Cats coup as college star Greenwood signs

Nick Rynne

The Perth Wildcats have secured the signature of one of the brightest Australian talents coming out of American college system this year, with 23-year-old guard Hugh Greenwood committing to a three-year deal.

The University of New Mexico graduate remains hopeful of earning a spot on an NBA roster next season, and trained with the Utah Jazz last week.

However if the NBA dream doesn’t materialise, he will be arriving in WA in July to begin his career as a Wildcat.

Speaking exclusively toThe West Australian from his training base in Las Vegas, Greenwood said he had a number of offers from NBL clubs, but the Wildcats were too hard to overlook.

“I think that looking back at my experiences with the University of New Mexico I had such an incredible experience, the fan base was great, facilities were fantastic, support staff were great,” he said.

“I look at Perth and I see the same thing. I see great coaches, obviously the fan base is incredible, Perth Arena is great and the community gets around the Wildcats.

“I wasn’t ready to leave New Mexico, so the possibility of being able to do the same thing in Perth was probably the most enticing thing.”

Greenwood, a former captain of the Australian under-19 side, said the opportunity to work closely with Boomer assistant and Wildcats head coach Trevor Gleeson was also a factor in his decision.

“My ultimate goal if I don’t make the NBA this year is to make the Olympics next year,” he said.

“If I can get an Olympic gig it’s obviously going to help with future NBA aspirations as well and I think Perth is going to give me the best opportunity to do that.”

Greenwood carved out an impressive career in his four years with the UNM Lobos, leading his team to five championships, three NCAA tournaments and being named co-MVP in his final season.

The Tasmanian is unlikely to have his name called out at the June 25 NBA draft, but could make his way onto a roster through the summer league.

He said the performance of Cleveland Cavaliers cult figure and fellow Australian Matthew Dellavedova in this year’s play-offs would hopefully open up some opportunities.

“It’s definitely helping, that’s for sure,” he said.

“The trend right now is trying to find that guy who plays hard and helps his teammates out, which is what Delly is doing.

“To do it on the national stage and do it in the finals, hopefully teams are trying to find that next guy and my game is very similar to Delly’s.”

Greenwood’s signature leaves the Wildcats with two spots still vacant on next season’s roster.