UK Men's Basketball

Get to know the 2018-19 Kentucky men’s basketball team. Bios for every player.

‘Anybody can start’: Quade Green on the depth of this UK team

UK guard Quade Green says starting doesn't mean anything to him — even though he did in Friday night's win over Transylvania — and that everybody on this Kentucky basketball team can play at a high level.
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UK guard Quade Green says starting doesn't mean anything to him — even though he did in Friday night's win over Transylvania — and that everybody on this Kentucky basketball team can play at a high level.

Jemarl Baker

Uniform number: 13

Height, weight: 6-4, 192

Position: Guard

Class: Redshirt freshman

Age: Turned 20 on June 12

Hometown: Menifee, Calif.

High school: Roosevelt

About Baker: Knee surgery in October 2017 has made Baker a mystery man. He did not play last season nor in the exhibition games in the Bahamas in August. He came to UK billed as a shooter, and contributed last season by making the SEC First Year Academic Honor Roll.

Baker says: “It was just fun to be able to watch it that close. I had never been able to be that close before. But just learning from the greatest coach in college basketball history, in my opinion.”

What someone else says: “Jemarl Baker now has been spending extra time with a coach, not himself, with a coach in that gym. ... Then all of a sudden he gets comfortable and then demonstrated performance kicks in, and he builds his own confidence.” — John Calipari

Jemarl Baker Jr., who sat out all of last season with an injury, says he's ready to show what he can do.

Brad Calipari

Uniform number: 12

Height, weight: 6-0, 179

Position: Guard

Class: Junior

Age: Turns 22 on Nov. 11

Hometown: Franklin Lakes, N.J.

High school: MacDuffie School

About Calipari: It’s not easy being a UK player and the son of the coach. Ask Sean Sutton and Saul Smith. But Calipari father and son have navigated these treacherous waters expertly. Although fans implore him to shoot almost every time he touches the ball, the younger Calipari insists on playing it straight. It would be interesting to see him play on a lower level.

Calipari says: “I’m not going to be able to out-run these guys or out-jump these guys, but I’ll have to be able to outlast them.”

What someone else says: “Some people are going to play, and some people aren’t going to play. We’re not giving minutes. You have to earn them. (pause) Will somebody give minutes to Brad?” — John Calipari’s message to team

Brad Calipari says he would like to follow his father into coaching someday but, for now, he's giving his all to playing the game. He talks about how he's benefited from his Kentucky experience.

Jonny David

Uniform number: 10

Height, weight: 6-2, 188

Position: Guard

Class: Senior

Age: Turns 22 on Nov. 7

Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pa.

High school: Lebanon

About David: A 1,000-point scorer in high school, he has contributed mightily to the team’s grade-point average. In each of his first three seasons, he made the SEC’s Academic Honor Roll. After fans in the Bahamas called for his entry into games, he expressed gratitude that it hadn’t been forgotten that he’s on the UK team.

David says: “Honestly, they’re the best fans in the world. It’s a feeling that you can’t really describe.”

What someone else says: “Jonny David, Jonny David.” — UK fans chanting his name as a way of asking for the walk-on to enter games in the Bahamas

Kentucky basketball player Jonny David recalled his experience swimming with dolphins during the team's trip to the Bahamas in August. He also talked about his favorite family trips.

Quade Green

Uniform number: 0

Height, weight: 6-0, 170

Position: Guard

Class: Sophomore

Age: Turned 20 on May 12

Hometown: Philadelphia

High school: Neumann-Goretti

About Green: He was UK’s starting point guard at the beginning of last season. But eye and back injuries led to a switch to shooting guard, where he became UK’s most reliable three-point shooter (41-for-109). He looks in better shape and speaks of having transformed into a better player.

What Green says: “My game has changed up a lot. I went to training for my body. Got faster. I just got more confidence.”

What someone else says: “Immanuel (Quickley) still doesn’t get rid of it quick enough. He and Quade dribble the ball too much. Held the ball too much. Get rid of it or drive it.” — John Calipari

UK basketball player Quade Green says this season's team sticks together on and off the court.

