Greene takes off in debut with Rockets

The Baltimore Sun

It didn't take long for Houston Rockets forward and Baltimore native Donte Greene to make some teams reconsider their decision to pass on him in the NBA draft.

Greene, who was picked 28th by the Memphis Grizzlies and then traded to the Rockets, scored 40 points in his first game as an NBA-contract player. The scoring outburst came in a 100-97 win over the Phoenix Suns in the Las Vegas Summer League on Monday. The total was the most points scored by any player so far and was just two points short of the Summer League record.

"It felt good," Greene said via telephone. "A lot of teams passed me up in the draft and this whole summer I have to go out and prove that they made a mistake. I had to start off strong."

Greene added three rebounds, three assists, two steals and no turnovers. He shot 12-for-20 from the field, 5-for-10 from the three-point line and 11-for-12 from the free-throw line. But Greene realized the NBA couldn't be that easy in his second game, Wednesday night against the Cavaliers, when the 6-9 forward scored 17 points, on just 4-for-17 shooting. He also had five rebounds, two steals and four turnovers.

After getting selected in last month's draft, Greene has been busy. He signed his rookie contract just five minutes before Monday's game. According to the NBA rookie pay scale, Greene will be paid $809,300 his first year and the first two years of his contract are guaranteed.

"It feels good to finally get that burden off my back," Greene said. "It feels good to finally be here."

Fellow Baltimore native Joey Dorsey, who was selected 33rd in the second round of the draft by Portland, and later traded to the Rockets, debuted Wednesday night. He was up and down, finishing with eight points on 4-for-4 shooting and 14 rebounds in 28 minutes but also turning it over six times and committing six fouls.

Getting to the NBA has been a dream come true for Dorsey, too.

"I wanted to show the kids in Baltimore that you can make it through hard work," Dorsey said by telephone. "I was so happy to be out there with my teammates. I couldn't stop moving I was so excited."

The 6-8 forward, who helped Memphis reach last year's national championship game, sat out Monday's Summer League game because he had yet to sign a contract. He played in Wednesday night's game even though his contract has yet to be finalized.

"I haven't been too involved with that I'm just letting my agent take care of it," Dorsey said. "I had to be on the floor though and I had to be out there playing."

Before going to Las Vegas, Greene and Dorsey were in Houston working out with new teammates Aaron Brooks and Luther Head. For Greene, traveling to Vegas, and getting started on fulfilling his NBA dream has been exciting.

"It's crazy, but fun, especially after Monday night," Greene said. "Everyone knew I put up 40, and I was getting a lot of love and it was kind of cool seeing all of the NBA stars. It's like being in a candy shop, seeing all kinds of things I've never seen before."

Greene's also been in touch with the Rockets coaching staff, who have told him his game is coming along. He got a congratulatory call from Rockets coach Rick Adelman after Monday night's performance.

"[Adelman] called me after the game and he was a pretty cool dude," Greene said. "He said if I keep learning the offense I can be pretty good."

Greene hasn't had the opportunity to talk to Rockets stars Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming. When he does though, there probably won't be much talking anyway.

"When I see them I'm not asking them nothing," Greene said. "I'm just going to sit and listen and watch. Observe how they work out and everything and just take it all in."

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