Head coach Kermit Davis filled his final scholarship slot Thursday with the signing of Antonio Green, a 6-foot-2 guard who joins the Blue Raiders from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.
Green will sit out the 2017-18 season due to the NCAA transfer bylaws and will then have two years of eligibility remaining at Middle Tennessee.
“We are very excited to have Antonio join Middle Tennessee basketball,” Davis said. “He is a fantastic young man who had an outstanding sophomore year at UTRGV. He’s an excellent shooter that I think will benefit greatly from his redshirt year.”
As a sophomore at UTRGV, Green averaged 16.7 and 3.3 rebounds per game, converting 40 percent of his field goals and 37 percent of his 3-pointers. His 111 made triples led the Western Athletic Conference and ranked 12th nationally, helping him earn All-WAC Second Team honors.
Green was named the 2016 WAC Freshman of the Year in his inaugural season of collegiate basketball, averaging 11.6 points, 4.2 boards and 3.0 assists per outing.
“I feel like this is a really good opportunity for me to continue my career as a Blue Raider,” Green said. “They have built some really good tradition there recently and I think it’ll be a good fit for me to come in and help continue that tradition.”
The high-scoring guard hails from Tupelo, Miss., where Kermit Davis, Sr., coached the Tupelo Golden Wave to a pair of state titles. As a senior at Tupelo, Green averaged 17.5 points per game while shooting over 50 percent from three to earn a spot in the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Game.
“Antonio played for an outstanding high school coach in Jeff Norwood, and what a small world as my dad won two state championships at Tupelo in the mid-1960s,” Davis added. “The Tupelo Golden Wave has a special place with the Davis family.”
“I think it was really big to me that Coach Davis is from Mississippi and his dad still lives here in Tupelo,” Green said. “It kind of just adds up on top of everything else that helped me choose Middle Tennessee.”
Norwood, Green’s head coach at Tupelo, played college basketball at Mississippi State where he was a teammate of Davis, Green’s new head coach, and continues to admire the way Davis teaches the game.
“I’ve always enjoyed watching Coach Davis and his practices all the way back to when he was at Chipola,” Norwood said. “He is very detailed and innovative but in a way that’s very easy for the guys to understand.
“I think he will really be able to instill in Antonio some of the basic fundamentals but from a different perspective that will really be helpful to Antonio’s development.”
That being said, Norwood also expressed that Coach Davis is adding an already talented player to the Blue Raider program.
“Coach Davis is getting a guy that will be able to do a lot of different things for him,” Norwood said. “Antonio can guard well and really understands defenses, but his specialty is shooting and I see him working on that every single day. He is a really talented player. This is a win-win for both of them for sure.”