Some NBA observers may be surprised by Danny Green's play in The Finals.
But Jerry Powell isn't one of them.
Powell has trained Green since he was in eighth grade. So he isn't the least bit shocked by what Green has accomplished over the past 11 days.
"I'm not surprised at all," Powell said Monday. "I know that he's put the work in for years ... Most kids are dating basketball. He was married to it. He deserves everything that he gets."
Many who knew Green during his time at Long Island's St. Mary's High School feel the same way.
They remember Green as a humble, down-to-earth and respectful student, both on and off the court. And they couldn't be happier to see Green's star turn in The Finals.
"Danny always maintained a level of respect for his teachers and fellow classmates and he didn't put himself above anybody else," said Mike Ryan, who taught Green in Economics and Government his senior year. "I think that's really the most admiring thing about him."
Green was the same way on the court. He was named a McDonald's All-America as a senior and led Saint Mary's to a state championship, but always maintained a humble approach to the game.
"Danny has always been one of the hardest working individuals that I know," said Billy Turnage, who was an assistant at St. Mary's during Green's tenure. "He's always set goals, he's always been focused and he's always busted his tail to have the best chance possible to attain the goals that he sets."
Green's also always maintained a connection with his hometown of North Babylon.
He runs summer basketball camps in North Babylon and at Floral Park Memorial HS to benefit the Hempstead, Long Island-based "Remember Our Youth" Foundation, which is dedicated to gang prevention in at-risk neighborhoods.
To those who know him well, Green's charitable work is just an example of "Danny being Danny."
"He's probably one of the greatest kids I've ever worked with," said Powell, who has trained scores of NBA players. "He always stayed so positive and was never hot-headed. He just worked."
No one close to Green expects that to change now. Sure, he's set the Finals mark for 3-pointers made (he's hit a record 25 of 38 3-pointers through five games) and has become a household name for fans watching the Spurs-Heat series. But those who know Green well don't see the success getting to his head.
"He's the most humble kid I've ever met in my life," Powell says, "And that's not going to change."