March 31, 2015
While the fate of Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford twists in the wind, the men's basketball program's next great hope, Jawun Evans (Justin F. Kimball High/Dallas, Texas), will take the national stage Wednesday night in the 38th McDonald's All American Game.Evans, a 6-foot point guard who has drawn comparisons to a young Chris Paul, joins a select group of Cowboy recruits that were considered capable of returning the program to national prominence.Three years ago it was Marcus Smart. Four years ago it was Le'Bryan Nash. Eight years ago it was James Anderson.But Monday marked the 10th anniversary of perhaps the greatest hope in Cowboys history, guard Gerald Green.Green was the No. 1 recruit in the nation in 2005 but after committing to OSU later bypassed Stillwater and college altogether to declare for the NBA Draft.
Green put his talents on display in that year's McDonald's All American Game, scoring a game-high 24 points in 20 minutes. He made eight of 12 shots, including six of nine 3-pointers. Green also won that year's Slam Dunk Contest, showcasing his incredible athleticism one night before flaunting his incredible shooting range.To this day, many still wonder what Cowboys basketball could have been had it landed Green, who was joined in that year's recruiting class by fellow McDonald's All-American Byron Eaton.Green ultimately was selected 18th overall by the Boston Celtics. Over the past 10 years, Green has bounced from Boston to the D-League, to stints with Minnesota, Houston and Dallas, to Russia and China, back to the D-League and to New Jersey and Indiana before finding some semblance of stability in Phoenix, where he's played for the past two seasons.Before the Thunder-Suns game Sunday night, Green reflected on his decision to bypass Oklahoma State.
"I was a young kid growing up with nothing, man," Green told The Oklahoman. "I needed to put myself in a situation where I could help my family out. As simple as that."Green said his decision in no way reflected his feelings toward OSU or the basketball program and he is happy with the way everything has worked out."Absolutely," Green said. "It's (worked out) pretty good."Last year, Green averaged a career-high 15.8 points on a career-best 40 percent shooting from 3-point range while playing all 82 games (48 starts) for the Suns. He's averaging 11.4 points this season but has fallen out of Phoenix's rotation and played sporadic minutes since mid-February. He'll be a free agent at season's end."I think it's become a home for me," Green said. "The fans, the city, the organization, we're all supportive of each other. So for me to finally find a place like that to support me, it goes both ways. It's a blessing for me."