When Keyen Green started going to school at Phil-Mont Christian in the middle of her eighth grade year she was not a basketball player and had limited interest in the sport.
At the time Green enrolled at Phil-Mont, her cousin Micah Baldez was becoming a key cog in the boys basketball program for the Falcons.
With some influence of Baldez and a little probing by Falcons girls head coach Bill DeHeer, Green decided — kind of — she would become a basketball player.
“Keyen was not convinced as a ninth grader,” DeHeer said. “She came as a volleyball player. She loved volleyball and her first question was where is the volleyball team. So, ironically, I had to do a teeny bit of convincing her to actually play basketball. Not much because she’s an incredible athlete so she’s not going to sit around and do nothing.”
Wednesday, Green, a 6-foot-2 senior, signed a National Letter of Intent to play Division I basketball at the Liberty University as the no. 45 ranked forward by ESPN.com.
Although it took a little while for Green to develop a passion for basketball it took her less time to become skilled at it as she played a key role in leading Phil-Mont to a PIAA Class A semifinal appearance her sophomore season, but still her love for the game wavered.
“I didn’t really have much effect on the team at all (my freshman year),” Green said. “Tenth grade I also didn’t like it. I really didn’t. I dreaded coming to practice, I came late and made excuses for why I wasn’t there but ironically that’s when we got the furthest.
“I think that excitement is what made me want to play last year. Going into last year I did like it more (but) I still wasn’t in love with the game like most basketball players are.”
Another key sophomore on that squad was Tracey Goodman.
Goodman’s career trajectory was bit more linier and predicable. Tracey’s older sister Jana was a senior on that state semifinal squad when Tracey and Green were sophomores and when she took her talents to Kutztown University last year the team was left in good hands.
As Green rapidly developed her raw skills, Goodman fine-tuned her more refined game, as she steadily got better throughout her career. With Goodman her development as a player required a bit more mentally than physically
“She never gets too upset over things and that’s just always been part of her personality,” said DeHeer of Goodman. “Over the course of time, she hasn’t changed she has just become more and more mature. And of course with maturity comes that desire to step up and say I need to be little bit more firm here because that’s what my teammates need.”
Goodman also inked a Division I letter of intent Wednesday as she decided she will play her college ball at Rider University.
Over the course of Goodman’s and Green’s high school careers there was always some intrigue as to what they would do if they were on a bigger team, like a AAAA power surrounded by other supreme talent.
“Being 6-foot-3, she could play point guard, I mean she’s had to play point guard for us,” said DeHeer of Goodman. “Honestly her post game isn’t as strong as her outside game, she’s a 6-3 guard/forward, she’s not a center. She can obviously play the post but I’m excited to see her grow.”
Playing at the collegiate level will answer the question as to what will happen when these very skilled players when surrounded with other high level players. The query is not an indictment on any teammates that Green and Goodman have played with it speaks much more of the specialness of the duo. But first up on the docket is hopefully another deep run in the Class A state playoffs.
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