Photo by Keyli Chisesi (Go Big Blue Country)
Since John Calipari has been the head coach at Kentucky, fans have become accustomed to high-level point guard play. Names such as John Wall, Brandon Knight, Marquis Teague, Andrew Harrison, Tyler Ulis, and De’Aaron Fox have all led the Wildcats before hearing their names called in the NBA Draft. With that kind of list, one should expect nothing less than stellar from freshman Quade Green this season.
Green, a 6-0 freshman, has been even better than advertised. For Kentucky’s 2017 recruiting class, experts predicted Trae Young, who is now the point guard at Oklahoma, to be the Wildcats floor general for the 2017 class. However, Calipari saw something that he liked in Green, which led to a scholarship offer and a commitment soon followed.
Through three exhibitions, Green has been nothing short of spectacular. The freshman has danced and knifed his way through traffic and showed soft touch around the basket. His ability to control his body in traffic allows him to play under control, setting up himself and his teammates for success on the offensive end.
Despite the flashiness with the ball and the ability to get to desired spots on the floor, Green has been most impressive from three-point range, shooting a blistering 63.6% through exhibition play. Green attempted 11 shots from long range, connecting on 7 of them. In addition to success from deep, the freshman guard converted on 8-of-9 free throw opportunities, good enough for 88.9%.
Through three games, Green dropped nine points versus Thomas More, 20 vs. Morehead State, and 18 vs. Centre College. Green has a three-game total of 47 points, which is an average of 15.6 per game.
The overall balance of his offensive game, coupled with his ability to get his teammates involved, will be trouble for opposing teams. During the exhibition schedule, Green played a total of 76 minutes, dishing out 17 assists while only committing four turnovers.
Defensively, Green totaled five steals and was on the floor for loose balls on numerous occasions. His ability to lead is evident through three games and if the Wildcats need a bucket late or at a crucial point in the game, Green would be a popular choice to have the ball in his hands.
At 6-0, Green is undersized compared to Calipari’s past point guards, other than 5-9 Tyler Ulis. Despite his size, he plays much bigger and understands how to use his size and quickness to his advantage, much like Ulis did two seasons ago.
It’s a small sample size but through three games, it is clear that Green has that dog that Calipari point guards have had in the past. The ability to seize the moment and lead, which is something this young group of Wildcats desperately need. In Green, Calipari has his floor general and he may have the guy he can trust the most when the game is on the line.