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2017-18 Basketball Preview

UK Freshmen Scout UK Freshmen: Jemarl Baker

Way back in August I was able to sit down with each member of the Kentucky Wildcats to talk about the college basketball season ahead, and part of my discussion with the new class of freshmen included a brief scouting report on each of their classmates.

Due to time constraints I was unable to get a complete report from all seven of the new Cats, but here’s what I heard about Jemarl Baker when I asked his fellow freshmen to describe his game.


On Jemarl Baker…

Quade Green: “Jemarl’s a great shooter. I ain’t really seen what he can do yet but I know he can shoot the ball.”

Kevin Knox: “Jemarl is a knockdown shooter, sharp shooter. I expect him to shoot the ball a lot.”

P.J. Washington: “Jemarl shoots the lights out. I’ve never seen anybody shoot like him. I just got a chance to see him play yesterday, so I’m still trying to learn his game.”

Jemarl Baker: “Knockdown shooter. Defender. Playmaker. Overall great player.”


Check out KSR’s full preview story on Baker as part of our player-by-player interview series here.


UK Freshmen Scout UK Freshmen: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Photo: UK Athletics

Way back in August I was able to sit down with each member of the Kentucky Wildcats to talk about the college basketball season ahead, and part of my discussion with the new class of freshmen included a brief scouting report on each of their classmates.

Due to time constraints I was unable to get a complete report from all seven of the new Cats, but here’s what I heard about Shai Gilgeous-Alexander when I asked his fellow freshmen to describe his game.


On Shai Gilgeous-Alexander…

Quade Green: “He’s a very good player. He’s shifty, long, tall. He can shoot the three. He can shoot the midrange. He can get to the rim because he’s so tall. Shai’s a great player to play against.”

Kevin Knox: “Shai, I think is the sleeper of the team. He’s going to have a really good year for us. He can really handle it and make some good, tough layups.”

P.J. Washington: “Shai is like 6-6 — 6-7 with his hair — and athletic. He can shoot. He gets everybody involved and I just love playing with a guy like him.”

Jemarl Baker: “Long. Huge hands. He looks about 6-9, even though he’s like 6-6. He can play. He can handle — good feel for the game.”

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: “I see things a lot of short guys can’t see. Make passes and stuff like that; get my shot off over smaller guards.”


Check out KSR’s full preview story on Gilgeous-Alexander as part of our player-by-player interview series here.


WATCH: Who would Kentucky players pick to take game-winning shot: Drake or Calipari?

Drake’s airball at Big Blue Madness three years ago is the stuff of internet lore. With rumors floating around that he’ll once again attend the event tonight, I asked the Kentucky basketball players a very difficult question:

If you were a coach and your team is down by one, who would you choose to take the game-winning shot: Drake, or John Calipari?

Their response?

 


WATCH: Kentucky basketball players describe their teammates’ weirdest habits

Photo by Quinn Foster | UK Athletics

Of all of the teams of the John Calipari era, this is probably the one we know the least about, so I spent my Media Day trying to fix that. In general, people don’t like talking about themselves but they love talking about others, so I asked each player what their teammates’ weirdest habits are. A few of my favorite answers:

— Nick Richards loves sitting in the dark

— Hamidou Diallo and Quade Green put mayonnaise on everything

— Shai is that person who makes a mixture of everything at the soda fountain (I bet he LOVES the Coke Freestyle machine)

As you can tell below, this is a really fun group:

 


UK Freshmen Scout UK Freshmen: P.J. Washington

UK Freshmen Scout UK Freshmen: P.J. Washington

Mark Zerof | USA Today

Way back in August I was able to sit down with each member of the Kentucky Wildcats to talk about the college basketball season ahead, and part of my discussion with the new class of freshmen included a brief scouting report on each of their classmates.

Due to time constraints I was unable to get a complete report from all seven of the new Cats, but here’s what I heard about P.J. Washington when I asked his fellow freshmen to describe his game.


