Before the Arizona Wildcats fell apart down the stretch of Thursday’s loss to Oregon, Josh Green had one of the best games of his college career.
The UA coaching staff wants him to be versatile, and he again flashed a well-rounded skill set worthy of a first-round talent.
Green finished with 17 points, shooting 7 for 11 from the field and 2 for 4 from 3. He grabbed five rebounds and was menacing on defense, the highlight coming in overtime when he intercepted a pass and laid it in for the go-ahead layup.
“I thought Josh Green, a lot like he played in our last game, he checked the box in a lot of other ways,” coach Sean Miller said afterwards.
Green also showed why he is such a force in transition. Not just because he is an explosive finisher, but also his ability and willingness to find the open man—even in extreme situations.
Green had two gravity-defying assists against the Ducks. Midway through the first half, he leaked down the left wing, jumped for an outlet pass from Nico Mannion and, in one motion, did a 180 to deliver a pinpoint pass to Ira Lee for a slam:
Josh Green with the DIME pic.twitter.com/mAU7ot45nu— Ryan Kelapire (@RKelapire) January 10, 2020
Early in the second half, Green cut for a backdoor lob but Mannion’s pass drifted too far under the hoop. Somehow, Green still corralled it and hung in the air long enough to find Dylan Smith for a corner 3:
Another gravity-defying pass by Josh Green pic.twitter.com/oF6KyIyK2Y— Ryan Kelapire (@RKelapire) January 10, 2020
Yes, the Wildcats went on to lose the game, and they still haven’t beaten a ranked team this season, but this kind of sheer talent makes you believe they can still have a special season if they can put all the pieces together and learn how to execute in crunch time. For the first 38 minutes, Arizona outplayed the No. 9 team in the country on its homecourt.
Not many teams have players like Josh Green. And not many have supporting casts like Mannion and Zeke Nnaji either.
“Josh is a fun player to watch,” Miller said. “He thrives in transition and one of the things we’re really trying to get him to do is not worry just about his scoring or shooting, but his rebounding on offense and defense, scoring in transition and also being a distributor. Defensively, being able to guard the variety of players that are in the Pac-12. So, he’s very good.”