The NBA Draft has the potential to be a special moment for Rodney Green.
The former La Salle and Prep Charter guard will celebrate his 22nd birthday on June 24, draft day, and also hopes to be selected.
Before there is any celebration, though, Green has set out on a journey to show teams and scouts why he was considered one of the top players in the Big 5 and Atlantic 10. Last Wednesday, he worked out for the Miami Heat and has three more workouts scheduled - for the Charlotte Bobcats today; a group session hosted by the New Jersey Nets for 23 teams, including the Sixers, on Thursday; and for the Milwaukee Bucks on June 15.
Green plans to soak up everything during the weeks leading to the draft, even though scouts say that at 6-5, 210 pounds, he might not possess the skills to lead a team at the point and is too short to play shooting guard.
"This has been a dream since I was a kid," Green said yesterday from his hotel room in Charlotte. "I'm living my dream. I'm just blessed to get a chance to do this. I just try to be the best player at every workout and do my best."
Green was at his best last season for the Explorers. He led the team in scoring, averaging 18.5 points per contest, also good for was second in the Big 5. Green played a multifaceted game, averaging 5.1 rebounds and 4.3 assists while earning second-team all-Atlantic 10.
In April, he got a chance to showcase his skills to a larger audience during the all-star game during the Final Four weekend in Indianapolis and the Portsmouth Invitational in Virginia. Green scored 18 points in 20 minutes at the Final Four showcase and garnered All-Portsmouth team honors after averaging 16 points over three games. His team also won the championship.
Green says that playing at these events is no different than playing at the park.
"I come with a chip on my shoulder when I play with anybody," he said. "Every time I come on the court I have something to prove. [The Final Four all-star game] was the best experience in my life. The Portsmouth was another great experience. I had fun in both."
The main thing holding Green's NBA career in limbo is the familiar term "tweener." After leading Prep Charter to its first Class AAAA state championship, Green entered La Salle with the reputation as a point guard with the proficiency to put the ball in the basket.
NBA Draft Express and NBADraft.net do not have him getting selected and figure he will latch on with a team as an undrafted rookie free agent. Green insists that he does not pay much attention to the predraft hype.
"None of that is a big deal," he said. "The mock draft is never true. There is no point because it's going to lead you in the wrong direction. I just prove that I am a big guard that can run a team and play defense. I never played the two-guard and I don't want to try it now. I am a big guard, which makes the game easier for me. I am an asset to any team. I never complain. I just work hard."
Green can look to a list of players who were given the tweener label. At his position, Detroit Pistons point guard Rodney Stuckey is an ideal example. They share similar height and ability. Coming out of Eastern Washington in 2007, Stuckey was sought out for his scoring ability but his point skills were questioned. Now, he is considered the point guard of the future for Detroit.
La Salle head coach Dr. John Giannini is confident there is a spot in the league for a big guard with great athleticism who improved his numbers every year in college.
"We have received favorable NBA feedback about Rodney and we are happy he is getting these well-deserved opportunities," he said. "As a draft choice or free agent, he will have a chance to earn a place in the NBA."
The extremely focused Green is putting all his efforts into showing just how good of a "tweener" he can be. In between his workouts with teams, he works out twice each day, with his dribbling skills being a main focus.
Whether or not he is drafted, Green, who recently graduated, will still get a shot at cracking an NBA roster and there will be a celebration of sorts. For the record, he does not have any big birthday and draft night extravaganza planned. A small family gathering will do.
"I'm keeping everything subtle," Green said. "I don't want to have anything too big. My mind-set is just wishing for the best, which is to be drafted. It does not matter what team it is. There would be no better present than that, to get drafted on my birthday."