The Post-Journal

Green Hopes UM Will Be Toast Of NY

Kirsten Green spent part of Monday night enjoying dinner at Tavern on the Green, one of New York City’s finest restaurants.

On the menu was pasta and filet mignon.

The Jamestown native and the rest of the Michigan Wolverines basketball team and coaching staff had a ball, no pun intended.

It was, in some ways, a metaphor for how far the Maize & Blue – a program Green serves as the director of basketball operations – have come in such a short time.

A year ago, Michigan’s self-imposed sanction – for NCAA violations committed by a previous coaching staff – kept them out of the postseason, save for the Big Ten Conference Tournament.

Well, this year the Wolverines hope to be the toast of the Big Apple.

“This is just an exciting time for our program,” Green said via cell phone. “they are terrific kids to be around and just to watch them grow as a team. For our program, it’s a huge step.”

The “step” Green is referring to is their leap into the semifinals of the National Invitation Tournament at Madison Square Garden. The games against Oregon will be televised at 9 tonight and televised on ESPN2.

Green, who moved to Ann Arbor, Mich., three years ago, after spending four years as director of basketball operations at Seton Hall, has a myriad of responsibilities, primarily assisting head coach Tommy Amaker in the day-to-day operations of the basketball program.

It appears all the program’s hard work is paying off.

Playing their best basketball of the season, the Wolverines (21-11) have wins over Missouri, Oklahoma and Hawaii, and are two victories away from the NIT championship.

And to think they started last season 0-6.

Green, a 1993 Jamestown High School graduate, likened Michigan’s revival to the one Seton Hall experienced during Amaker’s tenure there.

“We were fortunate to get on a little run and that really propelled us into it,” Green said. “The same thing has happened at Michigan.”

After that abysmal start a year ago, the Wolverines ran off 13 straight wins, using mostly freshmen at that point.

“These guys got the experience and they realized what they could do when they work together,” Green said. “Coach Amaker doesn’t like expectations, he likes standards.”

Advancing to the title game on Thursday night would be a nice first step.

“I have a good feeling about our team,” Green said. “Win or lose, it’s a tremendous accomplishment to be here at this point. Oregon is a great team. I don’t know of it’s a sign or not, but when I was a Seton Hall, out first NCAA game (in 2000) was against Oregon. Then we beat Temple and that’s when we went to the Sweet 16. I won’t make any predictions, but I can tell you who I’m rooting for.”

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