Jeffrey Greene's hands were shaking. As a star guard at Pittsburg State, he had played in plenty of arenas. But as he stood in Allen Fieldhouse that day in the late 1980s, he was overwhelmed.
Greene, who would break the Pitt State record for points averaged in a season with 24.8 in 1989, was in Lawrence because he was participating in an all-star game nearby. He and the other players were being given a tour of the Kansas campus, which naturally led them to the old barn with the limestone walls and red roof. Greene had become a KU fan living in Pittsburg, watching those great Larry Brown teams play with a fiery intensity. And now he was on that sacred basketball ground.
"I just felt nervous," Greene said. "I typically didn't feel nervous in basketball arenas, but there I had the butterflies and the awe. I could feel that environment. I always thought, if I could raise a kid to be able to play on this floor, life would just be too good to be able to do that."
Greene and his wife, who met at Pitt State, had a son and named him Brannen. He'd grow to 6-foot-7, giving him the body to match the skills his father had passed along to him. And on Monday afternoon, Brannen, a junior at Mary Persons High in Forsyth, Ga., picked up his cell phone and dialed KU coach Bill Self. The coach picked up, and Brannen told him that he'd decided to be a Jayhawk.
Never miss a local story.
"He started yelling," Brannen said. "He put me on speaker phone with the other coaches."
For the past few weeks, as it became clear that Brannen Greene was going to choose KU over Florida, Connecticut and Louisville, Jeffrey has been yelling on the inside.
"Thrilled and humbled and tickled to death," Jeffrey said. "I've been a fan of the Jayhawks since attending Pitt State. Around our home, whenever it's basketball season and I can watch a Jayhawk game, that's exactly where I am, in front of the TV. I'm very proud of the kid. I'm extremely happy that it's a Jayhawk uniform that he'll wear in 2013."
Kansas fans looking for a holiday pick-me-up after the Jayhawks' loss on Monday night to Davidson at the Sprint Center in Kansas City will have to wait two seasons to cheer Greene, a rangy guard rated the No. 35 junior player in the country by Rivals.com. Greene joins Wichita North guard Conner Frankamp in a 2013 class that is shaping up to be a great one.
The credit for this recruiting victory goes directly to Self, who put in the time to make Greene feel like a priority from the first time they spoke in June.
"I had a great relationship with Coach Self," Greene said. "I talked to him the most out of all the coaches. Usually the assistant coaches handle a lot of that, but I was dealing with Coach Self."
Jeffrey Greene says the family trusts Self. Of course, the basketball coach at Kansas could have said just about anything about Brannen and Jeffrey would have been hooked.
Soon, Jeffrey will be back in Allen Fieldhouse, and he'll feel even more nervous this time, watching Brannen in crimson and blue.
"He's got incredible skills," Jeffrey said. "He can handle the ball, shoot the ball, and his IQ is off the charts. He's a 4.0 student. God has just blessed us and put us together with Coach Self and his staff. They've shown tremendous desire to have him on that campus. We couldn't be more thrilled."