It was intriguing to watch Green matched up against an athlete the caliber of Chase Budinger. Early on, Green tried to drive by Budinger for lay ups, but had his shots blocked on two or three occasions – even when he appeared to have Budinger beaten off the dribble. Green learned from his mistakes, though, and found ways to score on Budinger despite the athletic disadvantage, particularly by using screens and elevating quickly for mid-range jumpers. By the end of the game, Green completed the learning process by using a quick crossover to put Budinger on his hip and then drove past him for an easy lay-in.
His final stat line was 21 points (7-12 fg, 1-5 3pt, 6-8 ft), two rebounds, two assists, three steals and three blocks.
This game perfectly demonstrated why Danny Green should be a successful college player. He won't always be the most athletic wing on the court, but his savvy and basketball IQ are enough that he can figure out other ways to beat his man and score - or to be effective without scoring.
Ellington's Playaz team escaped its quarterfinal matchup against the Illinois Wolves, 80-77, and Ellington led the way with his biggest point production of the weekend – 29 points. It was a far different situation than their first four games, easy wins in which players like Ellington weren't needed down the stretch for go-to scoring.
And they'd face another close contest in the noon semifinal matchup against H-Squad at the Smith Center, but the Playaz were unable to contain two H-Squad stars and lost, 85-81.
Ellington took only a single shot in the first half (a missed three-pointer) and spent a long stretch on the bench.
But in the second half, with his team down ten, he took over, with a couple of three-pointers, a mid-range jumper and a driving layup over a short span. He totaled 16 second-half points (7-12 fg, 2-5 3pt) and narrowed the deficit to a single basket when he drove the lane and dunked in traffic with just under a minute to go.
"Overall, I think I played all right [this weekend]," Ellington said before his team boarded the bus home. "I didn't play exceptionally well, and I didn't play poorly. I played in between. I could have played better, but sometimes you have those kinds of tournaments."
On a team loaded with talented wings, Ellington is too selfless to regularly attempt 15-20 shot attempts per game and therefore only once over the weekend did he break the 20-point mark.
While disappointed with his team's loss, Ellington broke out into a smile -- as he did all weekend – when asked about his future as a Tar Heel.
"It's fun playing on my future home court," he said, grinning. "I had a lot of fun, and I'm getting comfortable on it. I'm really looking forward to [playing at UNC]; it's going to be a whole lot of fun."
The Carolina fans are looking forward to it as well, as they came out in full force to watch Ellington this weekend.
"[They've given] great support, already," he said. "It shows how important Carolina basketball is to people in Carolina. I was actually shocked. It's a pretty close Carolina family out here."
Ellington had a message for Carolina fans in attendance and elsewhere.
"In two years [when I get here], we are going to be having a whole lot of fun. Hopefully, I can help lead Carolina to another national championship."