IU senior guard Devonte Green said he wanted to be remembered as entertaining in a video posted to the IU men’s basketball team’s Twitter account Friday.
Saturday was Green’s senior day, which came during a 60-56 loss to No. 24 Wisconsin. In his final game at Assembly Hall, Green put on one last show.
A showman typically goes last. The event all builds up to the final act, the headliner. So it was fitting that Green was the last player introduced in the starting lineup Saturday and the last player to give his speech during the senior day presentation.
Green’s shows are a result of his scoring. After his most productive games as a Hoosier, Green has said he just has to keep shooting. He has to keep shooting through the games where nothing goes in and the games where everything does.
So on his senior day, he shot. A lot.
He made each of his first three shots including a pull-up 3-pointer. He scored 13 of IU’s first 17 points. He finished the game with 16 points on 6-17 shooting and didn't score in the second half.
In his senior day speech, Green didn’t know what to say at first. He seemed a bit emotional. IU head coach Archie Miller had already talked about the 3-pointers Green has made and will continue to make. He also talked about the lessons he’s tried to teach Green.
“Trying to teach me along the way even if I didn’t want to learn,” Green said when he got to speak to the crowd Saturday.
Green’s senior day performance, even while playing through a left ankle injury, encapsulated a career that is complicated and maddening. It’s characterized by its unpredictability.
Fans have coined the simple nicknames “Good Devonte” and “Bad Devonte” for his two types of performances. Both versions of Green are game changing. “Bad Devonte” makes careless passes and takes crazy shots searching for the highlight reel. “Bad Devonte” was suspended during his junior season for not meeting standards expected by the program.
But then there’s “Good Devonte.” That version comes in the games where he showcases talent that single handedly carries IU past opponents. That’s the version that puts on the best shows, the entertaining player Green wants to be remembered as.
That’s the version that is so good, yet so frustrating to the fans who wonder why that can’t be there every night. There is no way to know which Green will show up.
His career spanned the course of two head coaches and tumultuous years for the program. Green was recruited by former head coach Tom Crean and played his freshman year before Crean was fired.
But he and senior forward De'Ron Davis stayed after Crean was gone and for three years with Miller. Green experienced the highs of wins over Michigan State, Florida State University and Kansas University. He stayed for the lows of the 1-12 stretch last season, the uncertainty of a new coaching hire and failing to make the NCAA Tournament three straight years.
“I mean, for us, we're the last two standing from the Crean era,” Green said Friday. “Not everybody did stick with it. I think that the fact that we chose to says something about us.”
But there is still one thing Green hasn’t done — make the NCAA Tournament. Green stands as part of the first IU graduating class since 1972 to have not made the NCAA Tournament. That was Bob Knight’s first season as IU head coach.
“I mean, we set a goal in the beginning of the season,” Green said. “We knew what was on the line for us as seniors especially, and we want to finish it up the best we can and do something we've never done before in our four years.”
IU isn’t there yet. With the loss to Wisconsin, the team's path to the NCAA Tournament will likely require a win at next week’s Big Ten Tournament.
Green’s IU career only has so many games left. The version of the senior guard that shows up may just determine whether Green attains that last goal.