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Kentucky Basketball Player Preview: Finding the role for Quade Green

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After guaranteeing a win over Louisville and becoming the coolest man in Lexington with some shades on the court, what does Quade Green’s sophomore season hold?

A Sea of Blue

Who are we talking about?

Quade Green, sophomore guard

What did he do last season?

Green had some moments last season during his first year in Lexington. He’s most famously known for his dark sport glasses he wore on the floor because of vision issues after getting poked in the eye and basically guaranteeing a great Christmas gift for Big Blue Nation with win over Kentucky’s little brother in-state rival Louisville, which the Wildcats did win by 29 points. Green had 13 points and five dimes in the romp.

2017-18 statistics:

34 games (13 starts), 9.3 points, 1.8 rebounds, 2.7 assists per game on 45.1 percent shooting from the field, including 37.6 percent from 3-point range on 3.2 attempts per game and made 42 of his 52 attempts from the line (80.8 percent).

His best performance from last season:

There were a few games that stuck out with Green last year. He had 21 points in a romp over East Tennessee State in the fourth game of the season on 9-of-13 shooting. In the intense matchup with Virginia Tech (the game where he wore the glasses), he canned six of his 12 shot attempts for 17 points with five assists. Green had 18 points, four steals and two steals in a late-season win over Ole Miss at home.

Green stopped becoming a starting guard just after the turn of the new year after the loss at Tennessee, but he provided a nice scoring touch off the bench last season; a role that he’ll likely be in this season, too.

What’s the 2018-19 season going to hold for Green?

If the Bahamas are any indication, it doesn’t appear that Green will be running with the top unit(s) for Kentucky all that much this season. Kentucky head coach John Calipari has already stated that he doesn’t want to “platoon” with this group like he did with the 2014-15 team that went 38-1 and made the Final Four.

That’s not a good sign for Green, who joined a short list of potential one-and-done players that returned for a sophomore season in the Calipari era. The ‘Cats are loaded with playmakers this season with the additions of freshmen Keldon Johnson, Ashton Hagans, Immanuel Quickley and Bahamas star Tyler Herro.

Green has a role on this team, but becoming a star with this bunch isn’t all that likely. Still, there’s a fit for him on the roster and it’s actually rather fascinating to me personally.

The new Tyler Ulis? Maybe? Or somebody else?

Look, I’m not saying Quade Green is going to have a solid year in limited action and come back for another year to win SEC Player of the Year like Ulis did in his two seasons in Lexington.

But, there’s some similarities to Green this season with the depth the ‘Cats have and Ulis during the 38-1 season a few years back.

Ulis was a legitimate prospect coming out of Marian Catholic in Chicago, but took a backseat in the backcourt with Devin Booker to the experienced Aaron and Andrew Harrison.

Despite a limited role, Ulis played like a veteran with his calm demeanor and steady play on the floor. Green has a bit more swagger than Ulis had before his breakout sophomore campaign, but he’s a vet with these young guys and that could be key in some places throughout the season for Big Blue and those are the players Calipari wants to trust the most.

Ulis only had six double-digit scoring performances during his freshman year. Green had 17 in 34 appearances last year. He’s further along than Ulis was at this point in their Kentucky careers.

Before the ‘Cats brought in this loaded class they did for this season, Wildcat Blue Nation writer (and now Sea of Blue teammate) Drew Koch wrote an interesting piece about Green becoming “the new Doron Lamb.”

Until this class showed up on campus, I figured this probably won’t be the role that Green would be playing. He can handle the ball as the floor general on the floor and would play the bulk of his minutes at the point.

But then the more I thought about this, the more it absolutely makes sense. Lamb was a killer from long range, shooting 47.5 percent on almost four attempts per game in his two seasons at Kentucky.

Although Green is four inches shorter and about 30-40 pounds lighter than Lamb, he’s showed some potential to shoot it well from out there. It’s a good thought and further emphasizes the point that Green is an experienced player who can score the ball and could be a key contributor in moments when the ‘Cats need a spark.

“Quade (Green) right now, away from the ball he’s unbelievable,” Calipari said back in August, via Fletcher Page of the Louisville Courier-Journal. “He can score it, he figures out spots to go, he doesn’t have to pull the ball out. I want him off the ball. And I just told him, ‘If you’re on a team with Keldon (Johnson) in the NBA, Keldon’s the point guard. You ain’t playing point guard.’”

So, there you have it, basically.

Calipari has confirmed that if Green’s on the floor, he’s likely playing more off the ball. That makes sense, seemingly as Johnson and Immanuel Quickley will share the role of this year’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in terms of a bit bigger guards playing the one and with Ashton Hagans hounding ball-handlers defensively for the ‘Cats, Green’s role as the off-ball shooter looks to be in place this season.

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