CEDAR FALLS — Emerson Green kept in touch with her friends in Cedar Falls after her family made the move to Eau Claire, Wis., during her third grade year. When her dad, Kyle, returned to the UNI men’s basketball coaching staff one year later, she picked up from where she left off.
A community that has always felt like home will be Green’s college home. On Thursday, the Cedar Falls incoming junior verbally committed to continue her basketball career at the University of Northern Iowa.
“I just knew that I wanted to stay close to home,” said Green, who received a scholarship offer after her freshman year of high school. “After meeting with the staff a couple of times, I just fell in love with the program and all the coaches. It really felt like home. I wanted to stay where both of my parents could watch me and my brother.”
Similar to her brother AJ, a highly-touted UNI men’s basketball incoming freshman, Emerson has found instant success at the high school level.
Green elevated herself from a reserve role as a freshman into a first-team all-state selection this past year, leading Cedar Falls with an average of 14.9 points per game on 54.7 percent shooting from the field and 43.4 percent from 3-point range. She also produced single-game averages of 3.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 3 steals.
“The strides she made from freshman year to her sophomore year, we’re already seeing that stride from her sophomore to junior year,” Cedar Falls coach Gregg Groen said. “Athletically, she has so much potential with what she can do.
“She can handle the basketball and she can shoot really well. She’s one of our best defenders.”
In addition to retaining a tight family bond at UNI, Green will have an opportunity to reunite with former high school teammates and incoming Panther freshmen Kiana Barney, Cynthia Wolf and Kamryn Finley.
“They really helped me develop as a player,” Green said, addressing the trio she started alongside on last year’s 22-2 state tournament team. “I still have a really good bond with them and I wanted to keep that. ... They’re just a great group of girls and they’ll always be there for me.”
A multi-sport athlete, Green was also a member of Cedar Falls’ state championship volleyball team and finished third in the Class 4A state long jump this past year. She’s set to tour with the Iowa Prep AAU program this summer.
As for this college decision, she added, “It’s definitely a relief to know that I get to play where I’ve always wanted to play. It’ll make me keep wanting to work harder.”