Green finds home at Barry
Following 2009 draft snub, former Oklahoma St. player thrives
Dean Green had no idea that fate was going to throw him a curveball after his junior season at Oklahoma State. Green was told he was going to be taken in the 2009 Major League Baseball draft, so it made sense to leave school and pursue his professional baseball dream.
At least Green thought it made sense as he prepared for the next step in his career.
“I felt like I had put up pretty good numbers, and when my name wasn’t called on draft day, I didn’t know what to think about it. I was shocked,” Green said. “I honestly didn’t know what I was going to do next.”
He certainly had no shot of going back to OSU. His scholarship had already been given away, divided among three players, and there was no way Green and his family were going to be able to come up with the money to pay for tuition.
Green juggled the idea of attending a junior college closer to home in Oklahoma just to finish his degree, but everything changed when one of his friends put him touch with Barry head coach Marc Pavao.
The opportunity to play for the Buccaneers, one of the top teams in NCAA Division II, was too good to pass up.
“My friend told me to give him five minutes and he would have a team for me,” Green said. “Coach Pavao called me up and offered me a scholarship and the rest is history. I’ve been very blessed to have an opportunity to play at Barry and have a chance to showcase my talents for a great program.”
There is no question that Green has put his skills on display, time and again this season, helping the Buccaneers (35-15) win a Sunshine State Conference championship for only the second time in school history and putting them in a position to contend for a national title as well.
“It’s been a great experience for me,” Green said. “The lifestyle is a lot different here than it is in Oklahoma. It’s a lot more fast-paced, but I have great teammates and I’ve had a lot of fun playing here.”
Green has certainly made his presence felt, and at one point this year, he put together a 21-game hitting streak. Green opened eyes and dropped jaws during the streak, putting up numbers that scream for attention. He hit .570, racked up 12 doubles, a triple and crushed 13 home runs. Green drove in 41 runs during that stretch and only struck out four times.
The thing is, there was never any added pressure on the shoulders of Green during the streak.
“I didn’t really think about it the whole time it was going on,” Green said. “I just went out and tried to hit the ball hard and do the little things right.”
As impressive as it was, it hasn't been the only time Green has been on top of his game this season. He leads the team in several categories, including batting average and home runs, and established himself as one of the top players in the rugged Sunshine State Conference. Green is hitting .402 and has belted 18 home runs. He also has 19 doubles and has knocked in 71 runs.
His success is hardly a surprise. As a junior at OSU, Green started 49 games at first base and had 12 multi-hit games. In 2008, he was the designated hitter for the Cowboys and tallied two or more hits in 16 games. He also hit .313 in the Big 12 that season, the fourth best average on the team.
Green, who was a three-time Academic All-American in the Big 12 while at OSU, credits his success to hard work.
“I feel like I’ve improved at the plate because of all of the extra time I’ve put in,” Green said. “I’ve worked hard on a lot of different aspects of my game and have focused on doing the little things right. My coaches have done a great job of making me a better player and I’ve learned a lot about the game of baseball.”
Barry is done with its regular season and won’t be back in action until later this month for the NCAA tournament. The time off has given Green a chance to reflect on what it has meant to help lead the Buccaneers to the conference title.
“It’s a huge thrill,” Green said. “I was close to winning one in the Big 12, and to be a part of only the second championship the school has won is special.”
Still, the Buccaneers aren’t done winning just yet. They have their sights set on winning a regional championship and punching a ticket to the College World Series in Cary, N.C., later this month.
“There isn’t anytime to slack off,” Green said. “We have to continue to work on our hitting and we all have to be ready to step up and play our best when the tournament starts.
Barry, tied for 10th in the nation in the latest Collegiate Baseball Top 30 poll, could very well make a run at the national title, but for now, it has to stay focused on the task at hand. One thing is for certain, and that is Green and his teammates aren’t dealing with a shortage of confidence.
“We feel like if we play baseball the way we are capable of playing it, we can win it all,” Green said. “We are ready for the challenge.”