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There was never any switch to turn on; everything needed for success was already there.

Before she became the all-state leader of the 2011 WIAA state champion Nicolet girls basketball team, the person no one wanted to guard, the person who could always be counted on to hit the big shot, grab the crucial rebound, make the important stop, Ashley Green considered herself a bit reserved, even a bit shy.

"Corey (then Nicolet coach Corey Bronson Wolf) said I was pretty passive as a freshman," she said. "but she saw something (in me), and the whole staff helped me gain confidence."

Green really took that to heart after her sophomore year.

"Corey told us that in order to be better, we had to take it to another level," Green said. "That's why I started working with AAU coaches (and teams) in order to improve."

The rest, as they say, is history.

Working with Nicolet Hall of Famer Bronson Wolf as her coach and surrounded by the storied, nearly perfect starting five that included Alex Cohen, Gabby Bronson, Brittney Fair and Courtney Smith, Green led Nicolet to the coveted state title in 2011. That she was also a two-time Now All-Suburban Player of the Year and all-stater was just icing on the cake.

All of that led up to a lovely moment on the evening of Jan. 6 at her alma mater. Green, a self-possessed, confident, very smart, genial soon-to-be 24-year old, was before the podium at Nicolet calmly and graciously thanking her parents, teammates (including  those in cross-country and track) and coaches for helping make her who she is.

Which among other things, and specifically that evening, was a newly inducted member of the Nicolet Athletic Hall of Fame.

She had burnished those credentials by being, among other things, a high-level graduate of UW-Milwaukee, where she finished her basketball career fourth all-time on the career scoring list (though she said she would have traded many hundreds of those points for just one NCAA tournament bid).

She is also a doctoral student in physical therapy at UW-Madison, where she is tearing up the PT program's intramural basketball program ("It's not even fair that she's a part of that,"Bronson-Wolf said), and not surprisingly, she is coaching a seventh-grade basketball out in the Madison suburb of Middleton.

Coincidentally, it was Middleton that Green and her teammates beat in 2011 for that state crown.

Full of potential

In short, people saw potential in Green in so many ways. For all she's done, they feel she is just beginning to scratch the surface of who she could be.

"As young ladies when they come in their freshmen and sophomore years, you don't really know what you're getting sometimes," Bronson Wolf said. "Sometimes the personality on the court is much different than the one off the court, and that can occasionally be a problem, but Ashley is so competitive both on and off the court. She is very prideful in everything that she does. She's very driven both academically and athletically.

"That's the way it is with special players a lot of the time. This is who they are. This is how they live their lives. There is no on or off switch. It's always on. She wants to compete. She always wants to get better."

Green joined the legendary Jenkins twins (Bill and Bob); all-around athlete James Allison; basketball and track star Felicia Sutton Townes; legendary swim coach Dwight Davis; and Nicolet ground zero recreation director, youth coach and administrator Mel Wade in being inducted.

There was a lovely dinner at the school as the Nicolet and Homestead girl/boy basketball doubleheader was being held. Presenters effusively praised the inductees, and the inductees graciously thanked all those who helped them along the way.

Bronson Wolf, the girls coach at Homestead, was inducted at her alma mater, Nicolet, a long time ago. She, too, was a hard-charging, driven basketball player, and she was grateful the Hall of Fame date was arranged so she could at least see Green be introduced, along with the other inductees.

"It's funny, when that happened to me, I was thinking about all the other athletes and coaches who should be in here," Bronson Wolf said. "Never about myself."

Green was much the same way.

"I was really not expecting this," she said.

The right place

Though Bronson Wolf said most of the reason for Green's success came from within, Green said none of it would have happened if she had not been in the right place at the right time with the right group of people.

"We had such special bonds as a team," she said. "Cross-country, track and especially basketball. It made us that much closer. We were so close outside of class that it made it all the easier on the playing field. It was so good Friday night to see everyone, especially coach (Bronson Wolf). She helped me so much in terms of basketball and just growing up. I'm a better person because of her."

Because of that bond, Green, on the rare occasions she can get back to Glendale, sometimes pops in and helps with Bronson Wolf's Homestead team.

"That I can help her and those younger girls in anyway possible is just great," she said. Green also went to great lengths to thank longtime Nicolet cross-country and girls track coach Mike McKenna for his help. "I just respected him so much," she said.

All that is part of her nature, which along with being driven for success, is very attractive to people. She could be seen laughing or sharing jokes with the Jenkins twins during the introductions at halftime of the boys game.

One longtime staff member recalled after the ceremonies that Green "was one of the nicest, sweetest people that she's ever met."

It all leads toward a very promising future, some of which was brought about on Jan. 6.

"This was a no-brainer (by the selection committee)," Bronson Wolf said. "Think of what she's done. She's a phenomenal student. A very bright young woman whose credentials and potential are sky-high. It's no surprise that someone like her is recognized."

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