Last night, Austin (Tex.) Bowie High School lost in the third round of the Texas Class 5A playoffs. After winning all three of their overtime games this winter, including their second round victory three days earlier, the Bulldogs bowed out in double overtime. In the 61-63 defeat, junior Jeremy Green scored 17 points and hit a dramatic off-balance three-pointer from deep behind the arc in the final seconds of regulation to push the game to the first overtime.
Bowie High School is a power in Central Texas basketball, notching now 12 straight seasons of 20-plus wins. But after taking a massive hit with graduation losses after last year, a 28-6 season and district championship came as something of a surprise.
"We had a great year with the kids that I had. I thought they really overachieved," says Bowie head coach Celester Collier. "We lost a lot of experience off last year's team. We only had a couple of guys returning. They really carried us this year. It's been a fun ride. It really has."
"We're a pretty young team in terms of experience," the coach continues. "We lost four seniors last year who had been varsity players since they were sophomores - a lot of experience off last year's team. We had only three players who had any varsity playing time, so we were made up of a lot of kids coming up from JV and even a kid who was a freshman this year."
The Bulldogs had few experienced players in numbers, but they had one monster of a talent to lead the way. Green, a 6'4" shooting guard, was a starter on Bowie's 33-3 team a year ago as a sophomore. Not only did he play and start; he also was District MVP and named First Team All-Central Texas. Green that sophomore season averaged 14.5 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. He was asked to do much more this year, and opponents made him work twice as hard to do it.
"I thought it was his leadership and his work habits," says Collier of Green's year-over-year improvement. "He brought his game to another level. He has seen a lot of double-teams this year. A lot of teams will play a 'box and one' or a 'triangle and two' to try and take Jeremy out of the game. He really was patient and let the game come to him. He really did a great job in terms of his defense this year and his rebounding this year. And of course he averaged 22 [points] a game. It was a great year for Jeremy."
After last night's conclusion to his 2006-07 season, Green stands with averages of 21 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists.
"We don't want him passing. We want him shooting the ball," quips Collier in half-disapproval of Green's assists.
"He's an off guard. He's a two guard," the coach explains. "But every time, we do go through Jeremy. He gets the most touches. He led us in scoring this year."
"He's just a great all-around player and one of our better defenders. He was our second-leading rebounder, from the guard position. He's a tremendous athlete," Collier adds.
Exemplifying the high skill level and athleticism of Green's offensive game, he shot 44 percent from three-point range this year while also scoring at 57 percent overall from the field. He was a prolific, efficient and versatile weapon for the Bulldogs.
"Jeremy can shoot the three," Collier describes. "He can create his own shot. He can put the ball on the floor. He can get to the rim. He's just an overall outstanding player."
"He doesn't need a screen," the coach says. "He comes off the screen really well and can shoot, but he can also create his own shot. He's that type of athlete."
Given his abilities and production each of the past two seasons, it is no surprise that Green is one of the most highly recruited players in the Class of 2008 in Texas.
There has been a great deal of interest and speculation about when Green will make his college decision and where it will take him. As a leader on the young Bowie team, however, Green put recruiting on the backburner during his junior season.
"We haven't sat down and talked about that yet. We just lost in the playoffs last night, so we haven't talked about recruiting or anything," Collier says. "But I can tell you this: Stanford has done an outstanding job of recruiting Jeremy. An outstanding job. As well as anybody."
"They stay in contact with him. They stay in contact with me," the coach says of the Cardinal. "They have seen him play several times. They have had coaches out here. They have done an outstanding job of recruiting Jeremy.
Though it is a disappointment to see his basketball season end with a difficult defeat, Jeremy Green now has another exciting challenge before him in the coming months. The recruiting season now begins in earnest for the coveted 6'4" Austin athlete, and we will be speaking with him to bring you much more on his story as it evolves. Stay tuned.
Are you fully subscribed to The Bootleg? If not, then you are missing out on all the top Cardinal coverage we provide daily on our website, as well as our full-length feature articles in our glossy magazine. Sign up today for the biggest and best in Stanford sports coverage with TheBootleg.com (sign-up) and The Bootleg Magazine (sign-up)!