The basketball season for Spain’s Liga ACB isn’t over yet, but it is for former Millbrook High School and Virginia Tech standout Erick Green.
The 18-team league — which has been shut down since March 11 because of COVID-19 — announced on April 20 that when it does resume its season, only the top 12 teams in the standings will compete.
Green’s Coosur Real Betis squad — which is based in Seville — is not one of those 12 teams. When Liga ACB halted play, Real Betis was 8-15 and in 15th place, one game out of 12th. With 11 games to play, the 12th-, 13th- and 14th-place teams all had 9-14 records.
With his team eliminated (in a normal season, the top eight teams make the playoffs), the 6-foot-3 guard said in a phone interview on Wednesday that he was able to come back two weeks ago to his new home in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.
Green is glad he was able to return to the United States and see his family, which included a five-day trip to Philadelphia to see his 10-month-old daughter, Gianna. They were on his mind a lot while he was holed up at his home in Seville, a result of Spain’s national lockdown that began on March 14 and essentially has kept people from going out unless they needed to go to the pharmacy or buy groceries.
Still, he wanted to finish the season.
“Of course, I was upset. I wanted to play,” said Green, who along with the rest of the members of his team had to take a 15 percent pay cut for the abbreviated season. “But I understand what they were trying to do for safety.”
Green noted that it’s possible he wasn’t going to play another game for Real Betis anyway.
The Associated Press reported on Tuesday that Spain will open up some of its sports facilities and training centers soon. But on Wednesday, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez extended Spain’s state of emergency to May 24. Liga ACB has set a May 31 deadline for resuming its season, which would feature the 12 teams divided into two groups of six. The round-robin schedule would consist of five games for each team, and the top two teams from each group would advance to the semifinals.
The 12 remaining teams are scheduled to play more games going forward than Green played the entire season with Real Betis. Green led Real Betis to a 3-1 record after joining the team on Jan. 28. (Green started the year with the Fujian Dragons in China before reaching a buyout agreement on Dec. 6 after participating in four games.) Green averaged 21.3 points with Real Betis on 32-of-59-shooting (54.2 percent). Green made 9 of 22 3-pointers (40.9 percent).
Green, who turns 29 today, is now a free agent. It might be a while before he lands somewhere else because leagues all over the world that have been halted by COVID-19 are trying to give themselves as much time as possible to resume their seasons, but he’s looking forward to the process.
“We’ve got a ways to go to find the right fit and find the right team for me,” Green said. “It will be good to get a fresh start and get things rolling again. Hopefully, I can find a team where I can go out there and play my game.”