DePaul's Wesley Green Blocks Out Past

If you harken back to the first real recruiting class signed by former DePaul head basketball coach Dave Leitao in 2003, you'll remember how everyone labeled Wesley Green the jewel of the crop. Green was ranked as the 53rd best prospect in the class by Scout.com and the 10th best center.

Besides Wesley Green, the class included NBA second-round draft pick and four year stalwart Sammy Mejia, Tyler Smith (who lasted one year at DePaul), Marcus Heard, and Lorenzo Thompson. The 6-9 Green had all the tools that scouts drooled over. Here was a big man who could post up, shoot and pass with the best of them.

Five years later, Green is still at DePaul and as of today, has not lived up to his extraordinary potential and expectations. Off-the-court family problems and weight issues have plagued the career of Green.

Green is not sulking though. Green is committed to helping this year's DePaul team and he took it upon himself to rectify some issues, while keeping the past in the past. "(This summer I was all about) losing weight," said Green. "I'm trying to get into better shape. I lost like 25 pounds this summer and its going well and I kept it off."

Green has been hovering over the 300 pound mark since he arrived on campus and is now reportedly down to 285. His freshman year was lost when he had shoulder surgery and was forced to miss his first season. In the following year (his redsirt freshman year) he never was up to Leitao's standards and barely saw the floor while his weight fluctuated. In his sophomore year, it was his first season with now head coach Jerry Wainwright, the transition was going smooth with a stretch of December games at Dayton and at Wake Forest that saw him average 10.5 ppg and 6 rpg. But in a practice shortly after those games he suffered a foot injury and was never the same and was entrenched in Wainwright's doghouse.

After his sophomore season was over he had strong thoughts of transferring. In fact he enrolled at Daytona Beach Community College, but his mother soon convinced him to honor his scholarship at DePaul and give it another try.

DePaul fans got a little bit of the same Wesley Green for most of last year with some up and down games highlighted by a good game ironically against Wake Forest again (with 10 points and 6 rebounds). It was not enough though as Green languished on the bench towards the end of the season.

However, an unexpected substitution by Wainwright to insert Green into a highly contested NIT game at McGrath Arena against Hofstra seemed to light a fire under Green. He dazzled the home crowd on his way to a career high 15 points and 10 rebounds (his first career double-double) and cemented himself as a major force. He followed it up with a good showing in the next two NIT games that saw the Demons make it to the quarter finals but ultimately lose to Air Force by one point.

Green was motivated by the NIT experience. "It was a stepping stone for mostly everybody on our team" explained Green. "It was an experience most of us never had. It was valuable."

With that experience and his confidence elevated, Green worked hard in the off-season knowing the demands of Wainwright remained high.

"Mostly everything (I) had to do was (in) the off-season and come back in better shape," discussed Green "This was really the first time since I ‘ve been here (I) have had a whole season working out with no off the court issues. It's been a blessing"

Green has lost nearly 30 pounds and is ready to step in and be a senior leader with the departures of NBA first round Draft pick Wilson Chandler and Mejia. "It's hard to replace what Sammy and Wilson brought to the table as leaders, but we learned from them and I think we'll be alright."

In a series of ups and downs, Wesley wants only peaks and no valleys. Stability, something that has evaded Green for four years, is finally something he can count on. Regardless Green is at peace and is ready to exit with pride. One can only pull for Wes Green. Green is a captivating personality who is very friendly and well liked in the DePaul community.

The only thing left for Green to do is leave his mark on the floor

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