Charm City Rockets

 By: Derek Toney
From the playgrounds of Baltimore to the Carrier Dome, Donte Greene has been linked to Carmelo Anthony. With his dream of making the National Basketball Association secured, Greene finds himself on a collison course with the former Towson Catholic standout.

Greene was the 28th overall pick by the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the NBA draft Thursday evening. Early Friday morning, Greene was traded to the Houston Rockets as part of a three-way trade that features former Douglass High star Richard Dorsey joining Greene in Texas.

Greene said late Thursday evening his draft rights were going to be traded to the Rockets, but the transaction wasn't finalized until Friday. Greene waited at home for nearly an hour Thursday night with his brother, cousin, agent Phil Strickland and Syracuse assistant coach Rob Murphy for his name to be called by NBA Commissioner David Stern. Meanwhile, nearly 200 friends and family waited at AMF Pikesville Lanes.

"I had to stay in hiding," said Greene, who arrived at the Baltimore County bowling alley around 10:30 p.m. "It’s enough pressure on my being drafted, but I didn’t want here in front of everybody. Just being at home and being able to focus and talk to my manager who had to calm me down. I got picked by Memphis and so I’m definitely blessed about that."

Now headed to Houston, he'll join a talented roster including Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming, who's expected to be a 100-percent from a stress fracture in his left foot that cut short his 2007-08 season. Also in the mix is Dorsey, a defensive stalwart for men’s national runners-up University of Memphis, who was originally selected in the second round Thursday by the Portland Trailblazers before his rights were traded.

Projected as a mid-first rounder, Greene ended up towards the end of the opening round. Some draft analysts believed Greene should have stayed one more year at Syracuse, but Greene said he’s ready to take on the professional grind after just one season at the Big East school.

"He’s going to do very well," said Towson Catholic coach Josh Pratt, who coached Greene as a high school junior and senior. "I think teams draft on need, experience and size. I’m hoping this will be a very good fit for him. Now, he’s in the league and he got to take it to the next level."

Greene’s selection took place exactly five years after Anthony, who also starred at Towson Catholic, was a lottery pick by the Denver Nuggets. Greene played with the Team Melo AAU program in Baltimore, and sought advice from Anthony. Now, he's set to be a rival of Anthony's Nuggets in the Western Conference.

"He just told me I had to work out hard and be in shape for my workouts," said Greene, who led Syracuse in scoring last season and was a Big East Conference All-Rookie selection. "I went into my workouts pretty strong and confident. I was definitely well prepared."

As Greene celebrated his accomplishment with hugs, kisses and pictures with his family and friends, he wished his mother, April, could’ve been there. She died in 2001 when Donte was 13 years old. He started playing basketball as a way to honor her memory.

"I hope she’s proud. I am definitely blessed for what she instilled in me, a strong African-American man," said Greene. "I’m going to continue working hard and try to make it to the top."
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