Senior Greven Thrives in UAA Title Race

Alex Greven doesn’t like to talk about the future.

Ask the Eagles’ star senior guard about the rest of the 2012 season — a season that could very well be a defining one for the Emory basketball program, with the Eagles currently second in the University Athletic Association (UAA) and riding a five-game winning streak — and his responses are filled with “one game at a time” and similar coach speak.

“We don’t really look at the UAA standings too much,” he said. “We don’t think about that. It means a lot, but we’re trying not to look too far ahead.”

Such is Greven’s role on the team. He is one of a strong core of senior leaders who set the program record for most wins with 67 over four seasons. With Greven on the team, alongside fellow seniors Michael Friedberg, Ollie Carleton and Nash Oh, the Eagles have never had a losing season.

He fills up a box score as well. Greven provides 16.2 points per game for the 13-4 Eagles, good for second on the team.

His 4.8 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game, second and fourth on the team, respectively, are both career highs.

“For all his four years here he’s been a force on defense as well as offense,” Head Coach Jason Zimmerman said.

Greven’s impressive senior season is the culmination of a lifetime of dedication to the sport.

“When I was a little kid, I always wanted to play basketball,” he said. “I wanted to play every sport. Soccer, football, track … I did just about everything.”

Naturally, basketball played a large role in his decision to attend Emory. Greven cited Head Coach Jason Zimmerman and his visions for the program as the main factors.

He averaged 8.5 points per game in the 2009-2010 season as a freshman, and emerged as a sharpshooter from off the bench, finishing in the top 10 in the UAA with a .393 three-point field goal percentage. His defining moment of the season came when he sank a jumper with five seconds left to give Emory a one-point win over Brandeis University.

Greven blossomed into a starter his sophomore season, upping his contributions to 14.5 points and 3.4 rebounds per game.

Greven’s penchant for down to the wire, clutch finishes continued in leading the Eagles to late victories over the University of Chicago and New York University.

He also emerged as a dangerous offensive threat, notching double-digit points in 20 games, and was a dominant free throw shooter with an 83.3 percent mark from the line. He earned a Second Team All-UAA spot at the end of the season.

His junior season was delayed by an injury, but Greven rebounded to put up 12.4 points per game and posted a much more efficient .450 field goal percentage, including .403 from three-point range.

Greven’s senior campaign is shaping up to be his best yet, as he leads the Eagles in pursuit of the first UAA title of his career.

“He’s grown into the system and become a better player for it,” Zimmerman said.

Greven has grown to love the university as well as the basketball team.

“I love everything about this place,” he said. “I’ve really enjoyed every moment with this team.”

Greven’s dedication extends to areas beyond basketball. He is a brother at Sigma Nu and is finishing up his neuroscience and behavioral biology major.

“I’m a nerd,” he said. “I like science stuff. I like philosophy. I like chilling at Sig Nu.”

His unique interests will give him plenty of options when it comes to his post-collegiate career. He plans to pursue his first love, basketball, professionally overseas for as long he can.

But in the present, he is leading the Eaglles in the midst of a contentious UAA title hunt.

“Everybody has just bought into the system,” Greven said of his team. “We’re all brothers. We do everything together. We go to war together.”

Greven hesitated when he was asked to pinpoint the biggest lesson from his four years of Eagles basketball.

“It’s almost hard to verbalize,” he said. “I put so much time and effort into it. I can’t define one thing. It’s helped make me the person I am today.”

—By Ryan Smith