Ashton Hagans

Uniform number: 2

Height, weight: 6-3, 192

Position: Guard

Class: Freshman

Age: Turned 19 on July 8

Hometown: Cartersville, Ga.

High school: Newton

About Hagans: As a high school senior, he averaged 20.2 points and was named Georgia’s Mr. Basketball. Former Auburn running back Ronnie Brown is a cousin. So is former Georgia basketball player Trey Thompkins. He reclassified from the class of 2019 to 2018.

What Hagans says: “I try to play until the whistle blows. ... try to leave everything on the court. ... Like, if I don’t start, I’m still going to try and play my hardest.”

What someone else says: “People think he can’t shoot the ball, but he doesn’t shoot the ball because he loves to pass the ball. He can actually shoot the ball very well.” — Marvin Hagans (father)

Kentucky freshman Ashton Hagans talked in his preseason interview about how he ended up as a Wildcat.

Tyler Herro

Uniform number: 14

Height, weight: 6-5, 195

Position: Guard

Class: Freshman

Age: 19 on Jan. 20

Hometown: Milwaukee, Wis.

High school: Whitnall

About Herro: He originally committed to Wisconsin, then re-opened his recruitment after the Badgers changed coaches. Wisconsin’s loss is Kentucky’s gain. His jump shooting in the Bahamas made him an immediate fan favorite.

What Herro says: “I don’t really like it either (the label as a shooter). Just because I think I’m more than just a shooter. I’m coming in and trying to prove that.”

What someone else says: “He put in a lot of work. You don’t shoot 80, 90 percent from mid-range unless you’re putting in a lot of work.” — Chris Herro (father)

UK freshman Tyler Herro's preseason interview touched on how his father has contributed to his performance on the court.

Keldon Johnson

Uniform number: 3

Height, weight: 6-6, 211

Position: Guard

Class: Freshman

Age: Turned 19 on Oct. 11

Hometown: South Hill, Va.

High school: Oak Hill Academy

About Johnson: He combines an infectious personality and a tenacious playing style. His effort evokes memories of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Because of his outgoing personality, his trash talking produces smiles rather than irritation.

What Johnson says: “I just like to have fun. I’d say it comes from my dad. ... We just like to have fun, entertain people, and just make the best of the situation given.”

What someone else says: “He’s really outgoing. He’s easily approachable. I can tell you that he’s probably going to be quotable.” — Steve Smith, Oak Hill Academy coach

University of Kentucky freshman Keldon Johnson said his parents are a big influence on his personality and passion for the game.

EJ Montgomery

Uniform number: 23

Height, weight: 6-10, 225

Position: Forward

Class: Freshman

Age: Turned 19 on Sept. 12

Hometown: Fort Pierce, Fla.

High school: Wheeler

About Montgomery: Perhaps the most skilled of UK’s “bigs.” At the start of his high school career, he played with former LSU standout (and overall No. 1 pick in an NBA Draft) Ben Simmons. There’s talk of him being a future lottery pick. Citing back pain, he played only briefly in the Bahamas.

What Montgomery says: “When the lights are on, my mind clears. I don’t think about the game. (I) just go out there and be myself.”

What someone else says: “EJ’s saying, ‘I’m not going to be Wally Pipp. I’m just telling you, I’m fine.’ He said, ‘I’ll never act hurt.’” — John Calipari

Freshman big man EJ Montgomery, who sat out most of Kentucky's exhibition trip to the Bahamas in August, talked in his preseason interview about the back problem that sidelined him and the hard work that goes into being a Wildcat.

Zan Payne

Uniform number: 21

Height, weight: 6-4, 240

Position: Guard-forward

Class: Freshman

Age: Turned 18 on March 23

Hometown: Lexington

High school: Lexington Catholic

About Payne: The son of UK associate coach Kenny Payne, he was a 1,000-point scorer for Lexington Catholic. He tore an ACL in February of his senior season. He will sit out this season as a redshirt.

