Player preview series: Can Quade Green lead Kentucky to a championship?
Kentucky's basketball regular season is almost here. The season begins this week.
To help you get ready for this exciting annual beginning, the Cats Illustrated staff is breaking down and discussing every player who should have a key role on this 2017-18 Kentucky team.
We'll start with point guard Quade Green.
What did you think about Quade Green's performance in the exhibition games we just watched?
T.J. Walker, Basketball Recruiting Analyst: I thought Green was close to great in his exhibition games. He showcased the reason John Calipari moved on from Trae Young and prioritized Green. He was steady, he was efficient and he looked like the leader at times this team is going to need moving forward. Defensively he will need to improve but he did do a solid job of being a pest and knocking the ball away from opposing point guards.
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Jeff Drummond, Managing Editor: The young point guard showed a lot of promise in UK's three exhibition games, especially on the offensive end of the floor where he did a good job of getting the Cats into their sets and found opportunities to create off the bounce. But perhaps most importantly, Green displayed the ability to knock down the open 3-pointer when opponents sagged off him. That will go a long way toward keeping defenses honest this season.
Justin Rowland, Publisher: He's rightfully drawn a lot of praise for how he played in the early going. He was efficient, shared the ball well and shot a lot better than people seemed to expect. That speaks to his maturity and ableness in handling the big stage of Kentucky and that bodes well.
How do you think he helps Kentucky in the 2017-18 season and what role does he play on the team?
T.J. Walker, Basketball Recruiting Analyst: Green will be the floor general that John Calipari demands from his point guards, so in a certain sense he may be one of the most important players on the team. But Green will really help the Cats with his outside shooting. Even on his misses in the three exhibition games every shot looked pure. He won't be a dribble-and-shoot perimeter player like a Malik Monk or a Jamal Murray, but with so many slashers Green will have plenty of catch-and-shoot opportunities.
Jeff Drummond, Managing Editor: If everything goes according to the script, I think Coach Cal would like to see Green in the classic point guard role. Think more of a 1970s or 80s point guard than what we've been used to seeing at UK in recent years. He doesn't have to be a dynamic scorer or carry the load like a John Wall or a Brandon Knight, just be a floor general, get the ball into the right guy's hands at the right time, and knock down open shots when they are available.
Justin Rowland, Publisher: There was some question as to whether this might be Quade Green's team or Shai Gilgeous-Alexander's team. They will both play a huge role as vital rotation players but it's Green's team, in terms of running the show as the point guard. He won't be an alpha dog in terms of scoring or looking for shots late in every close game but the team will largely rise or fall based on his play especially in March.
What do you believe is his ceiling and his floor?
T.J. Walker, Basketball Recruiting Analyst: His ceiling is somewhere between freshman Tyler Ulis and Sophomore Tyler Ulis. They're not the same players, but it's an easy comparison. Green will be able to find open players and hit open shots. He will never be the defender that Ulis was at the college level, but he can do a lot of the same things offensively. Green's floor isn't too deep. The only way he really struggles at UK is if he doesn't improve a lick defensively and goes cold from outside. Both seem unlikely.
Jeff Drummond, Managing Editor: His ceiling probably has to do more with the guys around him than it does with Green. If his teammates knock down shots, I could see him being among the SEC assist leaders and making a run at All-SEC, although there is some pretty strong competition there this season. He reminds me in some ways of Marquis Teague, only a little more vocal at an early stage.
Justin Rowland, Publisher: I'm not sure he's got an All-SEC year ahead of him just because he won't be taking that many shots and I see him as more likely to be efficient, steady and heady rather than a guy who looks to "get his" every other night. But I think we could end up looking back at Quade Green's 2017-18 season and seeing him as a guy who was far better than most anticipated. And I think he has the stuff of a guy who is capable of piloting Kentucky to the sport's final weekend.