UNI’s AJ Green Signs Two-Way Contract with Midwest NBA Team
AJ Green is arguably the greatest player to come through the UNI basketball program. As of last night when he signed as an undrafted free agent with the Milwaukee Bucks, he'll have every opportunity to show the rest of the NBA just how talented he is. The Cedar Falls native inked his name onto a two-way contract -- we'll first see him in a Bucks uniform in the NBA Summer League.
The NBA's Summer League will start July 7 and go through July 18 -- this is where up-and-coming (mostly) young players get their first feel for the speed of an NBA game, play under future assistants, and meet new teammates.
Green will also have a chance to show off his talent to other NBA teams, should Milwaukee decide to move on at a later date.
Though unfortunate he went undrafted, Green will have the opportunity to be the first Panther to ever earn minutes on an NBA court. Seth Tuttle, Wes Washpun, and Jeremy Morgan each played in the NBA Summer League, and Washpun, Morgan, and Isaiah Brown have played in the G-League, but none made the leap to the NBA. The likelihood Green makes the jump is much higher, considering he signed a two-way deal.
The two-time Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) Player of the Year finished his career in Cedar Falls averaging 17.9 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game while shooting 41.4 percent from the field, 37.8 percent from three, and 90 percent from the free-throw line. He also led the Panthers to two MVC regular-season titles.
Much speculation surrounded the 6'4, 190-pound guard at season's end, regarding whether or not he would return to UNI, transfer to another school, or pursue his childhood dream of playing in the NBA.
On June 1st, we finally got the verdict when Green announced he'd be keeping his name in the NBA Draft. Today, just over three weeks since his decision, he knows where he's headed, and it fulfills something he's been chasing his whole life.
This is what he told me during an interview on Cornstalks and Sports Talk:
(Making it to) the NBA has been my dream since I was young. That's always been the end goal.
This is what he told me regarding how he'll make an NBA roster:
Basically, it's getting better and better at (shooting and making a variety of shots). ... That's going to be the best way for me to get my spot (in the NBA), and then, it's just about building from that so I can showcase I can play off the ball, too. That I can handle the ball, play off ball screens, and make plays for others.
Green will join an already loaded roster in Milwaukee, and while signing a two-way contract is a big deal, the ultimate goal will be earning a roster spot and a fully-guaranteed contract.
Last season, the Bucks went 51-31, finishing third out of 15 teams in the NBA's Eastern Conference and falling to the Boston Celtics in the second round of the playoffs. Their leading scorer last season was two-time NBA MVP (2019, 2020) Giannis Antetokounmpo who put up 29.9 points per contest along with 11.6 rebounds and 5.8 assists.
Mike Budenholzer is the head coach in Milwaukee, having been in the position for the previous four seasons. While there, he's posted a record of 213-96 and led the Bucks to the 2021 NBA Championship. His overall record as a coach is 426-293.
Had Green been drafted, he would've been the first since Bill McCoy (6th round, 1973) and Pete Spoden (4th round, 1964) were taken.