See­ing Green

Pla­cen­tia ath­lete plays both ends of the floor

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER nmercer@cbn­com­pass.ca

Pla­cen­tia’s Kolton Green of­ten hears what his op­po­nents are say­ing about his gog­gles on the bas­ket­ball court.

He wears them for pro­tec­tion, but it leaves him open to some se­lec­tive chirp­ing from the op­po­si­tion.

“They chirp all of the time,” said Green. “They say, ‘Nice googles,’ and ‘This isn’t swim­ming, this is bas­ket­ball.’

“It’s kind of funny, but it mo­ti­vates me a bit. They’re pro­tec­tive.”

He hears them but he doesn’t really pay at­ten­tion. He knows pretty soon they’ll be forced to set their sights on some­thing else. “They stop fo­cus­ing on the gog­gles when they see what we’re all about,” he said sit­ting in the Pla­cen­tia Tim Hor­tons last week.

The 17-year-old of­fers a small chuckle and a smile when he says teams start look­ing at the score­board. “They worry more about try­ing to beat us than chirp­ing us.”

The Laval Cavaliers and Green had a great start to the sea­son when the team bested the NLBA un­der-15 squad 80-57 in the fi­nal of the Keith Keat­ing Me­mo­rial Tour­na­ment, held at gym­na­si­ums in St. John’s and Mount Pearl.

The team went un­de­feated in four games and Green was named the tour­na­ment’s most valu­able player when the dust set­tled.

“It’s prob­a­bly some of the best bas­ket­ball we’ve played,” said Green, the son of Den­nis and Wendy. “It kind of showed us how far we’ve come.”

His game

The right-handed Green de­scribes him­self as a do-ev­ery­thing type of player for the Cavaliers. On the wing, he’s adept at curl­ing off screens and at­tack­ing the bas­ket off the drib­ble.

When his op­po­nents get tired of be­ing beaten to the rim, Green is just as good at squar­ing his shoul­ders and tak­ing a jump shot.

“I like find­ing open­ings for other play­ers on the team,” he said. “That’s making passes and set­ting screens off the ball.”

That’s only one end of the floor that Green con­trib­utes too. He also takes pride in his de­fence and be­ing able to move his feet when guard­ing the ball.

When asked what player he tries to model his game af­ter, Green is quick to men­tion NBA megas­tar Le­Bron James.

“I don’t try to be Le­Bron, but just the way he plays. He has a com­plete game,” he said. “He can score the ball and he can pass the ball bet­ter than half the peo­ple on the league.”

Of all the things he does well on the bas­ket­ball court, Green said one of the best things he does is com­mu­ni­cate.

Whether it is let­ting his team­mates know about screens and other is­sues on the de­fen­sive end or im­plor­ing the team to push the ball off an op­po­nent’s missed shot, his mouth is al­ways go­ing.

“Com­mu­ni­ca­tion is the most im­por­tant thing on de­fence,” said Green.

Cham­pi­onship ex­pe­ri­ence

Green is like most ath­letes who hail from Pla­cen­tia. He plays a mul­ti­tude of sports and usu­ally ex­cels at them all.

From bas­ket­ball and hockey to soft­ball and soc­cer, Green uses the skills from each sport to aid his play.

“The foot­work in soc­cer definitely helps with your foot­work in bas­ket­ball,” he noted. “I just have a love for sports.” With acu­men for all things ath­letic, it makes sense that Green has been a part of two provin­cial cham­pi­onships this year at Laval. He was a mem­ber of the AAA male teams that won in soft­ball and soc­cer.

Green and many of his team­mates have been play­ing bas­ket­ball to­gether since they were in el­e­men­tary school at St. Anne’s, com­ing off the bench to­gether and now start­ing to­gether. They’ve played as a group a long time.

With Laval host­ing this year’s AAA male provin­cial tour­na­ment in the spring, the time may be now for the Cavaliers.

“It would mean a lot to us to go out win­ning with this group,” said Green.

“It mo­ti­vates us.”

NI­CHOLAS MERCER/THE COM­PASS

Kolton Green is a bas­ket­ball player who likes to give it his all at both ends of the court.

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