On P.J. Washington…

Quade Green: “Little Charles Barkley, I would call him. He can do everything too: push the ball; he’s a one-man fast break; he can shoot the mid-range; shoot the three; and he can out-strong you and rebound and dunk on you.”

Kevin Knox: “P.J. is one of the most versatile kids on the team. He can pretty much do anything: shoot, dribble. He’s real physical, big body; so he’ll definitely be really good for us this year. I expect him to do a lot of rebounding.

Jemarl Baker: “Strong. Big. Athletic. He can shoot as well.”

P.J. Washington: “He’s a bully. He just loves to win. He’s aggressive and he’ll do anything for his teammates.”


Check out KSR’s full preview story on Washington as part of our player-by-player interview series here.


UK Freshmen Scout UK Freshmen: Quade Green

UK Freshmen Scout UK Freshmen: Quade Green

Mark Zerof | USA Today

Way back in August I was able to sit down with each member of the Kentucky Wildcats to talk about the college basketball season ahead, and part of my discussion with the new class of freshmen included a brief scouting report on each of their classmates.

Due to time constraints I was unable to get a complete report from all seven of the new Cats, but here’s what I heard about Quade Green when I asked his fellow freshmen to describe his game.


On Quade Green…

Kevin Knox: “One of the vocal leaders — loves to talk; great sense of humor. I expect him to pretty much set up the whole pick-and-roll, a lot of alley oops, a lot of assists. I could see him average about 10 assists this year.”

Nick Richards: “Quade is really good. He’s one of the best point guards I’ve played with so far, in my whole entire career of basketball.”

P.J. Washington: “Quade, he’s short. He can shoot it. He likes to talk. He’s a general. He likes to run the team and he can play defense, too.”

Jemarl Baker: “Facilitator. Leader. He can score, hit shots, and everything.”

Quade Green: “I say he can shoot the mid-range; got a good floater game. He needs to get a little faster — strong and aggressive.”


Check out KSR’s full preview story on Green as part of our player-by-player interview series here.


UK Freshmen Scout UK Freshmen: Nick Richards

Mark Zerof | USA Today

Way back in August I was able to sit down with each member of the Kentucky Wildcats to talk about the college basketball season ahead, and part of my discussion with the new class of freshmen included a brief scouting report on each of their classmates.

Due to time constraints I was unable to get a complete report from all seven of the new Cats, but here’s what I heard about Nick Richards when I asked his fellow freshmen to describe his game.


On Nick Richards…

Quade Green: “Nick, he’s a bruiser down there. He rebounds, blocks shots and he do his job.”

Kevin Knox: “Nick is one of the fastest big men I’ve ever seen. He loves to run up and down the court. He’s really in shape. He can really jump high for his size — seven-foot. I think he’s got a high vertical — we’ll see in the combine — but he’s going to catch a lot of alley-oops and he’s one of the best defenders and loves to block shots. I expect him to get a lot of double-doubles this year too.”

P.J. Washington: “Nick blocks everything. He can dunk; he can run. It’s just great playing with him on your team.”

Jemarl Baker: “Athletic. Blocks shots. Rebounds. He’s really athletic. He can play.”


Check out KSR’s full preview story on Richards as part of our player-by-player interview series here.


Mark Zerof | USA Today

UK Freshmen Scout UK Freshmen: Kevin Knox

Mark Zerof | USA Today

Way back in August I was able to sit down with each member of the Kentucky Wildcats to talk about the college basketball season ahead, and part of my discussion with the new class of freshmen included a brief scouting report on each of their classmates.

Due to time constraints I was unable to get a complete report from all seven of the new Cats, but here’s what I heard about Kevin Knox when I asked his fellow freshmen to describe his game.


On Kevin Knox…

Quade Green: “I’ll say Kevin Knox is a good all-around player. He plays both ends of the floor. He’s a great catch-and-shoot shooter. He can put it on the floor. He can create his own shot.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: “Versatile.”

P.J. Washington: “He can shoot it. He’s athletic. He’s long. He can run in transition. He can play defense. He can rebound. He’s a great player.”

