Quade Green’s time as a Wildcat (thus far) is something that I’m still trying to figure out as we digest his freshman season and prepare for his sophomore year.
Green emerged during his recruiting process as a competitor with Trae Young for John Calipari’s most sought-after recruit in his class. Labeled as a table setter with a more selfless attitude than Young, Green trended upward remarkably fast, reaching five-star status and becoming the No. 5 point guard in his class before he committed to Kentucky and signed on Nov. 20, 2016.
A combination of Green signing and Young’s father insisting that he get to shoot as much as he wants every game (among other things, I’m sure) led Young to the Oklahoma Sooners, and Green became “the guy” at point guard for Cal’s 2017 class.
But Green wasn’t “the guy” for long. Once practices started it became clear that he and teammate Shai Gilgeous-Alexander shared similar abilities. They split time at the point early in the season, but Gilgeous-Alexander eventually emerged as the team’s best guard.
Green certainly wasn’t bad by any means. He showed the capability to run the point, create for himself and hit mid-range jumpers while stopping on a dime. But he never really jumped off the page in his freshman season.
His per-game averages really tell the story. He averaged 9.3 points, 2.7 assists and 1.8 rebounds per game. Not bad, nothing special, but ultimately not nearly the impact expected.
Green had his peaks (21 points against East Tennessee State, a season high, 17 points and five assists against the Virginia Tech Hokies, 18 points and four assists against the Ole Miss Rebels), and his valleys (four points, 0 for 4 from the field against Utah Valley, 0 points, 0 for 5 from the field against the Georgia Bulldogs), and most of his season was somewhere in the middle.
A microcosm of that: Green scored 12 points in three consecutive games in a stretch in February.
His eye injury in January certainly didn’t help him, but his production didn’t experience any major fluctuation before and after his three missed games (he averaged 10.7 PPG before the injury, 8.1 after returning from injury).
He didn’t necessarily get lost in the shuffle, as he kept a consistent role and produced for the Wildcats, but I can’t imagine that this was how he expected his freshman season to go.
With his return for a sophomore season, he’ll get a chance to emerge as a veteran leader in a backcourt that might be loaded full of five-star talent (and Tyler Herro, who certainly needs to be mentioned if we’re talking about backcourt talent), depending on reclassifications.
But this also presents a challenge for Green. He absolutely has to step out of the shadows in the 2018-19 season if he doesn’t want his sophomore season to be worse than his freshman season. If he doesn’t, he’ll be buried behind Immanuel Quickley, Tyler Herro and Ashton Hagans (probably).
Competition breeds greatness, right? If Green embraces that, he’ll reach another level as a sophomore.
Be sure to go ‘like’ our Facebook page and follow our Twitter page for the latest Kentucky Wildcats news.