Tom Keegan: Greene has shot to lead nation

Kansas guard Brannen Greene (14) watches one of his first-half three pointers, Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Brannen Greene (14) watches one of his first-half three pointers, Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

— If Brannen Greene consistently puts forth the effort in all areas that he did in Saturday’s rout of Montana, then it’s not premature to say Bill Self already has made his best move of the season by suspending Greene for six games (minus one for good behavior).

Making a start in place of late-arriving Devonté Graham, Greene did all the things coaches and NBA scouts have wanted to see out of him since falling in love-at-first-sight with his drop-dead-gorgeous jump shot.

One game does not serve as proof of a permanent change, but in his third game back from the penalty imposed on Greene for flipping out over playing time, he played like somebody beginning to see the error of his past ways.

Greene not only moved aggressively without the ball, he looked as interested in preventing his man from scoring as in scoring himself. He hustled all over the court to stay with him and alertly retreated in defensive transition. All that hustle didn’t prevent him from having the energy to shoot as he usually does from long range, which is to say superbly.

In five games, Greene has a three-point percentage of .786 (11 for 14), .833 overall (15 for 18), .889 from the line (8 for 9). Emmett Naar from St. Mary’s of California leads the nation in three-point shooting (.694). In order to qualify, a player is required to play in 75 percent of his team’s games and average at least 2.5 made threes per game.

Greene is capable of reaching those minimum requirements and leading the nation in three-point percentage. Here’s how: defend the way he did vs. Montana so that he averages 18 minutes instead of the current 13.2. So far this season, Green has averaged a three-point field goal every six minutes on the floor. If he plays every game the rest of the way, he’ll reach the required 75 percent by the 20th game, at Iowa State on Monday, Jan. 25. It won’t require .786 or even Naar’s .694 to lead the nation. A year ago, Eastern Illinois’ Cornell Johnston led with a .519 three-point percentage.

As well as Kansas moves the ball, Greene will have no shortage of open shots, so it’s just a matter of whether he defends and rebounds well enough to earn ample minutes to put up enough shots to qualify.