Jemarl Baker: “Kevin, he can shoot; knock down; he can defend; he’s long, tall — he can do everything.”

Kevin Knox: “My role is to come in and shoot the basketball, dribble the basketball; pretty much be an all-around type player; positionless. Be able to defend any position, play any position, and just come out and put the ball in the basket.”


Check out KSR’s full preview story on Knox as part of our player-by-player interview series here.


KSR UK Player Interviews: Tai Wynyard “found himself” at the FIBA U19 World Championships

KSR UK Player Interviews: Tai Wynyard “found himself” at the FIBA U19 World Championships

Going into his junior season, Tai Wynyard has the opportunity to have a legitimate role in the Kentucky frontcourt this year. With only Nick Richards, Sacha Killeya-Jones, Wenyen Gabriel, and PJ Washington joining him as frontcourt members, the junior center realizes the potential for his success.

Wynyard is one of the most experienced players on the team, but at 19 years old, he knows he still has a lot to learn.

“I’m still learning a lot of stuff and picking up on things every day,” he said.

Wynyard still considers himself one of the veterans on the team and is willing to help, but he says the freshmen have taken it upon themselves to learn and get used to life as a Kentucky Wildcat.

“I have to show them what to do off-court and on-court, drills, and that kind of stuff,” Wynyard said.” But I’m still young and I’m still learning myself. Coming here, they knew what they were getting themselves into, they knew what they wanted, so it’s not really much help needed from veterans. Everyone knows what they want and everyone’s working hard.”

Though he’s been around the program for two years, he’s still getting used to life in Lexington.

“A little bit more, but it’s never going to be home,” he said. “I’m so used to being home in New Zealand, and it’s a little different than Lexington. I’m getting used to it.”

Wynyard said it was great to see Calipari and two of his Wildcat teammates find success for Team USA at the FIBA U19 World Championships., along with catching up with some of his old buddies from New Zealand.

“It was a lot of fun, being able to play with all these guys that I haven’t seen in a long time. We had Coach Cal over there with PJ (Washington) and Hami(dou Diallo), so it was cool seeing them over there.”

The Wildcat center said he enjoyed getting a ton of games under his belt, and that it gave him the confidence he needed going into this season.

“Just being able to go out there and hoop,” he said. “I haven’t been able to go out and do that in a little while. I had played something crazy like 25 games or something like that while I was leading up to (the FIBA U19 Championships.) Being able to just get games under my belt just helped build my confidence a lot.

Wynyard shared an interesting story about Calipari watching him in Egypt and the words of wisdom he gave following a rough half of basketball.

“The first game we came out and I played horribly in the first half. I had like two points and three fouls at the half, but then I had like 20 points in the second half and we ended up winning. After the game, Coach Cal came down and said, “This year we gotta work on foul trouble. We can not have you in foul trouble if you’re on the court.” So that’s definitely been a big focal point for me,” he said.

Other than foul trouble, Wynyard says his offseason development has focused on a wide variety of areas.

“I’ve been working on my all-around game,” he said. “Shooting, post-ups, defense, rebounding, everything. This year I’m going to be focused on rebounding and post-ups, that’s going to be my main key. Locking down whoever I’m playing defensively.”

Over the course of this offseason, Wynyard said he has worked to improve his body to prepare for his junior season.

“My body has changed a lot more,” he said. “I’ve lost a little bit of weight and put some muscle on. Going over to (Egypt) I was able to find myself and go back to the way I was playing before and got a lot of my confidence back.”

After a lot of work and the confidence boost, Wynyard knows he has the ability to be a big contributor for the Wildcats.

“Just being able to go out there and prove myself, knowing I can hoop. This is a lot of fun for me and I can’t wait for the season.”

Wynyard says the confidence he gained from playing in Egypt will translate onto the court next season.

“I’m going to be working my butt off this year. I know I’m going to have to go out and prove myself and do everything I was doing in the FIBA World Cup. I’m going to bring that confidence, energy, and will to win that I got over there.

