Ryann Green says the introductions when meeting people in Chicago typically follow the same pattern:
“Where did you go to school? When did you go?”
Then it goes to basketball.
“What year did you play?”
Then a pause.
“Was that the year the coach fell off the stool? Was that the year R.J. Hunter hit that shot?”
Because Green, who works in the business office at Northwestern University, frequently wears his Georgia State gear around the city when he’s not at work the pattern happens often.
“It’s a great conversation starter,” he said.
The Shot, as it is called, was a 30-foot 3-pointer hit by Hunter to push the Panthers past Baylor 57-56 in the second round of the 2015 NCAA men’s basketball tournament in Jacksonville, Fla. The shot, and the impact of the victory, caused Ron Hunter, R.J.’s father, to fall off his stool. (Hunter had torn the Achilles tendon in his left leg as he celebrated his team’s tournament bid.)
“Not much of anything that tops that moment…until I get married and have my first born child will probably top that,” he said.
What may not be remembered is that until the game’s final 3 minutes, Green was arguably Georgia State’s best offensive player. A point guard more known for defense than offense, Green finished with a career-high 11 points on 4-of-9 shooting.
“That was potentially the last game of my college career,” he said. “(Ryan) Harrow was out. Other players, not must myself, other players stepped up on that stage. It was a perfect blend of team. A collective group of guys who specific things very well and it complemented our team in the best way possible.”
Green , who walked onto Georgia State’s team and didn’t earn a scholarship until his senior year, graduated with a bachelor’s in finance and earned a graduate degree in sports administration. After working in the business office at Georgia State, he accepted a position as the assistant director of business operations in Northwestern’s athletics department. He is about to start a 24-week course to earn a certificate in data visualization through Northwestern.
Green moved to Chicago just a few weeks before Loyola’s run to the Final Four in 2018. Green lived just a few blocks from campus on the north side of Chicago. In gas stations and at grocery stores …everyone wore the maroon and yellow of Loyola.
“They had a much longer run than we did, but to see the way the city rallied around this small school, it was crazy,” he said. “I felt like I was living the drama all over again. For a few weekends I became a Rambler.”
Basketball is still very much a part of Green.
Before COVID-19 struck, Green’s intramural team was beaten in the championship because he said he missed the front end of a one-on-one. The opposing team rebounded and hit a half-court shot.
Green is organizing a team of Georgia State alums to compete in The Basketball Tournament. He has confirmed participation from Devin Mitchell, Kevin Ware, Jordan Session and D’Marcus Simonds.
When pointed out that there are no big men on that roster, Green said the Georgia State way is to run-and-gun.
Though more than 1,000 miles away, Green said he watched every one of Georgia State’s games last season and is excited about the direction of the program under coach Rob Lanier as well as attending a game at the new convocation center when it opens.
“My love for Georgia State is at the highest peak, it’s always first in my heart no matter where I am,” he said.
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