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Josh Green fond of Arizona’s ‘professional approach’, explains decision to enter NBA Draft

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NCAA Basketball: Washington at Arizona Jacob Snow-USA TODAY Sports

The story is well known by now.

When the Arizona Wildcats scrimmaged Saint Mary’s in October, Sean Miller did not etch Josh Green’s name in the starting lineup. He hadn’t been practicing well enough to deserve it.

That surprised Green, a McDonald’s All-American who entered college believing he’d start from day one. Looking back, that high standard was exactly what he wanted out of his college career, which ended Friday after one season when he declared for the 2020 NBA Draft.

“Coach Miller was really hard on me, and I think that was the best thing for me,” Green told FOX Sports Australia. “He wouldn’t be afraid to do the [prima donna] stuff. He wouldn’t treat you like you’re better than everyone else. He brings everyone down to earth. Then, every day at practice, you’re competing against some of the best players around the nation on one team.

“The whole aspect of Arizona; the way they treated recovery, lifting in the weight room, everything like that, it was all a professional approach to make sure you’re ready to go for the pros.”

Green wound up starting every game he appeared in for the Wildcats and went on to have a pretty solid freshman season, averaging 12 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists and 1.5 steals per game.

Miller said Green’s competitiveness and athleticism give him “incredibly high” NBA potential. The Athletic’s draft guru Sam Vecenie told us similar things, saying Green’s defensive ability and transition offense could get him on the court pretty quickly at the next level, though his shooting will determine his long-term upside.

While the Aussie made a respectable 36 percent of his 3-pointers at Arizona, it was a pretty small sample size, he was streaky, and his mechanics aren’t the smoothest.

Green is well aware that his game needs polishing, but he told FOX Sports that “I feel like I’ll be able to learn that in the NBA.”

And get paid handsomely for it. Green is projected to be a mid-to-late first-round pick, meaning his rookie salary will be somewhere between $3 million and $1.7 million.

Be sure to check out FOX Sports’ full feature here.