Green shoots for record Senior enters tourney 57 shy of Loyola mark

March 07, 1992|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Staff Writer

ALBANY, N.Y. -- He was overshadowed by flashier players at Dunbar High and was underappreciated by college talent hunters.

But no one has made more of an impact at his school than Kevin Green has at Loyola College, where he is challenging a career scoring record that has stood for more than 40 years.

As the wiry, senior guard leads the Greyhounds into the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament against Iona tomorrow, he will be gunning for Jim Lacy's record of 2,199 points, and he will have plenty of people rooting for him.

Including Lacy.

"He's a nice young man, very quiet and unassuming," said Lacy, a charter member of the school's athletic Hall of Fame and an adviser to the Loyola College Athletic Fund.

"Kevin has a great shooting touch and he's not just a shooter, but a floor man, too. If he breaks it, I'd like to see him do it four games from now. That will mean the team is in the big tournament. Then, it would be well worth it."

Green, who is averaging 20.3 points a game, is 57 points behind the standard Lacy set through the 1948-49 season. He will need at least two games to make a serious run, and the Greyhounds have not gotten past the first round in their previous two MAAC tournaments.

"I can't help but think about it, being the all-time leading scorer," said Green, whose career high is 39 points in a four-overtime game. "It would be a great feat. But it's not like it's a must. If I get it, fine, but the team winning is the most important thing."

Both Lacy and Green believe that if the team reaches the championship game of the tournament, the record is history.

Not a bad career for a kid from West Baltimore (Edmondson Village area) who handled a lot of the blue-collar jobs for a Dunbar team headed by Sam Cassell, a sensation this season as a junior playing his first year at Florida State.

"Kevin was kind of in the background," said Poets coach Pete Pompey. "You didn't even know he was around unless you asked him a question. You needed a can opener to get him to talk."

As a result, only Loyola and UMBC offered scholarships. Green wanted to stay close to home and chose Loyola because "I thought I could be a good player here. It was the best academically and for basketball."

The union has worked marvelously. Off the court, Green will earn his degree this spring in sociology, and he wants to attend law school.

But not before giving professional basketball a shot.

"I don't want to just give up basketball when I leave," he said. "If it's not in the NBA, maybe overseas. Law school is a while down the road."

Don't bet against him. A strong work ethic is the underlying secret to Green, who has improved his defense, rebounding and floor play, not to mention his academic work, through sheer effort.

"His work habits have always been incredible," Pompey said. "He vTC was a decent student, but he applied himself. You don't find a lot of kids with talent who work at it as hard as Kevin. I don't know if I've ever known a finer young man."

Green has the instinctive offensive moves of a legion of Baltimore players, is quick to shoot off the dribble and has excellent range.

He said he learned to loft shots quickly as a youngster on the playgrounds. "It was the only way to get the ball off against all the bigger guys."

"You have to play the whole package," Pompey said. "You can't park up on Kevin because he'll go around you. His first step is lightning. And he's got a big-time jump shot that sets up everything else."

Lacy set the record with perhaps the best two Greyhound teams (24-7 in 1947-48 and 25-8 in 1948-49) that dominated the state and the old Mason-Dixon Conference.

He also holds the single-game (44 points), single-season (676) and career free throw records (613 for 768) at the school.

It was still the era of the two-handed set shot, and the game was paced more leisurely.

"The game is much more physical now," Lacy said. "Players are much bigger, faster, stronger and more athletic. More than in any other sport, I think the basketball players are so much better today. It's such a different game.

"Kevin is an exception, but the only thing I think we had, on average, on today's players is shooting ability. It seems to me they miss an awful lot of three-pointers, and it's not a hard shot."

If Green overtakes him, Lacy will be the first to offer his endorsement.

"I like the idea of somebody from Dunbar doing it," he said. "He was the first Dunbar kid at our school and maybe more will want to come to a school like Loyola. A lot of them have gone to bigger schools and not achieved nearly as much as he has."

Green's stats

/%.. . Year .. .FG 3PT .FT ..Tot. Avg.

.. ..1988-89 154 .45 .77 ..430 .15.4

.. ..1989-90 204 .32 103 ..543 .19.4

.. ..1990-91 215 .36 154 ..620 .22.1

.. ..1991-92 200 .47 102 ..549 .20.3

Totals .. .. 773 160 436 2,142 .19.3

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