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Ask Cam

Revisiting a CSU great

October 25, 2010

Question:

Why did All-American basketball player Bill Green, who was drafted by the Boston Celtics, leave the Celtics?

Cam’s answer:

Questions like this make my days pretty darned interesting! Thanks for keeping my wooly cranium hopping with All Things Ram.

To find out more about Bill Green, one of CSU’s top athletes, I spoke with Tony Phifer, master of Ram athletics. His astute answer speaks well all on its own without any more help from me:

Bill Green, a 6-foot-6 forward, was CSU’s first consensus All-American in basketball and is still considered the greatest player in school history. After graduating in 1963, Green was selected by the Boston Celtics in the first round – the No. 8 overall selection. No other CSU player has been drafted as high.

While playing at CSU, Green had developed an intense fear of flying. Despite counseling and encouragement from Celtics coach Red Auerbach, Green could not overcome his fear of flying, and he quit the team before ever playing a game.

Green, who was also drafted by the Boston Red Sox and the Dallas Cowboys, went on to become an award-winning junior high school principal in The Bronx, N.Y. He died in 1994 at age 53 following a heart attack.

Tony also tells me:

Bill Green was really a fascinating character. He could barely read when he arrived on campus, having come from a very poor background in Alabama. He managed to stick it out, however, and not only was a tremendous player (I’m too young to remember him) but he graduated in four years and went on to turn around one of the worst schools in New York. He died way too young.


Cam the Ram