At any given game this past basketball season you could look at the last row of section 106 in the Ryan Center. There you would find, more often than not, Kenny Green.
Green is not your typical former college athlete. For starters, he is the all-time leader in blocked shots at URI, and secondly, he has returned to Rhody 30 years later to fulfill a promise to his mother.
Kenny Green first stepped foot in Kingston back in 1985. The 6’8”, Waterbury, Connecticut native was ready to make a name for himself at Rhode Island. Green played from 1985-1990 and helped take the Rams to the Sweet Sixteen in 1987-1988 and came within two points of beating Duke.
In his career at Rhode Island Green amassed 1,724 points, which puts him at No. 11 in program history. He is also sixth all-time in rebounds with 996, but his biggest strength was his shot blocking ability. Green still sits atop the all-time blocks category for Rhody with 328. In the 1989-1990 season Green finished first in the NCAA in blocks per game with 4.8 per contest and finished second in total blocks, 124, behind Dikembe Mutombo.
After his time at Rhody, Green left and decided to go play overseas. He left the University of Rhode Island 15 credits short of his degree. After 12 successful years playing, Green decided to stay in the game and pick up coaching for the love of the game. After his time overseas, Green knew it was time to come back and take care of some unfinished business.
“I have a daughter playing at Indiana Tech at Fort Wayne Indiana, and she laid down a bet that she would finish before I did,” said Green. “That got me going, knowing I was so close and it was impossible while I was coaching and have the time. So I decided to take a year off and come back and finish.”
Trying to earn those last 15 credits proved to be more difficult than anyone originally thought for one reason. In 1985, there was no such thing as a communications major.
“When they went over my transcript they had to change everything from speech,” said Green. “My advisor didn’t know the challenge because it took us three days to figure the equivalent of everything.”
Returning to college 30 years later is no easy task. Green has not only noticed a significant change in the difficulty of classes but also the change in the campus itself.
“We had the first nice day of spring last week and I took a walk on campus past the Quad,” Green recalls. “There might have been 10 kids on the quad and I thought ‘Are you serious?’ When we were in school the quad would have been a mosh pit.”
Although Green isn’t on the team anymore he still is involved with the team. He has built a relationship with URI big men Cyril Langevine and Jermaine Harris. Langevine fell short of averaging a double-double for the season which has not been done since Green posted 17.6 points and 10.9 rebounds back in 1989-1990 season. Although it was his record, he was rooting for Langevine all the way.
“I use to tell him, ‘It’s an honor if you break that record, records are meant to be broken,’” said Green. “For a kid that is genuine, that is the person you want to break your record.”
Green started taking classes again this past summer. He is currently enrolled in classes and intends on graduating this May, which would mean that he fulfilled his promise.
“After graduation, we will see what happens,” said Green. “I have options to go back overseas, but from 1990 to 2007 is a long time so I’m really looking to set roots down in the States and see what happens.”