It's always fun to inform an athlete they have set a record or accomplished a personal best.
To me, there is no greater way to prove your top priority is helping the team win than not getting caught up in your personal stats. Such was the case last Saturday night at Cedar City when Utah State took on Southern Utah in men's basketball.
Following a career night in the scoring department, Aggie guard Brian Green was not aware of what he had done. While it's happened a few times over the years, it never gets old for me. Sometimes I have to wonder if the athlete really doesn't know, but in this case I'm sure Green did not.
When I asked for his thoughts on scoring a career-high, Green responded: "How many?"
I told him he had finished with 19 points.
"Really?" Green asked. "That's cool."
Then the senior guard chuckled a little.
"Honestly, points don't really matter to me," Green said. "Whatever I have to do to help the team, whatever we have to do to win, that's what matters.
"That's cool that I got a career high, but as long as we got the win. That is what we wanted."
His 19 points led the team in a 66-53 win against the Thunderbirds. He had 14 points in the second half, with seven of those coming during a crucial 13-0 Aggie run.
Before that surge by USU, Green had gotten after his fellow Aggies some. Senior forward Tai Wesley pointed to that outburst as what got USU going.
"It was Brian Green yelling at us," Wesley said. "Brian Green got after us."
He told his teammates they were playing soft and did that by getting in their faces with a challenge to play better.
For some, that may be a bit surprising as Green is one of the smaller players on the roster at 6-foot-1. Plus, he comes off the bench.
But as we all learned a year ago, Green is a vocal player. In his first season with the Aggies, he didn't shy away from firing up his teammates and getting after them last season.
"That's just the way I am," Green said. "... I just had to get them going."
USU head coach Stew Morrill called Green a "fireball."
He certainly has been hot when it comes to shooting, especially the past two games. At BYU last Wednesday, Green scored 17 points in 26 minutes as he was 6-of-7 from the field and 5-of-6 from 3-point range. Against the Thunderbirds, he was 5-of-7 from the field, 4-of-5 from behind the arc and 5-of-6 at the free throw line in 29 minutes of action.
Green's shooting shouldn't be a surprise either. He did lead the Western Athletic Conference in 3-point shooting, making 50 percent of his shots from long range.
Last week he came off the bench to average 18 points on 11-of-14 shooting from the field (78.6 percent) and 9-of-11 (81.8 percent) from 3-point land. That's pretty impressive.
"Honestly, my teammates are getting me open," Green said. "They're looking for me, and they (shots) are just going in. I'm playing confident right now and credit my teammates."
With him shooting that well, they darn well better be looking for him. For the season, Green has the second-best scoring average on the team at 15.3 ppg and is shooting 63.6 percent from the field and 66.7 percent from 3-point range.
And he is proving to be the vocal leader the Aggies need as well.
The foul at BYU
Honestly, I'm still scratching my head over a call last Wednesday near the end of the BYU game.
I'm sure Aggie fans know exactly what I'm talking about. The fifth foul on Wesley was utter nonsense.
That said, officials make mistakes. Plus, Wesley has a reputation, so WAC refs are always watching him a bit closer. At least that is how I feel.
But to go and review the play and then come up with it being an intentional foul, that is ridiculous. I have been able to watch several replays, and there was no contact. The foul had been called, so it's not like that was going to be reversed, but to decide it was an intentional foul is absurd.
My guess is the official was looking for a flagrant foul, which could have led to a suspension for Wesley. Well, when there was no contact, that couldn't happen. But to give the Cougars two free throws and the ball is laughable.
It would have been interesting to see how the game would have turned out had Wesley not fouled out with two minutes to play. The Aggies had the ball and were down three at the time. I'm not saying USU would have won, but it would have been a more exciting finish.