Check out our other preseason interviews:

John Calipari | Kevin Knox | Hamidou Diallo | Wenyen Gabriel | Quade Green | PJ Washington | Jemarl Baker | Nick Richards | Shai Alexander | Jarred Vanderbilt | Brad Calipari


KSR UK Player Interviews: Brad Calipari learning to play point guard

KSR UK Player Interviews: Brad Calipari learning to play point guard

John Calipari has a long list of successful point guards that learned to play the position under his coaching. Now his son, Brad, is trying to join the bunch.

The younger Calipari worked harder than anyone over the summer, trying to learn to play point guard to increase his opportunities in his sophomore season at Kentucky. He got a taste of what it’s like to run an offense while competing overseas in Croatia on an eight-day trip with Global Sports Academy.

“Since the season ended last year, the main thing they wanted me to do is handle the ball better,” he told KSR. “The months before I went (to Croatia), that’s all I was doing; just really focused in on that and I think that helped me a lot. Then when I went over there, I played point guard a lot over there so it was just getting comfortable with the ball in my hands. My main focus over there was getting people involved and just trying to do something different, and adding another dimension to my game than just shooting the ball. That’s been the thing I’ve been the most focused on — having more than one dimension.”

Calipari scored 17 points with seven assists and four rebounds in his first game of the trip. He finished with averages of 14.3 points, 6.5 assists and 3.3 rebounds per game against four professional teams from the region.

He hopes that experience of playing point guard against pros will have him better prepared to play the position in his second season in Lexington.

“That’ll be the thing that gets me on the court the most,” he said of the switch. “I’ve always had good vision passing the ball; it’s just getting my ball-handling up at a higher level because playing with guys like this, it’s different. Over there in Europe, it’s a completely different game. Guys aren’t as athletic; no one’s getting driven by and dunked on. But it’s still professional athletes and they’re still very skilled; great IQ, they play well together. It’s more execution than it is athleticism and pushing the ball up the court. I think that helped me a lot, to play a different type of game. But playing against these guys (at UK) made it seem easier.”

One person who has already seen his progress in action, and the work that has gone into it, is his dad. Coach Cal has been right by his side the whole way.

“He’s been with me week by week,” Brad said of his old man and head coach. “He sees the strides I’m making as a player. He tells me how proud he is of me and I think it’s good that he realizes that because he knows how hard I work and the hours I put in.”

Maybe his critics will realize it soon, too. I couldn’t let him could go without asking about them.

“It is what it is. Anyone in this gym who’s seen me or been around me, can tell you I put in more time than anyone. I work harder than anyone, so the people who are saying all that stuff is people who have an outside view and an uneducated opinion. It is what it is.”

Go Brad.



Check out our other preseason interviews:

John Calipari | Kevin Knox | Hamidou Diallo | Wenyen Gabriel | Quade Green | PJ Washington | Jemarl Baker | Nick Richards | Shai Alexander | Jarred Vanderbilt


KSR UK Player Interviews: Jarred Vanderbilt on this team’s versatility

KSR UK Player Interviews: Jarred Vanderbilt on this team’s versatility

Watching Jarred Vanderbilt’s preseason interview stings a little now that he’s out three months with a foot injury, but out of all the players, his interview got me the most excited about this team’s potential. Vanderbilt is one of many versatile forwards on this squad, but he insists that each of the 6-9 guys on Kentucky’s roster brings something different to the table.

“We’re very long, athletic, versatile. Everybody thinks we’re similar — we are in a way — but everybody has their own unique niche and we’re also kind of different. We all bring something different to the table. I think we can all play together and we’re going to have some crazy lineups. Lineups [John Calipari] can mix and match and stuff like that. We’re pretty deep. We’re loaded. We’re going to have a great squad.”

As you may have guessed, Calipari likes the word “positionless” (if he says it three times in a row, will another 6-9 forward appear?), but Vanderbilt is all in because he’s knows that’s the future of the game.

