Maryland men’s basketball transfer and former Old Dominion standout Xavier Green prides himself on his defense and bringing 100 percent effort on that end of the court, and he plans to provide that for the Terps during his final season of college basketball.
The 6-foot-6, 200-pound guard out of Williamsburg, Va., averaged 8.7 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists for Old Dominion from 2017-2021, but he made a name for himself on the defensive end of the court. He earned Conference USA All-Defensive Team honors in 2018-19.
“I play defense and I take pride in defense. I feel like I don’t like people scoring on me,” Green said on Glenn Clark Radio Aug. 10. “… I just take pride in that, and I know I’m a great defender, so I know when I’m out there that’s what I’ve got to do. That’s the one thing that’s going to help my team.”
Green couldn’t quite pick out a time when he was more excited than usual to defend a certain player or team. Rather, he aims to enter all of his games locked in with a winning mentality on the court.
Transferring from Conference USA to the Big Ten is a big step for any basketball player. Green is very excited to be able to lock down some of the highest-level players in the college game.
“It makes me feel good. It’s a big opportunity for me. It builds confidence, and I just can’t wait to go out there and show what I can do,” Green said.
Green averaged 6.7 points on 34.3 percent shooting for the Monarchs last year. Those marks were down from a year prior, when he averaged 12.8 points on 36.8 percent shooting. Green is in the process of trying to get back to how he played in 2019-20.
“I feel like I’ve grown,” Green said. “A lot of times I wasn’t believing in my shot, and I didn’t take enough shots so that does a lot with confidence and stuff like that, but I’ve grown, like I said. I know one thing that cures everything is getting in the gym and getting up those reps. COVID took a lot of that away from me.”
Maryland opened the season against Old Dominion last year, and the Terrapins won, 85-67. Green played 26 minutes and had six points, six rebounds and three assists in that game. Green got a sense of what Maryland was all about in that contest.
“They were solid,” Green said. “They were just hitting shots. We weren’t hitting shots. … I don’t think anyone really broke me down on defense. I just think they made shots and we didn’t.”
Maryland is counting on Green to fill in on the wing given the losses the program has had. The Terps are losing Aaron Wiggins, who was drafted by the Oklahoma City Thunder in the second round last month. Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Darryl Morsell transferred to Marquette.
That leaves Green among the Terps battling for minutes on the wing along with holdovers Hakim Hart and James Graham and newcomers Ike Cornish and Ian Martinez.
Green is confident his experience will allow him to contribute to the team, especially in big moments.
“Playing in close games, you learn a lot of little things — not to be too rattled and just stay the course, play smarter basketball, I think,” Green said. “There’s different levels, but that experience being in closer games, people panic. I’ve been in so many close games, I don’t even know how to panic anymore.”
There are seven new scholarship players on the Terps this year: Green, Cornish, Martinez, Qudus Wahab, Pavlo Dziuba, Fatts Russell and Julian Reese. Green explained how he is going to mesh with his new teammates.
“I think we’ve just got to trust each other,” Green said. “I think guys have got to get accustomed to each other and play basketball with each other — got to hang out a little bit, just get to know each other.”
There are a lot of things that Green wants to accomplish this season with the Maryland men’s basketball program.
“We could win the Big Ten championship, that’s the first goal,” Green said. “You already know we’re trying to make big noise in the NCAA [Tournament].”
For more from Green, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit: Courtesy of ODU Athletics