EDITOR’S NOTE: John Calipari is preparing to put his youngest team yet on the floor — and that is saying something — for the 2017-18 season. Among the 11 scholarship players on the roster, eight are freshmen, three are sophomores and … that’s it. There is enough talent for a deep postseason run but also enough inexperience for Big Blue Nation to be concerned. So in our Final Fourcast series, we’ll be breaking down each of the Wildcats and what role they might play in pursuit of a fifth Final Four in nine seasons under Calipari. Today, it’s freshman point guard Quade Green.
Green is a 6-foot-1, 180-pound McDonald’s All-American from Philadelphia. He averaged 14.9 points, 9.8 assists and 3.2 steals on the Nike AAU circuit last spring and summer — he led the league in assists and steals — guiding his team to the Peach Jam championship game. He was rated the No. 3 point guard and No. 24 overall prospect in the Class of 2017 by Scout.com.
How he fits
Green is next in line at Point Guard U, following De’Aaron Fox, who followed Tyler Ulis, who followed Andrew Harrison, who followed (oops, there was one hiccup in the lineage), who followed Marquis Teague, who followed Brandon Knight, who followed John Wall. That’s six NBA draft picks, four first-rounders and three top-10 overall selections.
Is Green that good? No one projects him as a one-and-done — maybe not even a two-and-done — and his size will be a big question, but he could be perfect for this team. There will be a ton of talent around him, a lot of length and athleticism and guys who want to get out and run the floor and finish. Green loves to get his teammates going, and that could be fun to watch this season.
He also shot around 50 percent from 3-point range in high school (closer to 40 percent on the Nike circuit), meaning he could provide a lift in the biggest area of concern for this Kentucky team. Green might not be an instant star like so many Calipari point guards, but he’s a smart, unselfish player with whom a lot of elite guys wanted to play — and that’s worth a lot.
With only a couple of months of summer workouts and pickup games under his belt, rumor has it Green is already taking a leadership role on this young team.
What they’re saying
“What stands out about Quade is his ability to run a team. He’s got good leadership skills, can really pass and distribute, and he knows how to set up guys. He can also help them with his jump shot; he’s as good a shooter outside of Jemarl Baker that they’ll have on that team. But his primary role, I think, will be that of a distributor and set-up man.” — Evan Daniels, Scout.com
“I’m trying to be better than Tyler [Ulis] really. I’m going in with a different mindset. Be the best player I can be and be better than all the players that came through here.” — Quade Green on drawing comparisons to another short UK point guard (who was a consensus first-team All-American and SEC Player of the Year)
Green should start from Day 1 and play major minutes. We won’t be surprised if fellow freshman Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, a talented combo guard with much better size at 6-foot-6, gets time at point guard, but Green is the guy Calipari has in mind to run the show. It would be a surprise if he doesn’t play 30-plus minutes per game.
The series so far …
Up next: power forward P.J. Washington (publishing Aug. 29)
The post Final Fourcast: How Quade Green can help Kentucky basketball make a run appeared first on SEC Country.
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