“Too many, I can’t even can’t count,” Vanderbilt said when asked how many times Calipari has used the word. “He’s really stressed that but I really believe that’s how we’re going to play and that’s how we’re going to have to play, because our team, we can create so many mismatches, I think why not play that way? That’s the way the game is moving anyways. At the next level, everybody’s playing positionless basketball, small ball, whatever you want to call it. That’s just the way the game is shaping up.”

What can we expect when Vanderbilt takes the floor three months from now? He’s often compared to Lamar Odom.

“I’ve been hearing that comparison forever, a smaller Lamar Odom. It’s a great comparison. Lamar Odom in his prime was ridiculous, the things he could do at his size. I think I have some similar attributes to him, also being a lefty as well. I can really see that comparison.”

In the meantime, he’ll focus on his recovery and take solace in the fact that everyone has setbacks, even the NBA stars that have come through Kentucky since Calipari took over.

“It’s a good thing the [former] guys actually come back and support us, try to guide us, give us advice. Even talking with them and seeing how it is in the league, the transition, it’s great. Just to know that those guys, they had struggles here too. Even the great ones went through adversity and stuff like that. People think they’re superstars now, but they went through the same stages and stuff. To see where they are now, it’s great.”



Check out our other preseason interviews:

John Calipari | Kevin Knox | Hamidou Diallo | Wenyen Gabriel | Quade Green | PJ Washington | Jemarl Baker | Nick Richards | Shai Alexander


KSR UK Player Interviews: Shai Alexander brings height to Kentucky’s backcourt

KSR UK Player Interviews: Shai Alexander brings height to Kentucky’s backcourt

What does Shai Alexander bring to Kentucky’s backcourt? Height. At 6’6″, Alexander will nicely compliment Quade Green, Kentucky’s other guard, who stands at only 6’0″. Alexander hopes that his height will create matchup problems and give an already versatile Kentucky team another dimension.

“I see things that a lot of shorter guards can’t see,” Alexander said. “Make passes and stuff like that, get my shot off over smaller guards.”

Alexander is most used to playing point guard, but he’s looking forward to sharing the backcourt with Green.

“I think we’re both good leaders. We can both get teammates the ball and stuff like that. We’re both really fun to play with. He’s really unselfish and really fun to play with. It’s fun.”

According to those who have seen practice and workouts so far, Alexander has been one of the most pleasant surprises. The one-time Florida commit reopened his recruitment once his stock rose last fall, and even though he had plenty of suitors, John Calipari made the biggest impression.

“I think Coach Cal was really genuine and honest with me when he came to visit and was different from a lot of coaches,” Alexander said. “It really caught my eye.”

Now, he’s ready to make his mark, even if it means not bringing the ball down the court every time.

“Coaches handle that type of stuff,” Alexander said when asked what role he envisions himself playing. “I’m just here to do what they ask of me and give the team my all and do whatever it takes to win.”



Check out our other preseason interviews:

John Calipari | Kevin Knox | Hamidou Diallo | Wenyen Gabriel | Quade Green | PJ Washington | Jemarl Baker | Nick Richards


KSR UK interviews: Nick Richards’ background in soccer helped kickstart his basketball career

KSR UK interviews: Nick Richards’ background in soccer helped kickstart his basketball career

Back in August, several videos leaked of Kentucky’s five-star freshman center Nick Richards playing pickup basketball in New York City with NBA stars such as LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Carmelo Anthony, among others.

And it wasn’t a “one of these is not like the others” situation. Richards looked like he belonged.

For Kentucky’s newest man in the middle, it was a surprise to play against his idols, but it was just a glimpse into his future as an NBA big man.

“It was a really good learning experience. It was pretty fun playing against most of those guys,” Richards said. “I knew in the back of my mind I would eventually have to play against them in the future, but to see them in person, t0 see your idols turn into your rivals that quick, it was a surprise.”

So how’d he play?

“Of course I held my own against them,” Richards said with a smile.

But before he solidified himself as one of the nation’s top centers and went head-to-head with some of the NBA’s top talent, he actually started his sports career as a soccer player.

