By Brad Fauber
Erick Green has been a busy man over the last several months as he has tirelessly prepared for tonight's NBA Draft.
Green, who led the nation in scoring this past season during his senior year at Virginia Tech, has been sharpening his basketball skills in one form or another since April after taking some time off following the conclusion of the Hokies' 13-19 season on March 14.
In mid-May, Green showcased his talents with other draft hopefuls at the NBA Draft combine in Chicago, and he has since attended individual workouts for 15 NBA teams. All of that traveling and performing in front of professional scouts may seem like a daunting task, but the experience has been nothing but enjoyable for the Winchester native.
"It's been a dream come true. It's something that I've always wanted to do since I was young, so it's just been great," Green said in a phone interview Wednesday. "Traveling and going city to city like the NBA does, having an opportunity to play in front of these scouts and GMs, it's been a great experience."
Green, a former Millbrook High School standout who was named the ACC Player of the Year for his performance at Virginia Tech this past season, is expected to be one of 60 players chosen in tonight's NBA Draft.
The two-round draft, held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., will be nationally televised on ESPN with coverage beginning at 7 p.m.
Green's predicted landing spot varies from website to website, but the general consensus seems to be that the 6-foot-3, 178-pound point guard will be taken anywhere from the late first round to the early second round. There are 30 picks in each round.
As of Wednesday afternoon, nbadraft.net predicted Green will be chosen 28th in the first round by the San Antonio Spurs, while ESPN's Chad Ford had Green going 38th in the second round to the Washington Wizards. Gary Parrish and Matt Moore, both of CBS Sports, each had Green going midway through the second round.
ESPN's Jay Bilas ranked Green as the ninth-best point guard prospect available in this year's draft.
Whether he is chosen in the first round or the second doesn't matter much to Green, who said he will be happy to hear his name called no matter when it comes.
"I'm so excited. But I'm a little anxious, nervous as I find out where I'm going to go. Hopefully my name gets called," said Green, who will watch the draft at his home in Winchester. "I'm just so excited because my dream is finally coming true. All the hard work and everything has been paying off.
"I'm just going to be honored just to be able to make the team, get drafted and be on a team, and hopefully have a successful NBA career."
Many professional scouts and draft analysts have raised questions regarding Green's size, physicality and defense, but there remains little doubt about Green's ability to score, as evidenced by the 25 points per game he averaged for the Hokies this past season.
Green is widely considered as a combo guard prospect, as his scoring ability makes him a good fit for either point guard or two guard.
Green said a major focus of his individual workouts with various teams centered around being a more complete point guard, and he is confident that he has impressed scouts with his performances over the past month.
"They want to see if I can make plays for others -- pass the ball, get everybody involved, be a point guard," Green said. "I got a lot of good feedback. A lot of people are saying that they see more in me than just a scorer. They see me as a contributor -- I make plays, I play good defense. It felt good for people to see other things in me other than that I can score the ball."
Out of the 30 NBA teams, Green has auditioned for half of them. He has worked out for Boston, Utah, San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, Indiana, Minnesota, Chicago, the Los Angeles Clippers, Phoenix, Milwaukee, Denver, Memphis and Philadelphia. Green wrapped up his workouts with a trip to Brooklyn on Monday, where he auditioned in front of newly appointed head coach Jason Kidd.
Green's transformation from a player who averaged just 2.6 points per game as a freshman at Virginia Tech to NBA draft prospect has been a long journey filled with countless hours spent at the gym, and Green said he hopes that his success will help inspire local athletes to chase their own dreams.
"Hopefully it shows people in Winchester, the Shenandoah Valley, the whole area around here, that as long as you work hard, no matter where you're from, you can do it," Green said. "I hope people see that and continue to work hard."
Contact sports writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or firstname.lastname@example.org