QUINCY, Mass. -- With the shot clock nearing zero in a Patriot League win over Pembroke last week, 6-foot-9 North Quincy center Anthony Green moved off of the low block, past the free throw line to the top of the key.
He took a pass from the wing, and in one motion turned toward the hoop and let the ball fly just before the horn sounded.
The ball snapped through the twine, showcasing that the Red Raiders’ big man has more shooting range than one might expect of a player his height.
Growing up, Green developed his offensive game believing he was destined to be a small forward. His body had other ideas as he sprouted from 6-foot-3 to 6-foot-7 between his sophomore and junior years. Between North Quincy’s run to the MIAA Division 1 South Final last spring and the beginning of hoops this season, he climbed another two inches.
“It seemed like it was overnight. It was quick,” Green said of the growth spurt. “Whenever I grew, my jump shot changed a little bit so I had to readjust it. I took more time over the summer to work on it because I grew more and the show changed a little bit.”
Added NQ coach Kevin Barrett: “Typically, when you grow that quickly, you tend lose some of your skill, in terms of your ability to run and catch, or do them both at the same, or catch and finish around the basket. It’s attributed to him and his work ethic, that he continued to play and continued to work on his skills. If he had taken a two month lay-off, it might not have worked out for him.”
His height, coupled with his well-developed offensive game, have opened up opportunities all over the court for the Red Raiders.
“He passes out of a double-team as well as any kid I’ve coached, but he can also put the ball in the basket when we need it,” said Barrett. “When you can going high-low, and you’re dragging your 6-9 kid and he can shoot it face up, or he can pass it back inside, that’s pretty good.
"He makes us a match-up nightmare. I’m glad he wears a North Quincy jersey. A good way to look at your team, and examine yourselves, is to kind of scout yourselves. I’ve done that and it’s difficult to come up with answer as to what you would do.”
Perhaps more impressive is the impact Green’s length has had on the other end of the floor for unbeaten North Quincy, which ranks No. 13 in ESPN Boston's most recent statewide Top 25 poll. He anchored the Red Raiders’ defensive effort during their impressive tourney run last March.
“His development has just been off the charts,” Barrett said. “When he realized how good he could be, he really started working hard and then the sky was the limit. We started seeing that development his sophomore year. Certainly junior [season] was a steady progression, culminating with that tourney run where he effected the game in such a way that it was special to watch.
"He averaged seven blocks per game in that tourney run, but I think even more important were the number he altered. In critical games, typically low scoring games in the tournament, you’re talking about effecting seven, eight, nine, maybe 10 or more possessions. That’s huge.”
His knack for shot blocking -- a skill Green says “just happened. It just came,” as his height went up -- effects North Quincy’s defense much the same way his jump shot benefits the offense.
“It provides our perimeter guys the ability to get up and pressure the ball, knowing full well that if they get beat of the dribble he’s there to erase, or at least alter, a lot of stuff that comes into the paint,” Barrett said. “It let’s be a little more aggressive, because its not the end of the world if a defender gets beat. We don’t want to make a habit of that, but he gives us that luxury back there.”
Green, who has started garnering some Northeast-10 college interest, is unsettled on what his future plans might be, and is considering prep school. A Division 1 hopeful, Green’s doctor tells him that x-rays of growth plates hint that more height is coming. Just how much though?
“I’m going to be 7-foot, maybe 7-1,” said Green through a smirk.
Before that though, Green and his Red Raider teammates face tall tasks of repeating as Patriot League champs and enjoying another deep tourney run.
“Anthony is capable of scoring a lot of points, but he’s just like the rest of the guys on this roster,” said Barrett. “None of these guys are concerned with ‘how many points did I get,’ or ‘how many rebounds did I have,?’ Him, and everyone else only care about the end result.”