keeping in state players is a joke. They have one of the top sophmore guards in their OWN TOWN, in Turtle Jackson, and UGA is not even on this kid’s radar. Billy Donavan proved you can win at an SEC football school, so there is ZERO excuse. Florida and Alabama visted more of Turtle’s games then Mark Fox….and the kid plays 2 miles from his office. Do you think he’s making the trip to Tift County????


March 25th, 2013
6:02 pm

We will see how things pan out