When junior high school star Draymond Green made a verbal commitment to play men's basketball for Kentucky 11 years ago, the news did not exactly stop the presses.
The article on Green's choice of UK in the Feb. 20, 2007, Herald-Leader was five paragraphs long and ran on page B6.
It seems like it should have been a bigger deal. A 6-foot-7 forward from Saginaw, Mich., Green was averaging 25 points, 13 rebounds and six assists for a team ranked No. 1 in Michigan's Class A (that state's classification for its largest high schools) at the time of his commitment.
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Green had chosen to play for Tubby Smith and UK over Michigan, Michigan State, Xavier and Indiana for a reason. His high school coach, Lou Dawkins, had been a starter for Smith on the 1993-94 Tulsa team that, as a No. 12 seed, upset UCLA and Oklahoma State in the NCAA Tournament..
"So I know exactly what Coach Smith is looking for," Dawkins told the Herald-Leader's Jerry Tipton.
Today, of course, Green is "the glue guy" for the star-laden Golden State Warriors, who are currently playing in the NBA Finals for the fourth consecutive year. Green ended the 2017-18 NBA regular season with per-game averages of 11 points, 7.6 rebounds, 7.3 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.3 blocks.
As it turned out, Green was a "Next Cat" for roughly one month. His plans to play for the Cats were short-circuited on March 22, 2007, when Smith shocked the basketball world by leaving Kentucky for Minnesota.
With Smith gone, so was Green's rationale for choosing UK.
Not long after Tubby's exit, Green decommitted.
In June of 2007, Green told the Herald-Leader he had been disappointed when Smith left UK. "At first, I was kind of upset," Green said. "When I talked to Coach Smith, like he said, 'I had to do what's best for me.'"
Billy Gillispie, Smith's replacement at Kentucky, made what Green perceived to be a lukewarm effort via text messaging to woo Green back to the Cats.
"If you want me to come to your school, treat me like you want me to come," Green told the Herald-Leader in 2007.
Ultimately, Green committed to Michigan State and Coach Tom Izzo. In East Lansing, Green played on two Final Four teams (2009 and 2010). By his senior season in 2011-12, he developed into a First Team All-American and the Big Ten Player of the Year.
Taken by Golden State with the 35th overall pick (fifth choice of the second round) in the 2012 NBA Draft, Green has become a vital cog for the Warriors' powerhouse.
Due to his demonstrative on-court personality, Green has also become one of the NBA's more polarizing figures.
If, like me, you enjoy plausible alternate-history scenarios, there are two fascinating "what-ifs" associated with Green's brief pledge to Kentucky.
Hypothetical one: By the time Green committed to UK, Smith's coaching tenure at Kentucky had gone stale with a combined 25 losses his final two seasons.
However, in the 2006-07 season, Smith had a freshman guard on his roster, Jodie Meeks, who would go on to become a major UK star.
That year, Smith was also in a pitched recruiting battle with Florida for class of 2007 high school star Patrick Patterson. Ultimately, Gillispie would win the fight for Patterson for UK.
The "what-if:" Had Smith stayed at Kentucky and gotten Patterson's commitment, would a nucleus of Meeks, Patterson and class of 2008 prospect Green have reinvigorated Tubby's program?
Hypothetical two: Lou Dawkins, Green's high school coach and Smith's former player at Tulsa, was the connection between the forward and UK.
Dawkins, now an assistant coach on Dennis Felton's staff at Cleveland State, has a son who has been much in the news in recent months.
Christian Dawkins, an aspiring players' agent, is under federal indictment after being alleged by the FBI to have been a central figure in the federal government's ongoing investigation into financial improprieties in college basketball recruiting.
Among the allegations against Christian Dawkins, the FBI says he was involved with representatives of Adidas and others in a plan to funnel $100,000 to the family of recruit Brian Bowen in exchange for the player choosing Louisville.
The "what-if:" Had Green played at Kentucky, would UK many years later have been a program more heavily on the radar of Christian Dawkins?
Mark Story: 859-231-3230; Twitter: @markcstory