Greenwood Going From Australia to Latvia to New Mexico
The 2011-12 Lobo basketball player who has probably made the biggest positive impact this offseason is a guy who hasn’t even arrived on the University of New Mexico campus.
Or in the United States of America, for that matter.
There are surely a number of big-name hoop schools green with envy at the one who got away. Because Hugh Greenwood is showing the world that he can flat-out ball.
Age: 19 (March, 6, 1992)
Hometown: Cremorne, Tasmania (Australia)
Position: Guard/Point guard
College: UNM, freshman
Interests/hobbies: Surfing, Xbox, fishing
“It was an awesome experience,” Greenwood said of his recent trip to Riga, Latvia, where he made first-team all-tournament at the Under-19 FIBA World Championships. “I was fortunate enough to go to the last (World Championships) in New Zealand in 2009, so I was very lucky to have another shot at it.
“Although we didn’t finish higher, and our goal was to win a medal, we still had an awesome time.”
The 6-foot-3 point guard led his native Australia by averaging 17.1 points, 2.6 assists and 4.0 rebounds a game in the event featuring some of the best 19-and-under aged players in the world. The Tasmanian Devil scored 20 or more points in all three games of the medal round, including going for 26 points, five assists and six rebounds in a 78-77 loss to the United States.
Australia won its group with a 5-1 record but lost two of three games – including the one to the U.S. – in the medal round and finished sixth in the 16-team event.
Greenwood shot 43.9 percent from the field and 37.7 percent from 3-point range, despite missing a game-and-a-half with an ankle injury. He turned from shooting guard to point guard after the team’s starting point guard was injured prior to the event. But Greenwood says the overall experience was huge as he prepares for college ball.
Greenwood signed a national letter of intent last spring to play for the Lobos this season as a freshman.
“It helped a lot, it was a huge loss when our starting point guard got injured before the tournament started, but it meant I played a lot more of the point guard,” Greenwood, 19, told the Journal. “It was difficult at first because I wasn’t expecting to play a lot of it, but after I adjusted it was good because I want to play the point, not only at UNM, but for the national team.
“So to play at such a high level at the point guard position will certainly benefit me down the track.”
Greenwood, who expects to enroll at New Mexico in about a month, says the summer has been extremely “hectic” and he is still trying to get his “visa stuff done.”
The gregarious Australian is a native of Cremorne, Tasmania – an island state of Australia. He refers to his friends and others as you would expect: “mates” and “blokes.” But he says it’s fine to call him “dude,” like many Americans will.
He also likes, and calls himself, Hughey.
Right now, UNM coach Steve Alford simply calls him a great recruiting gift.
“Hugh Greenwood has had an unbelievable summer and the experience he has gained especially with the 19 world’s is tremendous,” Alford said in a hand-written fax to the Journal. “He obviously played extremely well being named first team.”
With four-year starting point guard Dairese Gary having finished his eligibility last season for the Lobos, the 2011-12 starting point guard spot looks wide open. Junior Jamal Fenton, sophomore Kendall Williams, sophomore redshirt transfer Demetrius Walker, freshman Dominique Dunning and sophomore Tony Snell could all be in the mix for playing time at the point. But will Greenwood’s stellar summer give him the edge for the starting position heading into fall workouts?
“He will be competing for minutes and a role just like everybody else,” Alford said.
Greenwood says, “Starting is not a problem for me as long as I’m being challenged and becoming a better basketball player. Being an Aussie, we pride ourselves on team work and mateship so I want to help the team win and I’ll do whatever it takes in whatever role I’m given to help make that happen.”
SOCIAL MEDIA: All Lobos have to give up Twitter, via a recent rule by Alford, and Greenwood says that’s no problem.
“No, not at all,” says Greenwood, who had only sent out 47 tweets in his life as of Saturday. “I just use it to follow all my mates over in the USA, and figured my mates in AUS would use it to follow me, too. But it’s not a huge deal because I prefer Facebook anyway. I rarely make ‘Tweets’ unless I’m replying to someone else or thanking someone for mentioning me.”
Probable future Lobo Jarion Henry has caused quite a stir in Loboville with his more than 4,700 tweets to nearly 800 followers, but says he, too, will delete his account when he arrives at UNM. Henry is still taking two summer classes in Dallas, trying to get eligible for college.
— This article appeared on page D1 of the Albuquerque Journal