CEDAR FALLS — Four-star guard A.J. Green is staying home. The son of Northern Iowa men’s basketball assistant coach Kyle Green made the decision Friday that Panthers fans have been eagerly awaiting for quite some time.
A consensus top-100 player and top-20 point guard in the country, Green averaged 21.5 points per game for Cedar Falls as a junior, shooting 47 percent from the floor and 43 percent from 3-point range.
Green’s commitment marks the biggest get for the Panthers since Doug McDermott’s initial commitment -- before following his father, Greg, to Creighton -- in 2010. Green chose Northern Iowa over the likes of Iowa State, Minnesota, Nebraska, and other Power 5 schools that had been showing interest during this summer’s live period.
“I’m excited to make the decision to be a Panther. I’m also glad that the recruiting process is finished now,” Green said. “Looking back on it, it was a pretty cool experience. Knowing a lot of schools want you, it’s kind of humbling knowing all the hard work you’ve put in is starting to pay off.
“It just felt right. Down inside I knew that (UNI) was the place. I’ve been a Panther fan. Been around the program my whole life, so I’m glad to be a part of it. It’s pretty cool. Coach (Jacobson) has told me that he feels like we can go to the Final Four, so hopefully we can accomplish that.”
It’s widely anticipated that Green will play right away for the Panthers. He’s listed as a point guard by ESPN, Rivals, and Scout, but said he’s willing to play whatever role Coach Jacobson asks of him in the backcourt.
“I think I’ll be able to fit in with their style of play,” Green said. “I trust Coach (Jacobson) to do a great job of putting me in the right spot so I can succeed and help the team as much as possible.”
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What kept some Power 5 schools from recruiting Green more heavily was the prevailing thought across the college basketball community that he would ultimately end up at UNI with his father — who stepped back and let his colleagues on the UNI staff handle the recruitment of his son.
“(My dad) helped me a bunch,” AJ said. “Telling me what to be saying, questions I should ask. It was good to have him help me through it.”
With Green’s verbal commitment, Northern Iowa has two scholarships left to fill in their 2018 class.