Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Villanova latest to offer Australian star Josh Green
By ADAM ZAGORIAINDIANAPOLIS — Other than the United States, no nation on Earth had more players represented on NBA playoff rosters than Australia.
Led by NBA Rookie of the Year candidate Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers, Australia placed seven players on NBA rosters. France also had seven.
That number figures to grow in coming years, with Josh Green among the next crop of Australians likely headed for the NBA.
The 6-foot-6 Green, who attends IMG Academy (FL) and runs with West Coast Elite on the Under Armour Association circuit, has dual citizenship with Australia and the U.S. He’s currently projected as a lottery pick on at least one mock 2020 NBA Draft, which could become the first since 2005 to allow high school students to go straight from the preps to the pros.
“I know there’s somebody out here: Josh Green … I’ve reached out to him, and spoken to him, if he needs any advice or anything like that,” Simmons told foxsports.com.au back in December.
In one game this weekend, Green went off for 37 points and he’s averaging 20.3 points through eight games as West Coast Elite is 7-1.
“Josh has incredible upside,” West Coast Elite director Ryan Silver said Saturday at the Under Armour stop here. “He’s an NBA-level athlete, high-character kid, great team player. He’s excited for the other kids and he just keeps getting better and better.”
Green holds about 60 Division 1 offers, with the most recent coming from reigning NCAA champion Villanova. Head coach Jay Wright scouted Green and teammate Nico Mannion — who is looking to reclassify down to 2019 from 2020 — this weekend in Indianapolis.
“It was great, you always dream as a kid to get a bigtime school like that,” Green told Pat Lawless of Villanova. “They are from the East Coast, but I’m from Australia so East Coast or West Coast doesn’t matter. It is definitely cool to get an offer from them.
“They have a great coach and all of their players are great. All of their players are great and they have been together for a bit, which really helped them out. They worked together perfectly and it was good to watch.”
Fresh off winning their second NCAA title in three years, Villanova is going after some big fish in the Class of 2019, including Green, Cole Anthony, Joe Girard, Bryan Antoine and Scottie Lewis. They’re also heavily in the mix for Mannion.
Arizona head coach Sean Miller, USC’s Andy Enfield and assistants from UCLA and North Carolina also watched West Coast Elite on Sunday. Arizona and USC are in the hunt for both Green and Mannion.
“The tradition of their program is great,” Green told Lawless of Arizona. “They have had a great past and I’m sure they will continue that. They have a great coaching staff and the overall facilities are great there as well.”
USC remains in the mix as well.
“I went on a visit there and the campus is really nice,” Green said. “The coaches seem great and there style of game will fit my game.”
Green told Lawless he plans on “narrowing down my list pretty soon.”
Wherever he goes, he has a huge ceiling, according to IMG coach Sean McAloon.
“Josh is one of the most versatile guards I’ve coached in my time on the sidelines,” McAloon told ZAGSBLOG. “People put him in a box as just an athletic attacking guard. He is much more than that, as he shoots the ball well from deep and is an unbelievable passer. His instincts and upside are tremendous, couple that with his work ethic and sky is the limit.”
Don’t be surprised if he joins his fellow Australians in the NBA in the not-too-distant future.
Photo: Under Armour
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.