“I was 14 years old, going on 15 (when I started playing basketball),” the Kentucky center said. “I did everything but basketball. Soccer was the first sport I fell in love with. I was a goalie and a midfielder.”

Richards said his passion for soccer has helped him make massive strides on the basketball court.

“Soccer helps me with my footwork, helps me guard guards, and move up and down the floor,” he said.

Richards said he spends his free time a bit different than some of his peers. The star big man told KSR that playing FIFA, cheering for Real Madrid, and watching competitive skateboarding are three of his favorite things to do outside of basketball.

“I watch the street leagues and street tournaments,” Richards said. “Like Nyjah Huston and Ryan Sheckler, I actually follow those guys on Instagram and see what they’re doing.”

But on-court, Richards is a whole different animal. Back in high school, the Queens, NY native was known as one of the best defensive-minded centers in the nation with tremendous athleticism. Teams had an unbelievably hard time scoring on him in the paint.

His first few months at Kentucky, however, have been quite the adjustment period.

“I’m actually just taking all of this in and being as good with it as possible. Kentucky is really one of the toughest schools to be at, it’s obviously going to get you ready for the next level. But it’s been pretty fun so far,” he said.

When asked about the improvements he has seen in himself since getting on campus, Richards said he has not only seen development on the basketball court, but growth as a person off the court, as well.

“I’ve noticed a lot of improvement in my offensive game,” Richards said. “I’m more mature, my parents noticed that when I went home. I guess just me being by myself made me grow up quicker.”

With a surplus of forwards on the team, someone has to take over as the primary big man to shoulder the weight on the inside. Richards is extremely confident that person is him.

“It’s most likely going to be me, and I don’t have a problem taking on that role. It’s what the team needs to win a National Championship, and that was my goal coming here.

With guys like Anthony Davis, Nerlens Noel, and Willie Cauley-Stein coming through the Kentucky program in recent years, it’s obvious Coach Cal loves elite shot blocking talent. Richards said he can step in and be that guy from day one.

“I’m always willing to go outside of my comfort zone, but rebounding and blocking shots have always been second nature to me. If that’s what they need me to do, that’s what I need to do.”

Many people compare Calipari’s newest point guard, Quade Green, to former Wildcat great Tyler Ulis for his ability to be a floor general and lead a team. Richards believes he’s easily one of the best point guards he has ever come in contact with.

“I’ve been catching lobs from Quade in pickup games, and that’s how I get the majority of my (baskets.) He’s definitely one of the best point guards I have played with in my entire basketball career.”

Richards is itching to get out on the court at Rupp Arena for the first time to play for the Big Blue Nation.

“I know it’s going to be crazy and the fans are going to be crazy. I just can’t wait for this season to start.”

He already has one game circled on his calendar this year.

I’m looking forward to that Louisville game. The rivalry with Louisville is crazy,” Richards said. “One day I went into the barbershop, and they told me a story about this one guy who walked in wearing a Louisville shirt. Everyone in the shop stopped what they were doing, looked at him, and told him to get out.”

Anyone surprised? I didn’t think so.

Needless to say, UK’s newest big man ready to lace up his sneakers and put on a show.

Check out our other preseason interviews:

John Calipari | Kevin Knox | Hamidou Diallo | Wenyen Gabriel | Jemarl Baker


KSR UK Player Interviews: Jemarl Baker ready to be pushed to his limits

KSR UK Player Interviews: Jemarl Baker ready to be pushed to his limits

Jemarl Baker is no stranger to hard work. In high school, his father would wake him up at four in the morning and the two would drive an hour to his school to be there by six so he could get a workout in before class.

“It was definitely tough,” Baker told KSR, recalling how he’d be so tired after school and practice he would pass out in the car. “The toughest thing I’ve ever gone through, but it definitely helped me. That’s how I got here.”

In fact, John Calipari’s promise that Baker would be pushed to his limits at Kentucky was one of the biggest selling points.

