Calipari's recruiting ability continues to impress, and he's making an impression again as he now starts to go after point guard Quade Green.
Green is a 5'11", 155-lb guard from Philadelphia who will be in the 2017 recruiting class. Despite his height and weight, his stats speak for themselves, as he led the Nike AAU league he played in in both assists and steals during the regular season.
Someone who can share the ball and defend that well is sure to be a great contributor to any team, no matter how much he's scoring. It also doesn't hurt that he is showing out and playing well at Team USA scrimmages, looking for a spot on the U18 team that will compete for a gold medal.
His stats are great, but that doesn't change the fact that the Kentucky Wildcats have already targeted point guards Tre Young and Tremont Waters, so why should Cal be interested in a player that 247 Sports ranks 34th-best in the country? Well, it's because he would bring a new level of leadership and prototypical point guard play to the Bluegrass.
If you need convincing on that, just ask Scout.com's Evan Daniels, who spoke with Kentucky.com.
"What stands out about Quade is his feel for the game and his leadership and ability to run a team," Daniels said. "He's been as impressive as any point guard in the country, in terms of facilitating and distributing."
Bringing in a selfless point guard who's going to pass first would be huge for Kentucky, because it's likely that they will have a ton of offensive weapons in 2017, and they'll need a point guard who is willing to share the ball and get others scoring opportunities before himself. 10.5 assists per-game in a Nike AAU league is outrageous, but that's exactly what Green averaged in his AAU regular season. He is already showing that he can share the ball and make those around him better.
For someone who can pass as well as Green, you'd expect him to have offers from everyone in the country. And he basically does, except for two key programs: The Kentucky Wildcats, and the Duke Blue Devils. Given the battle these two programs have gone through over recent years, it's likely that they will both have a major impact on Green's recruitment at some point.
While Calipari hasn't offered Green anything yet, he certainly has shown interest, as Green said that he talks to Coach Cal quite frequently, including phone calls to talk about Green's Team USA aspirations. If Cal were to offer, Green seems as though he may be eager to accept a scholarship, given the way he talks about Kentucky.
"They make pros, of course," Green said. "And they have good student-athletes. When they leave for the NBA, they come back and get their degree. They get the best out of you there."
Green is clearly high on the program and what Calipari does here, so there's no question that Kentucky would be a school he considers if he were to receive a scholarship offer. It's also worth noting that Green will visit UK soon, so Calipari will get a face-to-face with him, if that hasn't happened already.
Green appears to be one of the best, if not the best, pass-first point guard in the 2017 class. Not only does he pass well, but he can lead a team's offense like no other. At Kentucky, fans realized first hand what a blessing it can be to have a guard who is willing to share the ball and direct the offense last season when Tyler Ulis became the team's floor general (another guard who isn't exactly the biggest guy on the floor).
If Green could lead an offense like Ulis could, there's no telling how good he could be when put into a system with some of the offensive weapons that are considering coming to Kentucky in 2017. Calipari seems to be interested, but he should make an offer. Putting more focus on Green and getting him to come to UK in 2017 would be a huge help in building a great team that season.
A loaded recruiting class becomes much better when you get a point guard who can share the ball with the five-star forwards and shooters in that class. Green is that guard, and despite the fact that he's considered the 34th-best player in the country (which for Calipari probably feels like scraping the bottom of the barrel), his ability to lead an offense and set other stars up with great scoring opportunities is something that cannot be valued enough.