UK Greens keen to get back on the pitch – The Interior Journal

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Britain’s Greens can’t wait to get back on the pitch

Posted on Thursday, September 15, 2022 at 12:10 p.m.

JAMIE VAUGHT

Collaborating columnist

As a student-athlete, Blair Green has been in the UK for a while and she loves it.

The 6-foot basketball star will enter her fifth year as a Wildcat, including last season when she missed the entire 2021-22 campaign due to a ruptured Achilles. She is now classified as a graduate student after earning a bachelor’s degree in communications with honors last May.

Due to an additional year of eligibility granted to all college athletes by the NCAA due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Green may even play again the following season of 2023-24.

But Green recently said this upcoming season will most likely be her last in Kentucky and she’s looking forward to it after a year away. Prior to the injury, she had 18 starts in 27 games during her 2020-21 junior year, averaging 6.0 points, and also led the Cats in scoring with 22 points against Vanderbilt in the win. 80-73 of the United Kingdom at the Memorial Coliseum.

“I’m just going to have a great, amazing year for me and the team, and hopefully we can win another championship (SEC Tournament) and I can call it a year and see what the future holds, that whether it’s basketball or some other field,” said Green, a four-star prospect from Harlan County High School, where she averaged 26 points and 6.5 rebounds as a senior. “I’m excited for everything my trip brings in. But I think this will be my last year at university.

As you may recall, the Wildcats stunned everyone last March when they beat South Carolina 64-62 for the SEC Tournament title in Nashville. After a loss to Princeton in the NCAA Tournament, Kentucky finished its remarkable season with a 19-12 record (8-8 SEC regular season), which included a 10-game winning streak.

Her mother, Debbie Hoskins Green, who coached Blair in high school, closely followed her daughter to Kentucky.

“His whole career in the UK has been amazing,” his mother said. “I am extremely proud of the work she has done. To say she’s played every game since she was a freshman is an incredible achievement for any player, especially in the SEC, and (she did) varsity team honors in the DRY. four-year-old and the SEC All-Freshman team.

“(My) favorite British game was the Vandy (contest) in her junior year when Rhyne (Howard) was injured, and she helped them win.”

Blair Green was asked about Kentucky’s turning point last season when the Cats bounced back and finished strong in winning the conference tournament title. That was after a midseason slump that included a pair of four-game losing streaks against SEC teams.

Green commented: “We had a losing streak and we finally hit the road.

We were kinda wondering what was wrong because I felt like we were pretty talented and had everything we needed even though the numbers were down sometimes.

“After a few losses, we finally sat down. We had to see what we had to do just to qualify for the NCAA Tournament, how many games we had to win to get there. It kind of clicked in our head and we started doing more teamwork. We tried to make things more fun for us. Just enjoying the game again and I think that’s what we did.

“We got really close. It kind of kicked off and everyone started having fun and playing together, and we just knew we had to win because we didn’t want to stop playing. So we had to do what we had to do. It just started to get fun and we started building our chemistry.

Everyone locked themselves in for the same purpose.

For the upcoming season, Kentucky, which is down to five players, will get a makeover with 10 talented newcomers (six freshmen and four transfers) on

the list. Returnees include Green, Nyah Leveretter, Jada Walker, Emma King and Robyn Benton. All five have already started for the Wildcats.

The UK will also compete in the 2022 Baha Mar Pink Flamingo Championship at the Baha Mar Convention, Arts & Entertainment Center in Nassau Bahamas during Thanksgiving week.

Green was asked about new players arriving. “They are great.

They are really strong and they have such positive energy and the will to work every day,” she said. “They are just hard workers.

They bring such a competitive edge to the team and are just plain resilient. So far they’ve been great and I’ve enjoyed playing with them.

With Green now a veteran presence in the women’s basketball program, she’s expected to show leadership and she’s comfortable with that. She added that even getting injured last year was kind of a blessing.

“I learned so much from my coaches,” she says. “I was in a leadership role last year and then once I got injured it was a bit of a different leadership role. They kind of put me in a coaching leadership role -player. It really got me out of my comfort zone and expressing myself as a leader, not just leading by example, but having to use my voice all the time because I wasn’t able to do what whether it was physically. I had to step up my voice. It really drove me to who I am today and this year.

“It’s been great so far. My coaches keep challenging me and putting me in positions where I have to speak, get my team together and lead it. And they always rally around me. This young group, they’ve just been an easy team to run I mean they kind of make my job easy honestly.

It’s easy to talk to them. They easily accept constructive criticism and they are always ready to learn.

Jamie H. Vaught, a longtime sports columnist in Kentucky, is the author of five books on British basketball, including the recent “Chasing the Cats: A Kentucky Basketball Journey.” He is the editor and founder of KySportsStyle.com magazine and a professor at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College in Middlesboro.

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