In the meantime I like it — Mom likes it too, and whatever she says goes. I’ll hold on to it for a while. —Hugh Greenwood talking about his hair
SALT LAKE CITY — Basketball is important to Hugh Greenwood, and it was evidenced by his excitement on social media to head to Salt Lake City just for a workout with the Utah Jazz, which he completed Wednesday.
He already has connections in the Jazz organization with friends and fellow Australians Dante Exum and Joe Ingles recently finishing their rookie seasons.
So it seemed there was little shock with Greenwood’s predraft workout invite.
“Utah loves its Aussies,” Greenwood said with a laugh.
However, as important as the workout was, basketball isn’t the only thing Greenwood, a former University of New Mexico guard, is passionate about.
A pink ribbon tattoo he proudly wears on the side of his right hand is a sign of that.
The tattoo has great meaning, too. About this time last year, his mom, Andree, was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer. It’s terminal, and Greenwood knows what is ahead.
“Unfortunately, it’s incurable so it’s something that has shortened her lifespan,” Greenwood said. “In the meantime, she battles. That’s what she does. That’s what we do. We’re family. We stick together.”
How do you fight a disease that’s slowly taking away a close family member? For Greenwood, the answer was founding Pink Pack, a fundraising campaign he says has already raised about $65,000 for cancer research in New Mexico, which he now happily calls his second home.
The program helps gather donations that go toward cancer research, as well as patient care and cancer screening. It’s a project he began while heading into his senior season.
“It means a lot. It’s something I’m very, very passionate about,” Greenwood said. “Obviously, with my mom battling incurable secondary breast cancer, so it’s a priority in my life. My family and her are my priority — basketball comes second.
"It's been a great success," he added. "My fans at UNM, my fans back in Australia have really rallied around it apparently with the money we've raised. It's been a fun process."
He coupled the fundraising by growing out his hair. The goal was to shave it off at the end of the collegiate basketball season, but it he’ll hold that off until maybe Pink Pack reaches another fundraising goal.
“In the meantime I like it — Mom likes it too, and whatever she says goes,” he quickly interjects. “I’ll hold on to it for a while.”
As he continues to help others in need, Greenwood remains committed to his love of basketball. He'll go through a few other workouts he's lined up in the near future.
Walt Perrin, Jazz vice president of player personnel, praised Greenwood's leadership and court intelligence after the workout Wednesday.
"Hugh had a pretty good day," Perrin said. "He's a very smart player — good basketball IQ for a point guard. He was helping the other players in our workouts, so it was good to bring him in."
Wherever his career takes him, though, Greenwood said he has no intention of letting up the work he has already done outside of basketball, especially the work he has done helping those in the fight against cancer.
“Obviously, breast cancer and cancer aren’t going away anytime soon, unfortunately,” he said. “It’s something we know a lot about but not a whole lot about. We’re still looking for that cure, and if we can provide help for patients and their families as much as we can in the meantime, it’s going to help in the long run.”