A look at: Jacob Green

BlueGoldNews.com watched the games of the Red Oxen at West Virginia's basketball camp last week. Here's a look at an individual player and what he might add to the Mountaineers this season. Up first: Jacob Green.

The 6-9, 210-pounder is a silky-smooth scorer who can shoot from anywhere on the floor. He routinely hit jumpers from the corners, forcing the forwards to pull out away from the interior to guard him. He also knows to utilize the glass from different angles, and twice made nice put-backs by banking the ball in high off the glass, enabling him to get it over players of similar size.

That intelligence and ability didn't come into play much at WVU's camp, both because most of his teammates were hitting the majority of their shots and because most opposing players weren't within three inches of Green, West Virginia's tallest recruit. The line on Green, out of Gonzaga College High (Washington, D.C.) is that, while he has great length and a solid stroke, he needs another year in the weight room and will likely have difficulty scoring inside in the Big East.

That makes him a prime candidate for a redshirt, along with guard Jonnie West, who also lacks the strength needed for the rough-and-tumble conference. Green does run the floor decently, often getting out on fast breaks with the guards, and he is very unselfish. On three breakouts, it seemed like a scene from "Hoosiers" with Green and pass-first guard Joe Mazulla dishing off faster and more often than a DQ worker on July 4th. They traded multiple passes, and while that's great, it was refreshing to see Wellington Smith trail one play and dunk it to secure the points.

Green watched WVU play multiple times last season, and his fascination and enjoyment of Beilein Ball should only help him. He appears to be a hard worker, and he has the ability to block shots from all angles. He forced a jump ball with foes several times by simply keeping a hand on the ball from when the opponent began his release to when he hit the floor again.

Green will get overpowered trying that in the Big East, but he will change the direction of shots, either with a hand actually on the ball or close enough in defensively to change the look of a shot. He also appeared at ease on either side of the 1-3-1 when the Red Oxen played it, and settled into the middle of the zone well -- though again it was versus much smaller and less-talented competition.

The lone problem appears to be that he does not recover well on defense because his feet are slightly flared outward, making balance harder. Johannes Herber had a similar problem in that he moved side-to-side on his heels instead of the balls of his feet. West Virginia gradually improved him in this area, but he never got as quick as Mike Gansey or J.D. Collins.

With additional weight, which he can easily carry, and strength, Green will be a solid contributor and is sure to add to West Virginia's emerging legacy of shooters. But, likely competing at the four position with Joe Alexander and Wellington Smith, among others, Green's early playing time might be limited. Looks at the five this year will be sparse because of Jamie Smalligan's eligibility and the return of Rob Summers, both bigger bodies.


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