The hype surrounding Arizona Cardinal freshman wing Josh Green continues to build, with the Sydney native named as one of twenty players to the Julius Irving award watch list.
Named after Class of 1993 Hall of Famer and Julius Erving, the award recognises the top small forwards in Division I men's college basketball, with a national committee of top college basketball personnel determining the list of candidates.
"The Starting Five represents our five positional awards that bring together the best in college game today and the Hall of Famers who have paved the way, such as Julius Erving" said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame in the official release. "Our selection committee has put together an outstanding watch list with talent from across the country, which should inspire fans from coast-to-coast to get involved and vote for their favorite athletes. We're excited to watch this season unfold!"
Green was one of the most dominant players in US high school basketball throughout the 2018/19 season. He was named MVP after scoring 19 points for IMG Academy in winning a first ever national championship.
The 2019 McDonalds All-American also suited up for the World Team at the Nike Hoop Summit where he later revealed he played with a torn labrum in his left shoulder. He would go on to dislocate the same shoulder in the early stages of the event, in which he suited up as a starter for the World Team. Green played through the injury before his side succumbed to Team USA 93-87 in a closely fought encounter.
In an interview with ABC Grandstand’s David Lithgow last month, ESPN's Jonathan Givony spoke highly of Green, an athletic wing who sits in the teens of DraftExpress’ most recent 2020 mock draft.
“The physical tools, that’s where you gotta start – he’s 6’6, 6’10/6’11 wingspan, great body, really, really good athlete," said Givony of Green's athletic talents.
“The shooting has been inconsistent, that’s going to be one of the things they’re going to want to monitor. He’s missed the last five months with [a shoulder surgery]. He was only recently just cleared for practice, so he probably hasn’t had as much chance as he would’ve liked to work on that part of his game, but I think the potential you see defensively, in the open court, handling the ball… There was a school of thought earlier on in his career that he was going to maybe develop in to more of a combo guard because he was so good with the ball in his hands.”
“It’ll be interesting to see how things play out. He’s going to get to play with his good friend Nico Mannion that he played AAU ball with, and he’s going to have a huge opportunity to have a big year with Arizona.”
Previous winners of the Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award include Rui Hachimura, Gonzaga (2019), Mikal Bridges, Villanova (2018), Josh Hart, Villanova (2017), Denzel Valentine, Michigan State (2016) and Stanley Johnson, Arizona (2015).