Taurean Green is getting it done on offense, at the line
Published: Thursday, December 1, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, December 1, 2005 at 1:24 a.m.
When Taurean Green found out the starting Florida point guard job was his to lose this past summer, he went to the videotape, critiquing the little things he did wrong in his freshman season.
What Green observed was a player going too fast for his own good.
"I was in a rush last year," Green said. "I was in a hurry."
The game slowed down for Green in time as a sophomore, where he is off to a confident beginning as the starting point guard at Florida this season. Green leads the Gators in scoring (15.7 ppg), assists (27) and free-throw percentage (82.2 percent), getting to the line 45 times through his first six games.
"He's running the offense like a champion," Florida senior forward Adrian Moss said. "He always gets us in the offense. And everything that needs to be done, he gets done."
For Green, the education began last year as the understudy to two-time, All-Southeastern Conference point guard Anthony Roberson. Green credited Roberson for his development as a freshman. The two went head-to-head in practice.
"He taught me a lot just learning from him in game situations, also in practice, what passes I could get away with and what passes I couldn't make," Green said. "It's carried over to this season. I'm still learning, but I'm just trying to learn from every game and try to get better."
Roberson left for the NBA as an underclassmen last June, opening the door for Green to join classmates Corey Brewer and Al Horford in the starting lineup. Green has managed to handle the pressure of the most important position on the court by keeping his teammates involved while supplying his own offense when needed.
In back-to-back wins against Wake Forest and Syracuse, it was at the 3-point line, where Green shot a combined 10-for-17 in posting back-to-back 23-point games. Against Florida State and Alabama State, it was at the foul line, where Green has made 24 straight and 25 of his last 26.
Florida coach Billy Donovan said he hasn't been surprised with Green's offense. As a high-school senior, Green posted two 50-plus point games at Cardinal Gibbons High in Fort Lauderdale.
"Right now, anyone could really be leading our team in scoring," Donovan said. "If you look at why Taurean is leading our team now it's because he's shot the ball well from the 3-point line and has gotten to the free throw line."
Green reached the line 10 times, making all 10 second-half free throws in Florida's 87-60 win over Alabama State.
"I think I'm getting better at that," Green said. "It's just taking what the defense gives you. They are pressuring me. You just have to keep the defense honest and go past them a couple of times and get in the lane and create for my offense."
It's been a special start to the season for Green, whose father, former NBA forward Sidney Green, was able to watch him in his breakout performance in New York City. Green dedicated his MVP performance to his late grandmother, Sidney's mother, who died last January and had always wanted to see her grandson play at Madison Square Garden.
Sidney, an Indiana assistant coach, first enrolled Taurean in Florida summer basketball camps when he was a 5-foot-8 inch eighth-grader. Donovan saw potential, but was waiting for Green to grow a couple of inches.
"The biggest thing with Taurean his freshman and sophomore year is would he get taller, would he get stronger, would he grow, would he develop," Donovan said. "I was impressed with him after his sophomore year in camp, just his mind, his understanding, and his feel for the game. I'm sure Sidney played a major role in that."
Now, as a sophomore in college, Green is making another leap, one he hopes will carry him as the starting point guard through the rest of his college career.
"Yeah, I'd like it to be that way," Green said. "Be here all four years and have fun every year."
Kevin Brockway can be reached at 374-5054 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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