Meet the Wildcats: Green aims to be best point guard in UK history

Special thanks to Papa John’s for presenting this year’s Meet the Wildcats series.

The 2017-18 season is fast approaching, and head coach John Calipari’s latest top-ranked recruiting class features seven fresh new faces. Over the next several weeks, CoachCal.com will profile each of Kentucky’s newcomers in its annual and exclusive “Meet the Wildcats” series. Each story will be accompanied with an episode of the Behind Kentucky Basketball podcast, as well as a video of each player playing a game of Horse against either Kentucky basketball great Rex Chapman or Hollywood actor and Kentucky basketball superfan Josh Hopkins. The 2017-18 series concludes with Quade Green, a tough point guard out of Philadelphia who plays with a swagger, is always willing to put in the work and wants to leave Kentucky known as its best point guard.

Podcast: Behind Kentucky Basketball with Quade Green

T
he Kentucky point guard lineage under head coach John Calipari is as impressive as any school or coach can boast of in the country.

Of course, this has been well documented before on countless occasions. But let’s review it one more time:

There was John Wall, the first No. 1 NBA Draft pick in program history and owner of the second-most assists in school history. Eric Bledsoe, the No. 18 overall pick in 2010, played alongside Wall.

Following those two was Brandon Knight, a two-time Gatorade High School National Player of the Year who would go on to lead UK to the Final Four and be a lottery pick after one season.

Marquis Teague stepped in following Knight and helped the Wildcats raise their eighth national championship banner in school history in 2012.

Andrew Harrison started for Coach Cal for two years and lead Kentucky to back-to-back Final Four appearances. He handed out 3.77 assists per game for his career, which equates to the ninth-best career average in school history.

Bio Blast

Position: Guard
Date of birth: May 12, 1998
Parents: Tamika Johnson and Barry Green
Hometown: Philadelphia
High school: Neumann-Goretti High School
Nickname: Q Boogi
Twitter: @Q_Green1
Instagram: @q_boogi
Favorite TV show: Power
Favorite food: Hamburger Helper
Favorite superhero: Spiderman and Superman
Favorite player: Chris Paul and Kyrie Irving (currently), Allen Iverson and Penny Hardaway (all-time)
Favorite sport/hobby outside of basketball: Drawing and likes to play baseball
Favorite movie: Above the Rim and Space Jam
Favorite musical artist: Meek Mill

Tyler Ulis played alongside Harrison for one season and helped UK orchestrate the first 38-0 record in college basketball history. The following season, as a sophomore, Ulis broke the UK single-season assists record and became a Consensus First Team All-American.

Last season, De’Aaron Fox took the reins and led Kentucky to an Elite Eight appearance. He became the second player in program history to record a triple-double and was drafted fifth overall by the Sacramento Kings.

In steps Quade Green, a 6-foot floor general out of Philadelphia who respects all the UK point guards who came before him but wants to leave being known as the best of them all.

“That’s my main goal right now,” Green said in an exclusive interview with CoachCal.com. “That’s if I do four years, three years, two years or one year. I’m trying to be the best player I can be and better than everybody that came through here as a guard.”

In terms of having high individual goals, it doesn’t get much higher than to one day be better than all of those guys.

“Gotta set it high,” Green said.

His favorite Kentucky guard to watch? Wall.

“He had the most swag on the team and they were winning and everybody loved it,” Green said. “And I loved it too when I was young.”

The former Kentucky point guard Green is most often compared to, though, is Ulis. Many of those comparisons come from the two guards’ heights, but they also share a similar mentality.

Green is three inches taller than the famously short Ulis, but because almost all of Calipari’s other point guards at UK were 6-3 or taller, Ulis and Green tend to stand out for their diminutive nature.

They also both share a similar, hardnosed, unselfish, winning attitude. Ulis, of course, didn’t care who he was going up against. In a pickup game at the Joe Craft Center he got into an argument with 6-11 DeMarcus Cousins. During the SEC Tournament, he had to be separated from Auburn’s 7-2 center Trayvon Reed.

Green likes to have fun on the court – it’s part of his persona – but after playing on the courts in Philadelphia, where he won four state titles at Neumann-Goretti High School, he knows when it’s time to get serious and buckle down. After all, this is the same town that booed Santa Claus and Green said he’s heard Philly players booed by their own mothers.

“That’s where I got my toughness from. Just Philly, period,” Green said. “These guys on the basketball court, you know what’s about to happen. Either you’re going to play tough or you’re going to get kicked off the court.”

Kentucky freshman Quade Green said he wants to the best guard to have ever played at UK. (photo by Chet White, UK Athletics)

Ulis moved to Chicago from Lima, Ohio, to play a more competitive brand of basketball. There, he caught the eye of Coach Cal, who was initially hesitant to take such a diminutive point guard. Green also watched Ulis with admiration.

“Tyler is a tough matchup,” Green said. “He came here and he produced. He put up good numbers and they won – both years he was here. I just want to do my job and be better than him. Be better than all guards that came through here.”

Green’s confidence isn’t a knock to the past. To the contrary, it’s an acknowledgment of the high bar set by those who came before him. He knows that in order to carry that torch, he has to set goals that exceed expectations.

On the court, Green says he is a mix between a pit bull and a great dane. He’s “feisty like a pit bull,” but has a big heart, like a great dane.

Off the court, he likes to have fun with his teammates. During grueling summer workouts with strength and conditioning coach Rob Harris, Green could be seen having fun and enjoying himself with his new family.

For many people, there’s a line between having a competitive spirit and having fun. Green, to his credit, likes to do both at the same time.

“I’m a little guy,” he said. “I’m not 6-8 like everybody else (on the team). I just make my life happier, more joyful and my team to love me the way I love them. I would say I’m just a comedian at some point in time doing any drill, any workout, but I’m competitive at the same time.

“I just see it on the floor as having fun. God put me here for a reason. I’m blessed to be on the basketball court so I’m just going to use all my power and all my will.”

“That’s my main goal right now. That’s if I do four years, three years, two years or one year. I’m trying to be the best player I can be and better than everybody that came through here as a guard.” – Quade Green
Green contends that, on the basketball court, if you’re going to play at a high level you have to have confidence, cockiness and an attitude all bundled into one package. Calipari has always said he wants his players to play with a swagger, which Green certainly has, and Green says Calipari has it as well.

“I’d say he’s got that south Philly, Italian swag, really,” Green said of his new coach. “He’s just nice and smooth with it. Hair is smooth, how he talks to people. Everything’s polite but if you do something wrong he’s going to tell you. He’s going to be honest with you. That’s what, really, Cal is about. If he sees something wrong he’s going to tell you. If he sees something right he’s going to tell you. He’s not scared to say anything to nobody.”

Nor is Green.

A vocal leader, Green isn’t afraid to bark out instructions to any of his teammates, and he expects the same in return.

“They want somebody to tell them what’s right from wrong,” Green said. “Same as me. If I tell them right from wrong they got respect for me.”

On a team lacking experience, he will be counted on as one of the on-court leaders for this young group, despite his freshman status, and strives to be an extension of Coach Cal on the floor. Green confidently said he was the leader for the team the moment he stepped foot on campus, but it will still take time for he and everyone else to adjust to everything at the college level.

“It’s going to be hard for a couple of months, I would say, because everybody is new to it,” Green said. “It’s just my job that after Cal speaks I can speak. After that, I’m the vocal leader on the basketball court other than Cal.”

Sounds similar to many other point guards who have played at Kentucky.