As Quade Green announced his decision to transfer from the Kentucky Wildcats, many fans and media took to the internet to lay blame upon Green or John Calipari.
Those that decided Green was to blame for his decision to transfer stated that he wasn’t good enough to play for Kentucky, or that he was a selfish player, or that he was in over his head.
Those that decided to blame Calipari said that it was his fault that Quade never developed, or that he ran him off because he doesn’t care about players if they’re not one-and-done.
Here’s a concept: Neither one is to blame for the transfer. Things just didn’t work out.
Quade Green wasn’t Cal’s first choice as the point guard to lead his team in 2017. That was Trae Young. Young dragged his feet and wouldn’t sign during the early period so to make sure that he had a point guard commit for the class, Cal reached out to Green and he quickly accepted.
Young ended up at Oklahoma where he was able to shoot as much as he wanted to with mixed results for his team. He wasn’t going to be able to that at Kentucky so it was best for all involved.
A similar situation happened with Emmanuel Mudiay and Tyler Ulis. Mudiay was Cal’s first choice but he shocked everyone and ended up committing to Larry Brown at SMU. Cal offered Ulis and, like Green after him, he committed soon after.
Ulis ended up being one of the best point guards in the John Calipari Era and a fan favorite. A consensus All American and an NBA player. Mudiay ended up in China and then later in the NBA. Things weren’t so good for SMU.
You see, John Calipari has a specific type of point guard that he wants running his team. More often than not, that point guard is on the bigger (for a guard) side and is able to cut to the basket in order to create for the team.
That’s not Quade Green and that’s wasn’t Tyler Ulis. The difference is Ulis was able to make up for it by being a floor general on offense, hitting outside shots, and being a complete monster as an on-ball defender. Because of those things, Ulis was a star at UK.
Green isn’t the floor general that Ulis was. Not many players are. Green also has problems turning the ball over, which isn’t great for a point guard running any system. Green wasn’t a great defender and has always struggled staying in front of people.
Because of these reasons he saw his minutes dwindle game after game this season. He was exceptionally bad against UNC-Greensboro and Seton Hall.
Not all of that is his fault. In my opinion, I think Green saw his minutes disappear and when he got in the game he tried doing too much which caused to turnovers and bad possessions on offense. Cal can excuse poor defense once in a while as long as a player in contributing in other ways. Green wasn’t.
If you recall, Quade mulled transferring last season as Immanuel Quickley, Tyler Herro, and Ashton Hagans were all committed to Kentucky. With Jemarl Baker still on the roster, everyone involved knew playing time would be at a premium.
Baker still is battling a knee injury, but Quickley, Hagans, and Herro have been performing better than Green therefore they were getting the lion’s share of the minutes.
I’m sure in his mind, Quade Green thought that he would be able to do enough to carve out a meaningful spot for himself on this team therefore he came back. All high level college athletes think their talent will carry them through anything. In this situation Quade’s talent just wasn’t enough.
That’s not his fault nor is it Cal’s fault.
Green will find a spot somewhere and I hope he does well. I hope he balls out. The reality of the situation is that there may have been a point in the season where this team needed Quade’s shooting. Statistically he was the team’s best three point shooter. Now it’s imperative that Jemarl Baker get some reps and produce because, despite Ca’s insistence that he has a good shooting team, this isn’t a good shooting team.
There is plenty of blame to go around for the way this season has started. But remember: it’s December, the Cats are 7-2, there is still a lot of talent on this team, and there’s a chance to end this month with a big bang.
Step off the ledge. Take a deep breath. Cal’s got this.