What Payne says: “I was thinking about prep school. But then I was just, like, might as well go here since I got hurt. The rehab here is really going good.”

What someone else says: “He didn’t get too high. He didn’t get too low. He just played hard all the time. That was his MO: just play hard. And he did it better than just about anybody we’ve had.” — Lexington Catholic Coach Brandon Salsman

Kentucky's Zan Payne, son of UK assistant coach Kenny Payne, will miss his freshman season recovering from a torn ACL suffered while playing for Lexington Catholic.

Immanuel Quickley

Uniform number: 5

Height, weight: 6-3, 185

Position: Guard

Class: Freshman

Age: Turned 19 on June 17

Hometown: Havre de Grace, Md.

High school: The John Carroll School

About Quickley: He was the first player to commit to Kentucky in the class of 2018. He came to UK with a reputation for solid play. He led his high school team to two state championships and was a three-time all-state player.

What Quickley says: “I’m just looking forward to getting better each and every day. I think that’s how I got to Kentucky, and that’s what I’m going to continue to do.”

What someone else says: “He’s like Brandon Knight in the building. Always there. Always working. In the weight room, he’s like Shai (Gilgeous-Alexander). The best in the weight room.” — John Calipari

University of Kentucky freshman Immanuel Quickley said the primary reason he chose the Wildcats was the chance to get better every day in practice going against players who test him.

Nick Richards

Uniform number: 4

Height, weight: 6-11, 244

Position: Forward

Class: Sophomore

Age: Turns 21 on Nov. 29

Hometown: Kingston, Jamaica

High school: The Patrick School

About Richards: A five-star prospect, he never found his niche as a freshman. By the end of the season, he was a token starter. Teammate Hamidou Diallo said Richards did not have enough “dog” in him. UK coaches said his confidence lagged.

What Richards says: “I’ve always had that problem. Even off the court. I would make a mistake, and it would just be in my mind for hours. Maybe even days. I would just continue to think about it. And it’s just one of those things that I’ve outgrown.”

What someone else says: “Nick’s not even the same person (as last season). ... He doesn’t look like shuffling his feet looking down. He’s confident in who he is and what he does.” — John Calipari

University of Kentucky sophomore Nick Richards says he feels "more confident" in his play this year after the team played in the Bahamas this summer.

Reid Travis

Uniform number: 22

Height, weight: 6-8, 238

Position: Forward

Class: Graduate transfer

Age: Turns 23 on Nov. 25

Hometown: Minneapolis, Minn.

Undergrad: Stanford

About Travis: A three-time captain and an All-Pac 12 pick, he accomplished a lot at Stanford. But he still was not considered a likely first-round NBA Draft pick. Hence, the move to Kentucky as a graduate transfer.

What Travis says: “It’s still unreal for me, being able to put on that blue, put on that white (and) really look down and see Kentucky written across my chest.”

What someone else says: “Everybody wants to win the lottery, but you can’t win the lottery if you don’t buy a ticket. What Reid did, he bought a ticket.” — family friend Rene Pulley on Travis deciding to transfer to Kentucky

A three-year captain at Stanford before graduating and transferring to Kentucky, Reid Travis says leadership comes naturally.

PJ Washington

Uniform number: 25

Height, weight: 6-8, 228

Position: Forward

Class: Sophomore

Age: Turned 20 on Aug. 23

Hometown: Dallas

High school: Findlay Prep

About Washington: He entered his name in the 2018 NBA Draft. “Why not?” his father, Paul, said of the what-do-you-have-to-lose decision. He came away from the pre-draft process having heard that he needed to improve his face-the-basket game. John Calipari likens him to a Draymond Green in the making.

What Washington says: “I’ve been working hard, and the results have been coming in, and I’m just proud of it.”

What someone else says: “PJ basically is position-less. He can play, in my eyes, ‘two’ through ‘five.’ He can guard ‘two’ through ‘five’ at the same time, too. So it’s going to be a matchup nightmare for a lot of teams.” — Nick Richards

UK basketball player PJ Washington talked during his preseason interview about what he's noticed with the team and the recruiting process this year.

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