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DePaul Hall inductee Terence Greene: Bring back the roar

Terence Greene who gave packed houses Rosemont Horizplenty cheer about joins DePaul’s Hall Fame Saturday. | DePaul

Terence Greene, who gave packed houses at the Rosemont Horizon plenty to cheer about, joins DePaul’s Hall of Fame on Saturday. | DePaul

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Updated: February 21, 2013 6:39AM

Terence Greene’s DePaul career was all about winning — 89 victories in four seasons.

But he has a vivid memory of one that nearly slipped away against St. John’s on March 15, 1987, in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

‘‘We were down by five with 45 seconds to go, and I’m on the bench thinking, ‘Man, what am I going to do during spring break?’

‘‘But the fans refused to let us lose. That’s what a sixth man is.’’

That game was played at what was then the Rosemont Horizon, the home of the Demons, who rallied for an 83-75 overtime win and the second of two trips to the Sweet 16 for then-sophomore Greene.

The scene was different Saturday at the same building, now called Allstate Arena, against the same opponent, St. John’s, now a Big East rival. Greene was back, this time as one of DePaul’s six new Hall of Fame inductees, but without the swelled stands he was used to seeing.

‘‘You always have to have a great audience to watch you,’’ he said. ‘‘I never saw less than 10,000 people in the stands, and usually it was closer to 18,500 [capacity].’’

Fan support is one of the elements Greene, 45, believes must be part of DePaul’s rebuilding — something he remains passionate about for his alma mater.

‘‘It was all about winning when I played — that’s what I remember,’’ he said.

Greene and former teammate Stanley Brundy were honored at halftime Saturday, stoking memories of one of the school’s finest basketball eras.

‘‘ ‘T’ could score, he could defend, and he was tough,’’ his coach, Joey Meyer, said. ‘‘He had the best attitude, and he had a great basketball IQ, especially for a guy who was a football player.’’

Greene was an All-American in both football and basketball in high school in Flint, Mich. He chose DePaul and became part of one of the school’s best recruiting classes, with Brundy, Rod Strickland and Kevin Edwards.

Greene became a co-captain and played in the NCAA tournament each of his four seasons during an era when the Blue Demons were perennial postseason participants.

He remains fourth on the school’s all-time assists list (449).

Greene tried football again for a time after DePaul, spending two years on the New York Giants’ practice squad. But he returned to basketball as an assistant coach at Eastern Michigan and then at Michigan under Brian Ellerbe, who’s now an assistant on DePaul coach Oliver Purnell’s staff.

Greene, who finished his degree work in 1994, now stays involved in sports through his consulting company, Ctts Corp., which connects companies and athletes in business ventures.

He also continues to speak to young athletes about planning a future beyond sports.

‘‘When the air lets out of the ball, where are you going to be?’’ he said.

He remains committed to his alma mater as well.

‘‘The institution is strong. It continues to raise money and grow,’’ he said of the foundation for rebuilding the basketball program.

‘‘It will take all of us in DePaul Nation to come together. I go back to that St. John’s game. The fans have to support you.’’

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