UT Rio Grande Valley lost half of its dynamic backcourt after sophomore Antonio Green decided to transfer last week.
UT-Rio Grande Valley guard Antonio Green told ESPN he is transferring. 16.7 points per game, made 111 3-pointers last season.— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) June 3, 2017
Green finished second on the team in scoring last year, and led the WAC in both three-pointers made (111) and attempted (298). Over his two seasons in Edinburg, Green made 37.5 percent of his 450 three-point attempts.
Lew Hill, who just wrapped his first season in charge at UTRGV, was surprised by the move.
“It caught us off guard for sure. I talked to him and he said he wanted to get back closer to his baby and his mom. I understand that because he’s really close to them. But you go and lose your second-leading and number one three-point shooter this late in the game, it catches you off guard,” he said through an athletic department spokesperson.
According to the UTRGV athletic department, Green’s three-year-old daughter lives with his mother in his hometown of Tupelo, Miss. His brother was tragically murdered in Memphis in February 2016, and Green was nominated for the USBWA’s Most Courageous Award this past January for his success through adversity.
At the time, Green missed several games to be with his family.
Although trivial in the grander scheme, he returned to finish up a great freshman campaign, scoring a then-career-high 22 points at Chicago State on Feb. 28, 2016. He’d go on to be named WAC Freshman of the Year, and carried that momentum into the 2016-17 season, becoming one of the country’s most dangerous three-point shooters.
Green’s best game in orange and green may have come against Grambling State on Nov. 25 in an Emerald Coast Classic (Pool B) win. He drilled 10 three’s that day en route to a career-high 30 points. He talked about his coach and team shortly thereafter.
“Coach knows what it takes to get to the highest level of college basketball,” Green said. “He’s teaching us things that will help us be successful. We’ve played a tough schedule with a new head coach and a bunch of new players. Every game is a lesson. We just need to learn from our mistakes, keep listening to the coaches and stay positive.”
The Vaqueros will return Nick Dixon (18.8 PPG, 5.1 RPG), an All-WAC second teamer, and sophomore Lew Stallworth (25.7 MPG) as primary backcourt contributors. Hill also signed a pair of Texas prep guards in Javon Levi and Greg Bowie.