By LARRY VAUGHT
It’s kind of amazing to hear and see comments about Quade Green not being a willing leader or good enough shooter and that the sophomore guard’s decision to leave Kentucky won’t be that big a deal to the Wildcats.
Flash back two years ago when Green picked Kentucky and everyone was excited about landing the Philadelphia point guard who then helped recruit other players to join him at UK.
Kentucky sophomore Nick Richards had already committed to Kentucky before Green, his friend.
“I thought national championship to be honest with you,” Richads said not long after Green committed. “I think he’s the No. 1 point guard in my class. He should be the No. 1 point guard in my class and he is the best point guard in my class.”
Kentucky already had commitments from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and P.J Washington along with Richards when Green committed. Later Kevin Knox and Jarred Vanderbilt also committed. So did Hamidou Diallo.
Paul Washington, PJ Washington’s father, told Knox and his family one reason he should pick Kentucky is because Green was so good at getting teammates the ball in the right positions to score.
DraftExpress.com had this analysis of Green’s strengths when he came to UK:
“Advanced passer who can play make in transition, make all the necessary reads out of ball screens and drive and kick/dish in the half court. Excellent timing. Can deliver the ball with either hand.Capable shooter who can make an open three with time and space. Soft touch on floaters. Tough nosed defender with great feet. Competitive kid. Philly demeanor. Good instincts.”
Despite those quick feet, he was never a “tough nosed defender” at UK — one reason both Immanuel Quickley and Ashton Hagans are ahead of him and his playing time dropped dramatically the last two games. He’s also not freakishly athletic like Diallo, Hagans or some other players Calipari has had.
Here is what DraftExpress.com listed as the down side for Green before he got to UK:
“Struggles to finish vs size and length. Average shooter off the catch and bounce. Doesn’t create a ton of separation off the bounce. Not a guy who’s going to elevate while closely guarded and make a lot of contested jumpers. A bit more turnover prone than you’d like for a floor general type. Size limits his ability to pass over the top of the defense.”
Yet for a team that has struggled to make 3-point shots this year, Green is hitting 42.3 percent from 3-point range (11 of 26). Tyler Herro is 12 of 44, 27.3 percent. Quickly is at 28.6 percent — 6-for-21. Hagans has made one of seven 3’s and defenses just back off him. Keldon Johnson is 8-for-25, 32 percent.
No matter what he couldn’t do, Green could hit a 3-pointer and not having that might just be a bigger loss for this team than many realize today.