UK Men's Basketball

Quade Green’s commitment to UK could help Cats with other top recruits

Mohamed Bamba played alongside Quade Green on the Nike circuit and with the Team USA U18 squad this summer.
Mohamed Bamba played alongside Quade Green on the Nike circuit and with the Team USA U18 squad this summer.

With Quade Green’s public commitment to the University of Kentucky on Saturday night, John Calipari now has his point guard of the future.

The UK coach might have also improved his chances to land a couple of Top 10 recruits in the 2017 class.

Green — a 6-foot-1 prospect from Philadelphia — is arguably the best floor leader in high school basketball, and Calipari has told his high school coach, Neumann-Goretti’s Carl Arrigale, that other top recruits want to be on his team in college.

“He’s a guy that other guys gravitate to,” Arrigale told the Herald-Leaader a few days ago. “I remember talking to Cal when he came for a meeting at the school. He said, ‘Guys want to play with him.’ And that didn’t surprise me. He’s got that type of way about him. You know he’s going to be a guy who’s out there fighting for you and trying to lead you the best he can.”

Five-star forward PJ Washington mentioned Green as a player he’d like to team up with shortly after announcing his own commitment to UK earlier this month.

Two other five-star recruits in the 2017 class might feel the same way.

Mohamed Bamba — the No. 2 overall player in the Scout.com rankings — was an AAU teammate of Green’s and greatly benefited from the new UK signee’s team-first approach. Bamba and Green both visited Lexington for Big Blue Madness last month, and they sat together at Madison Square Garden for the Wildcats’ victory over Michigan State on Tuesday night.

Bamba spoke to the Herald-Leader earlier this year about his experience playing alongside Green.

“It means everything. It means the world,” Bamba said. “To play with a good point guard, it takes your game to a whole new level. … He’s great. He’s so smooth and poised. You don’t see that at this age.”

Bamba — a 7-footer from Harlem, N.Y. — is also considering Duke, Harvard, Texas, Michigan and a few others, and he isn’t expected to make a college decision until the spring.

Hamidou Diallo — the No. 1 shooting guard in the 2017 class — could also be impacted by Green’s commitment to Kentucky.

Diallo — a 6-5 prospect from Queens, N.Y. — has not said much publicly about his recruitment, but UK is thought to be among his top schools. He also has such a close relationship with Green that some recruiting analysts were recently predicting that Diallo would ultimately land at Syracuse, because that was assumed to be Green’s leader up until a couple of days ago.

Green’s decision to sign with the Wildcats should only help them as they continue to pursue Diallo, who is the only shooting guard Calipari is still recruiting and is also not expected to make a college decision until the spring.

While Green’s commitment could benefit UK with those recruits (and possibly some others), it might hurt the Wildcats’ pursuit of five-star point guard Trae Young.

Ray Young, the player’s father, was adamant in an interview with the Herald-Leader last week that his son’s decision would not be affected by other point guards UK was recruiting and that Trae wants to play alongside other talented players.

Since that interview, Green and four-star combo guard Shai Alexander have both signed with Kentucky.

Scout.com’s Evan Daniels told the Herald-Leader that he would “100 percent” rule out the Wildcats landing Young now that they have Green and Alexander.

Young’s recruitment was expected to come down to UK and Oklahoma, and many recruiting analysts had it trending toward the Sooners anyway.

In the past few days, Scout.com’s Daniels and Josh Gershon, 247Sports analysts Jerry Meyer and Andrew Slater, and ESPN’s Jeff Borzello, among others, have all made Young-to-Oklahoma predictions. And all of those predictions came before UK emerged as the favorite for Green.

Young is not expected to make a decision until late December or early January.

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