By Mike Rudin — SPORTS EDITOR
When head coach Joe Mihalich departed Niagara to join Hofstra in the 2013-14 season, he brought a trio of star players that revamped Hofstra men’s basketball.
While Ameen Tanksley and Brian Bernardi were key components, point guard Juan’ya Green was arguably the most important piece to making the Pride a successful team. But with graduation around the corner, Green will be moving forward with the class of 2016.
“It’s just crazy because it went by so fast,” Green said about his time at Hofstra and Niagara. “We talk about all the time that we can’t wait to be seniors. But now that we’re here, I’m going to miss everything about college.”
Since the 2015-16 season ended, Green has been working out and recently was invited to the Portsmouth Invitational.
It’s a tournament where 64 players from across the country compete in teams as NBA scouts surveyed the talent pool.
“Right now, I’m just basically working out, trying to get prepared for NBA team workouts,” Green said about spending his current time at Hofstra.
Green’s team was knocked out in the first round but he scored 12 points and tallied five assists.
Green hopes to make it into the NBA, either through the draft or through summer workouts, but has a backup plan to go overseas.
Even though he wore a Pride uniform for only two seasons, he’s accomplished a great deal during his time playing for Mihalich and Hofstra.
Prior to his presence on the court, Hofstra went through three straight seasons of winning 10 games or less.
Plus, the program suffered a scandal in November 2012, in which four athletes were arrested for burglary of electronics such as laptops and iPads. The team won seven games in total in 2012-13 and former head coach Mo Cassara was fired after that season.
Mihalich then took over in 2013-14, bringing the big three to spark a new era of Hofstra basketball. Green, Tanksley and Bernardi had to wait one year to play because of NCAA transfer rules.
In his first year in 2014-15, Green led the Pride to the team’s first 20-win season since 2011. He is first in points (17.1 PPG) and in assists (6.5 APG) – 3.9 more assists per game than the next Pride player.
He contributed to Hofstra’s postseason run into the CAA semifinals against William & Mary, which went to double overtime. Despite Green’s 26 points, the Pride lost by one point but the future looked bright.
Hofstra was picked to win it all in the CAA preseason polls and Green was picked preseason player of the year.
This past season ended with appearing in the 2016 CAA Championship and winning the regular-season title for the first time in program history.
He also was awarded CAA Player of the Year and was sixth in the nation with 7.1 APG in his final year.
His success is rooted with Coach Mihalich and his teammate Tanksley, both from Niagara to Hofstra.
“It was a good relationship on and off the court,” Green said. “I’m definitely going to miss it. We’ll still keep in touch with each other but all the things we’ve been through these last five years [at Niagara and Hofstra] is just surreal to me.”
Green achieved a personal milestone of 2,000 colligate career points in January this past season.
He also was the fourth DI athlete ever to score 1,000 points at two different schools when he reached 1,000 points in February with Hofstra.
Green compiled 1,131 points from 2011-2013 at Niagara and 1,186 from 2014-16 at Hofstra.
“I just can’t wait for the day I can get my degree,” Green said. “[Plus,] move forward and have a pro life.”