Greene feels the love at Kansas

Forsyth (GA) Mary Persons star Brannen Greene is still almost two years away from playing his first game as a Kansas Jayhawk, but already he's become a fan favorite. Last weekend, the five-star Class of 2013 wing visited the Lawrence, Kan. campus not for the first time, but for his first game at Allen Fieldhouse - and it was a doozy.

Brannen Greene is still almost two years away from playing his first game for the Kansas Jayhawks, and yet he's already become a fan favorite.

An active participant in the world of social media, the 6-foot-7, 200-pound wing from Forsyth (GA) Mary Persons High School committed to Kansas in late December, and has spent the past two months broadcasting his excitement throughout the Twittersphere.

So when word came that he would be in attendance for the Border War last weekend on an unofficial visit, the Kansas fan base responded in kind.

See, Greene had visited the Lawrence, Kan. campus before, most notably in mid-October at the start of the college basketball season for 'Late Night in the Phog.' It was a great trip, but this time around the five-star prospect saw things through different eyes - and found it to be a totally new experience.

"This one, everyone on campus, I was walking from the Oread (Hotel) where I was staying to Phog Allen every morning," Greene explained. "Everyone just knows who I am, yells out my name. People wanted pictures and all that type of stuff. I really felt the love this time."

After arriving in town with his father Friday night, Saturday was, obviously, centered around the highly-anticipated afternoon match-up with Missouri. It was Greene's first trip to the Fieldhouse for a game, and atmosphere lived up to the hype.

"It was a great visit overall," he said. "The game was definitely the center point of it, and I really enjoyed myself there. I didn't know it was going to be that crazy."

Being court side afforded him a different perspective, he said. Had he been at home watching the game as usual, when the Tigers built their 19-point lead early in the second half, he may have been…a little worried.

Caught up in the environment, however, with the packed Allen Fieldhouse crowd ready to explode, he knew there was always a chance. And when the Jayhawks cut the lead to a much more manageable 12 points, it was at that point he knew the comeback was coming.

"(I thought) 'We've got this, we've got enough time to come back,'" Greene said. "So I wasn't really shocked."

The big wing was far from the only star prospect in attendance. Fellow future Jayhawks Perry Ellis, Conner Frankamp and Landen Lucas were there, as were prospects Shabazz Muhammad, Semi Ojeleye, Tony Parker and Jakarr Sampson.

Greene has developed a reputation as a big-time recruiting asset for Kansas, with his outgoing personality and passion for the Jayhawks. During the trip, he spent time with Sampson, Parker - a fellow Peach State star - and Muahammad.

When the group hung out with members of the current team Saturday night, Greene said he felt the same family atmosphere that was so apparent the first time he visited Lawrence.

"Whenever we go out, we go together," he said. "We're always together. We're laughing with each other and having fun, we've got that connection with each other and have each other's back."

Of course, he also spent plenty of time with the coaching staff on the trip - Head Coach Bill Self as well as assistants Joe Dooley, Danny Manning and Kurtis Townsend.

As a commitment, things are different now. It's not about the sales pitch anymore, Greene said, and more about plans for the future. Self made it clear he has high expectations for his future small forward, but also that he'll put just as much effort into coaching and developing him as he demands from Greene himself.

"They just talk to me about coming in Day One, leading and being (Self's) guy," he explained. "He just tells me to keep 'doing what you're doing.' He talks to my dad about getting me to keep doing what I'm doing."

Though Mary Persons High may not have had the 2011-2012 season they envisioned, wrapping things up with a 14-10 record, individually Greene was stellar, averaging 25 points and 12 rebounds per game.

Regarded as one of the truly elite shooters in the Class of 2013, he felt his all-around game took steps forward during his junior campaign.

"We went through some adversity, and I feel like I did a good job becoming a leader," Greene said.

With the start of AAU basketball creeping ever closer, he and his father, Jeffrey, are still deciding which team he'll going during the spring and summer.


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