By LARRY VAUGHT
Sophomore PJ Washington said players were “obviously sad” that sophomore Quade Green decided to leave the team and transfer this week.
“We’re happy for him and he made the best decision for him and we can’t be mad at that. We’re just going to support him the rest of the way,” Washington said Friday. “Guys have to step up and just play better, play better on both ends of the floor. We got Jemarl (Baker) back, so we’re just hoping he brings where Quade left off. Happy for him and happy for Jemarl as well.”
Washington joked the locker room would be a “little less crazy” without Green — but he didn’t mean that in a bad way.
“Quade is definitely a funny guy. We’re going to miss him. But we just have to go forward and go on with our season,” Washington said.
Kentucky coach John Calipari said much the same thing knowing his team has to get ready to play Utah Saturday afternoon in Rupp Arena. He called Green a “great kid” and said his mom was crying when he met with the family about Green leaving.
“It is disappointing for me when young people want to leave, but he’ll be treated the same way. I would tell our fans, be positive and be upbeat with him. You think about all of the kids that have left here that we’ve stayed in touch with,” Calipari said.
“I told he and his family, ‘I’m going to be here for you, but this next choice is probably bigger than the last choice. You’ve got to think it through and how you want to play.’ So, it was a talk. We were in there for a little while. He hugged me and said, ‘I love you Coach,’ and I said, ‘I love you, too.’”
Not sure that would happen most places when a player leaves.
“It’s just different here. I even told him, ‘Why don’t you stay two weeks and play two games, and if you want to leave, leave. Why would you do this right now?’ He said, ‘Coach, I just feel…’ I said, ‘OK.’ I told the team, ‘This isn’t, you said what? You’re leaving?! Get out of here!’ It’s not how we do it here. This is about them, not me, and it’s not about the program that way,” Calipari said.
“This is about each individual guy when it comes to a decision like that.”