John Calipari’s created a successful lineage of point guards at Kentucky, from John Wall to Tyler Ulis. The next to join the family is different than his predecessors, and he likes it that way.
A shifty 6-footer from Philly, Quade Green carries a chip on his shoulder to help him play bigger than his size. He will not mind the comparisons to Tyler Ulis, but after his time at Kentucky ends, he hopes the next great Kentucky point guard will be compared to Quade Green.
“I’m trying to be better than Tyler. I’m going in with a different mindset: be the best player I can be and be better than all the point guards that ever came through there.”
The Ulis comparisons are inevitable because of his size and shooting ability. With the ball in his hands, his step-back is rarely contested, especially from deep behind the three-point line, a shot we saw Ulis take often.
“Except for Tyler (Ulis), everybody was 6’3″ and over and couldn’t shoot really. I hope I’m going to be the first guard really that Cal ever got that can really shoot the ball consistently.”
Green’s ability to live up to his lofty personal expectations will fall on the shoulders of his teammates. After all, his job is to get everybody involved, something he’s starting to do this week in Chicago.
“Everybody’s getting their feet wet on how they play with each other. Everybody’s got some different things they like to do, so I’m just trying to help make those things great,” Green said.
That attitude is why great players gravitate toward Green. They know he’s going to try get them the ball, no matter what.
“He’s a pass-first guard, so he’s always looking for me on the lob and getting touches inside. He’s always encouraging me to go off. He’s always telling me to get buckets,” Nick Richards said. “He’s a natural-born leader. He’s just a winner.”
“I just get my team involved,” Green said. “You run with me, you’re gonna get found. I’m gonna find you regardless.” Yesterday, Green found Richards on the break for a beautiful alley-ooo, arguably the best highlight from the two days in Chicago.
Quade âž¡ï¸Richards ðŸ’¥ pic.twitter.com/fhQZzCdRcw
– Nick Roush (@RoushKSR) March 28, 2017
Quade is constantly communicating with his teammates. Whether he’s screaming at them to get buckets on the other side of the court, putting them in the correct position or talking trash to his opponents. Green is an unabashed talker.
“I just like talking. I like communicating with people, everybody. I don’t care if you’re a little kid, two years-old, or old and in the hospital, I don’t care. I like talking. I just try to be humble and keep everything positive.”
Green’s extroverted personality makes him an effective leader. A self-proclaimed control freak, he’s at his best with the ball in his hands, especially late in games.
“The way he controls the game. He controls the tempo. He makes sure everybody is in the right spot,” Jarred Vanderbilt said. “He’s very vocal, one of the most vocal point guards I’ve ever played with. He knows how to find guys and get them open. His passes are right on target. He’s a great P-G.”
His ability to get others involved could attract two more All-Americans to come to Kentucky next fall. Green was Mo Bamba’s point guard in the EYBL for the PSA Cardinals. His late-game heroics helped carry the team to the Peach Jam Finals, but his insistence on sharing the ball is what might get Kevin Knox to Kentucky.
“Quade’s a leader. He likes to win and that’s something I really like. He’ll get people the ball. He’s not really about scoring. He’s really a pass-first point guard,” Knox said. “He makes everyone on the team better.”
After a handful of practices, P.J. Washington is already seeing the fruits of Green’s labor.
“Nick’s blocking shots, Jarred’s hitting jumpers and Quade’s getting everybody involved. I feel like we’re going to be great next year.”