COLORADO SPRING, Colo.—Lynn Greer II was a great shooter at Temple University, scoring 2,300 career points before graduating in 2003. In his senior year, he averaged 39.8 points and 23.9 points, scoring 47 points against Wisconsin and leading the Owls to the NCAA Final Eight.
After college, the 6-2 guard went on to become a European star who played 13 years for the top teams in Greece, Russia, Turkey, Italy, Greece and the Ukraine as well as a year with the NBA Milwaukee Bucks. He also played an unsung role when Team USA was trying to climb out of the abyss after a bronze medal debacle in the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
Greer II, who had played for a United States gold medal winning team in the World University Games in college, jumped at the chance to play for a hastily put together U.S. national team that was made up of U.S. players from the CBA and the Euro leagues in a 2005 qualifying tournament for a spot in the 2006 World Championships in Japan. The team only won three games in the tournament against South American giants like Argentina and Brazil in the Dominican Republic.
But they did earn a berth in the Worlds when they upset Brazil, 96-94, in a pool round game when Greer was fouled on a three-point shot on the final possession. The call was controversial. The crowd jeered. But Greer stepped to the line and calmly drained three consecutive free throws.
“People tell me he could really score the ball in college,’’ Lynn III said. “A lot of kids only get to hear the stories. I was there. I got to see him play it when he played overseas when I was five, six, seven years old. They say I pass the ball more than he does. I think he could have played multiple years in the NBA. I saw his stats. He was a shooter, didn’t pass much. If he did it was only because he couldn’t shoot. He was a killer.’’
Greer did a lot of traveling. “I have three passports that are completely full,’’ he said. Lynn II finally stopped globetrotting, retiring in 2015 so he could spend more time with his family.
When he showed at the Olympic training center Thursday, he was here at a father, accompanying his talented young son to USA Basketball’s U16 tryout for FIBA Americas tournament later this month in Argentina.
Lynn Greer III is rising 6-1 sophomore star guard who lives in Marlton, N.J. but travels across the bridge to attend Roman Catholic High School so he can compete in competitive Philadelphia Catholic League.
“He was born two weeks before my college graduation,’’ Lynn II said. “and he’s been with me since Day 1. “
Lynn III and his mother Solana would travel with Lynn II to Europe for the season, then returned to South Jersey for a brief time in the summers. Lynn attended international schools where the teachers were Americans or was home schooled with tutors. He learned to speak Turkish and understands a little Russian and played basketball and soccer for junior teams overseas. But living in six different countries was not easy. “It was really stressful,’’ he said. “I didn’t get to see my friends, see my family, spend time with my grandfather.’’
Lynn’s grandfather Lynn Sr., who had been a star in the Philadelphia Public League, helping lead Edison to the 1969 City Championship over Roman and went on to play for Virginia State, where he was good enough to be drafted by the Phoenix Suns in 1973.
He and Lynn II taught Lynn III how to play at the age of eight at the Marlton Rec. in the summers. Lynn III also played on youth development teams connected with some of his father’s European franchises where he would drill two times a day at the age of 10. And he dabbled in soccer.
Lynn III eventually got homesick. He returned to the states to attend middle school in Marlton. His grandfather stayed in the house to watch him. Lamar Greer, an uncle who played for Florida State and has a son, Corey, who plays for nearby Camden, took over his player development, working him out at Camden, nearby Life Center and Next Level. “I let him handle it,’’ Lynn II.
“It’s hard for me to draw the line between being a coach and a dad.’’
“My uncle pushes me a little more,’’ Lynn III said. “My dad has a little pity for me. I need that guy who is going to push me to be better than what I am.’’
Unlike his dad, who was a hard to guard lefty scorer, Greer III is a right natural point guard. “Being a lefty does give me an advantage,’’ Lynn II said. “I guess I should have broken his right arm when he was younger.’’
USA Basketball youth talent evaluator B.J. Johnson, who has since taken a job in personnel with the Brooklyn Nets, discovered last May when Lynn III when he attended the John Lucas’ middle school stars camp in Houston. He went to Texas as an unknown among 220 campers and left as the No. 11 player in the camp. Greer went on attend Chris Paul’s camp and came home to play with a local AAU team in the Sonny Hill League, then made an impression as a 14-year old when he was picked up by Nike-sponsored Team Final 15- and- under team.
“I played a lot of basketball last summer,’’ he admitted.
Greer III was invited to USA Basketball fall mini-camp last October and is now one of 32 finalists for coach Don Showalter’s 12-player youth development roster.
Greer III made the decision to go to Roman after eighth grade. “My school over in Marlton wasn’t meeting my needs in basketball or academics,’’ he admitted. “Plus, my dad wanted me to go somewhere to get tough and I think it works. I got thrown right in it, starting and everything as a freshman. It gave me a chance to play against Quade (Green, Neumann-Goretti’s McDonald’s All- American point guard who played for USA Basketball’s 2016 U18 gold medal team and is going to Kentucky).”
Philadelphia is going through a renaissance in high school basketball, sending three players—6-7 rising junior forward Eric Dixon of Abington and 6-7 rising sophomore forward Noel Collier of Westtown School—to the 32-player trials. Lynn Greer III is the next great prospect off the assembly line.