HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Orien Greene lights up when talking about his high school and college glory days. He battled Miami Heat star Udonis Haslem while starring at Gainesville High and then joined forces with Haslem and fellow NBA stars David Lee and Matt Bonner during his first two college seasons playing for the hometown Florida Gators, all of them destined for long and fruitful careers on basketball’s biggest stage.
But unlike his former teammates, Greene’s path to the league has been littered with detours that he never imagined would be a part of his experience. And both Haslem and Bonner had scrap and claw their way into the league before becoming mainstays for contenders, Bonner in San Antonio.
So when Greene tells you he’s cherishing every minute of his latest attempt to make it back to the NBA, you know it’s coming from the right place.
“It’s definitely gone by in a blur. I can remember playing against Udonis in high school like it was yesterday,” Greene, 30, said of the hoops odyssey he’s been on for the better part of the last decade. “The time goes by just like that.”
Greene has had his taste of the league. The Boston Celtics selected him with the 53rd overall pick in the 2005 Draft, he finished his college career at Louisiana Lafayette, and spent his first season in the NBA as a backup point guard to Delonte West. But poor decision-making off the court cost him his spot on a young Celtics team, one that would be broken up later by the assembly of the famed Big 3 of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen.