The paperwork is signed, and Quade Green is a Kentucky Wildcat.
The five-star point guard from Philadelphia announced his college choice Saturday night at his high school, a few days after signing a national letter of intent with UK and sitting on the secret.
Green — ranked by Scout.com as the No. 25 senior in the country — is the fourth commitment for UK’s recruiting class of 2017, joining five-star frontcourt players Nick Richards and PJ Washington, as well as four-star combo guard Shai Alexander.
The expected departures of underclassman guards Isaiah Briscoe, De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk to the NBA Draft after this season mean Green is also the most likely candidate to be UK’s starting point guard a year from now.
That’s a role he’ll relish, says Neumann-Goretti (Pa.) Coach Carl Arrigale.
“I think something that really intrigues him about that whole thing is the challenge, and what Kentucky does for their players as far as getting them ready for the next level,” Arrigale said. “That’s every kid’s dream to be able to play at the highest level. He thinks they can push him to be a pro, and he wants to be a pro.”
Green sent his letter of intent to UK on Wednesday, the final day of the early signing period, but wanted to wait until Saturday night to announce his decision at Neumann-Goretti’s first-ever “Hoops Madness” event.
I think he was a little blown away after Big Blue Madness.
Carl Arrigale, Neumann-Goretti (Pa.) head coach
Measured at 6-foot-1 over the summer, Green is small by John Calipari’s standards, but he makes up for that lack of size with grit and a skill set that makes him arguably the best floor leader in high school basketball.
“He’s a competitor,” Arrigale said. “I know they talk about Philly guards that have a certain toughness about them, and he has all that. He’s got a real will to win. I’ve been watching basketball for a long time, and I haven’t seen a high school kid with the footwork that he has. That makes up for him being a little on the smaller side. He’s going to be strong — he’s already strong for high school — but when he gets to college and he gets with their nutrition and weight training and stuff like that, it’s a whole other ballgame from our 10 dollar weight room that we have.”
Green averaged 18.7 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.8 assists as a junior last season, when he was asked to be more of a scorer than a facilitator. Over the summer, he showed his true point guard skills, leading the highly competitive Nike circuit in assists (9.8) and steals (3.2) per game, while still averaging 14.9 points.
“He’s a really talented passer. But he’s also a capable scorer,” said Scout.com’s Evan Daniels. “I like how competitive he is, too. This is a kid who can really distribute the ball and run a team.
“And he’s a guy that you have to guard at the three-point line, or he’ll burn you.”
Green was a serviceable 36.2-percent three-point shooter on the Nike circuit this summer, but he’s been a 50-percent shooter from long range over his past two high school seasons.
“He’s a tremendous shooter,” Arrigale said. “He doesn’t get a lot of credit for that, because he was such a good playmaker on the (Nike) circuit this year.”
Green chose UK over Syracuse, which had been recruiting him for more than two years and turned away other talented point guards in hopes of landing his commitment.
Calipari extended a scholarship offer to Green over the summer and hosted him last month for an official visit centered on Big Blue Madness. The theme of that night was “family,” and the event featured dozens of former Wildcats who returned to be recognized by the program.
Green visited Syracuse several times this fall, but that night in Rupp Arena might have gone a long way in convincing him to make UK his new home.
“I think he was a little blown away after Big Blue Madness,” Arrigale said. “The tradition and all the (players) that came back, that was something that he thought was neat. And something that he talked about and really liked.”
UK’s basketball commitment for the class of 2017