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.’’