Quade Green decided to return to the Kentucky Wildcats for his sophomore season after a decent freshman campaign. His stats were average with 9.3 points per game, 2.7 assists per game, and he shot 37% from the three point line making him one of the better shooters on the team.
At times, the offense flowed better with Green running the point guard position. That role was his to start the season but he eventually lost it to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. One of the main reasons was that Green suffered an injury that caused him to miss three straight SEC games. After that, it was impossible for John Calipari to keep the emerging Gilgeous-Alexander off of the court.
While Green showcased offensive prowess and the threat to score he was at times a defensive liability. His struggles on the defensive side coupled with his mid-season absence were the determining factors in him coming off of the bench.
Fellow sophomore Nick Richards even joked about Green being a little out of shape last season.
“He’s the same Quade,” said Richards of Green this offseason. “Just not fat.”
The backcourt that Kentucky has this season is extremely loaded. Freshmen Ashton Hagans and Immanuel Quickley are both known for the athleticism and their tenacity on defense. If Quade wants to see his 25 minutes per game either stay as is or increase, he is going to have to show Cal that he can play defense.
Quade showed at times that he can be a decent and even a good defender. When the ‘Cats played the Alabama Crimson Tide in Rupp Arena last season, Green harassed Colin Sexton and was a factor that held him to 12 points and two turnovers.
And while Green is obviously shorter at 6-0 and 180 pounds, Tyler Ulis proved that size doesn’t matter when it comes to defense in college. He won SEC Defensive Player of the Year as a sophomore. While Green clearly isn’t the same caliber of player Ulis was, it does serve as an example of how smaller guards can still be great defenders.
It also hurt Green that he ended up playing a lot of shooting guard as the season wore on with SGA at the point, so Green would often end up guarding bigger 2-guards that he wasn’t ready to handle.
Still, this is an area Green has to make big strides in, no matter what position he’s guarding. It will be interesting to see Green’s tenacity in the Bahamas. There will be multiple guys gunning for starting minutes and they will have opportunities to seize control in early August.
in the meantime, here are some highlights of Green working out this summer