“Just like how my dad, he pushes me to be the best I can be, just working me out and pushing me to be great,” Baker said, describing Calipari’s pitch. “And in the meeting, for Coach Cal to say he’s going to push me to be the best version of me, that’s everything I could ask for.”

Baker’s courtship with Kentucky was a whirlwind. The 6-4 shooting guard from Eastvale, California originally committed to Cal, but when Cuonzo Martin left for Missouri, he reopened his recruitment and, all of a sudden, John Calipari was pulling up to his school.

“The first time I saw him, he actually came to the school,” Baker said. “I hadn’t talked to him on the phone. I was like, ‘Wow, that’s really him.’ Just seeing him [on TV] all the time, every year, coaching — it was just a dream come true.”

Four days after meeting with Calipari, Baker committed to Kentucky. He saw no need to wait.

“I’m not a person that has to wait and make it a big deal or anything like that. Once I heard what Coach Cal had to say, it was everything that I wanted to hear. As a player, you worked hard to get this opportunity and I’m glad it came.”

Now at Kentucky, Baker — whose first name is pronounced “Jamal” (he’s still not sure why his grandmother put an “r” in it) —  is hard at work once again. Over two months of workouts, he put on eight pounds of muscle. He’s billed as a shooter, but he wants Kentucky fans to know he hustles on the defensive end as well.

“Definitely defending,” Baker said of what else he brings to the table. “I always pride myself on not letting anyone score on me, no matter who it is. I’m a playmaker, I have a high IQ. I’m just ready to start playing.”

After all of their sacrifices and hard work, what does Baker’s dad say to him now?

“We talk multiple times a day. He’s just proud of everything I’ve been through. Just him working me out and for me to be able to get here and all the NBA players that have been here and been in the same position that I am, it’s just everything I can ask for.”



Check out our other preseason interviews:

John Calipari | Kevin Knox | Hamidou Diallo | Wenyen Gabriel | Quade Green | PJ Washington


KSR UK Player Interviews: Quade Green born to be “the loudest one out there”

KSR UK Player Interviews: Quade Green born to be “the loudest one out there”

Even before he arrived at Kentucky, Quade Green assumed a leadership role. The point guard from Philly committed to Kentucky in November 2016 and immediately started recruiting others to join him. Some ventures were more successful than others (no hard feelings, Mohamed Bamba), but Green knew that in order for his recruiting class to be special, he had to take the lead.

I like playing with good guys, so I had to try to get the good guys on my team,” he said simply.

Why do good guys like playing with Green? Another simple answer: he gets them the ball, a trait which earned him a reputation as one of the most popular guards in his class.

“I’m a pass-first point guard. Everybody wants the ball. I’m not a selfish guy, so that’s probably one of the reasons why they want to play with me. I’m not selfish.”

At six-feet, Green is small in stature, but he devoted the summer to improving his speed through what he calls “the worst conditioning I’ve ever done in my life.” He still says speed is his biggest weakness, but he’s working on it.

“I’m getting faster and stronger and getting my foot speed right and getting quicker,” Green said.

He credited part of that improvement to fellow guard Shai Alexander, with whom he will share the backcourt this fall but spent the summer playing against in the gym.

“Shai is unbelievable,” Green said. “I can’t wait to get on the court together with Shai. We’ve been playing over in the gym, playing against him, making me better, making him better. I can’t wait until the real games start.”

Alexander will be great, but, let it be clear: Green is this team’s general.

“I would say leading my team to win, really,” Green said when asked about his biggest strength. “Being a vocal leader and being a leader on and off the court. Being that person guys can come to anytime they want and being a pass-first point guard and scoring when I need to score.”

“I’ve been doing it all my life,” he added later. “It’s natural to me now. I don’t care if we’re playing in the park, I’m going to be the loudest one out there. Even somebody’s grandma’s gonna hear me talking out there.

Brace yourself, lower arena.



Check out our other preseason interviews:

John Calipari | Kevin Knox | Hamidou Diallo | Wenyen Gabriel |