Green to go blue

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Being the oldest out of seven children, Quade Green receives regular reminders of the rewards of being a leader. That immense maturity has translated to basketball court-situated success for most of his life, and the 18-year-old’s regard for hard work and sacrifice bred intense interest from top college programs, with the Ss. Neumann-Goretti High School senior committing to the University of Kentucky Nov. 19.

“Having a chance to play for any Division I program is big, so, of course, because of where I’ll be going, I feel fortunate,” Green said about his future residence in Lexington, the home of the Wildcats, winners of eight NCAA titles. “I’ll be playing with a lot of talent around me, so I’ll be looking to make everyone better.”

The coveted guard selected the Southeastern Conference program from an impressive handful of schools, including Villanova University, the defending national champions, who will welcome fellow Neumann-Goretti standout Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree next season, and Syracuse University, which has a history of landing local stars, with Neumann-Goretti alums Rick Jackson and Antonio “Scoop” Jardine and South of South product Dion Waiters, a member of the Miami Heat, having excelled for the Orange. Having spent the early stages of last month pondering his prospects, the 6-foot-1 dynamo decided Kentucky could best bolster his game and encourage the accumulation of unforgettable experiences.

“I’m going to do everything that I can to sustain their reputation as winners,” Green said. “During the recruiting process, I learned so much more about their makeup, which I’d already known a lot about because I’ve followed them for a long time.”

Similar admirers of the Bluegrass State inhabitants no doubt know that the John Calipari-led unit has proven a consistent supplier of roster members for NBA franchises. In fact, the likely departure of guards De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, and Isaiah Briscoe for next year’s draft helped Green to make his decision, stating that the eighth-year overseer wanted him as “the next coach” for what will certainly be a high-flying squad.

“There’s so much to look forward to,” the floor general,” ranked 22nd in the ESPN 100 and third among point guards, said of his choice, which he made public through Neumann-Goretti’s Hoops Madness celebration. “You say ‘Kentucky Wildcats’ to people, and they know the history. I want to be a part of making more of it.”

Green grew to love basketball quickly after trying out the game as a six-year-old. The Southwest Philly resident also found himself fond of baseball, but hoops came to hold more sway as he neared adolescence, with eventual invitations to national camps as huge influences.

“I was really able to see what it would take to make a lasting impression in this sport,” he said, noting how the opportunities placed him among peers who have likewise received ample attention from renowned programs. “I dedicated myself to getting better and growing every time I practiced or went out there to play.”

Aware of the East Passyunk Crossing-based program’s winning tradition and the achievements of its top contributors, Green believed that the school could provide a comprehensive court-situated education and joined the Saints to learn from coach Carl Arrigale and his charges.

“It’s been an amazing time so far, and I expect this year to be a great adventure because everybody will want a piece of us,” the All-Catholic said of the school that last season claimed the City title and the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association’s Class 3A state crown, its sixth in seven years, and narrowly lost the Catholic League championship game. “I think there’s going to be added pressure because we have two guys going D-1, but we’re all ready to take on anybody. That’s just who we are as a team.”

Green credits Arrigale, a multiple winner of the South Philly Review’s Readers’ Choice Award for top high school/youth coach, for his increased confidence and composure, blessings that made the young man even more appealing to Calipari, who made two trips to South Philly to make his pitch for the five-star recruit. Their relationship figures to evolve even more as the Saints’ slate unfolds, with Arrigale thrilled to oversee the swan-song campaign for the player whom he dubbed “a tremendous shooter” and “a competitor” with stellar footwork and “a real will to win.”

Evan Daniels, a contributor for scout.com, which esteems Green as the 25th-ranked senior in the country, also commended the leader as “a really talented passer” and someone “who can run a team.” Such skills became known on a greater scale over the spring and summer when Green competed for the PSA Cardinals on Nike’s EYBL circuit, averaging 14.9 points, 9.8 assists, and 3.2 steals, the latter totals being the competition’s top tallies.

“That was another huge opportunity that I’m thankful for,” he said. “There are some really incredible competitors out there, so being able to test myself against them is going to make this year better as we look to bring more championships to Neumann-Goretti before I go to Kentucky.”

Because of the presence of Green and Cosby-Roundtree, along with the efforts of Arrigale’s other horses, one can expect for the Saints to have a memorable winter, with the Kentucky signee eager to take one game at a time. He holds the same stance with respect to his impending journey as a provider of joy for Rupp Arena attendees. The Wildcats have, since 2010, become pejoratively known as a one-and-done program, meaning fresh faces have given Calipari a year before bolting to the NBA. Green has not even contemplated the duration of his stay at Kentucky, saying there is no need to force something that is God’s will.

“Some people get way ahead of themselves,” he said. “I’m a Neumann-Goretti Saint today, and I’ll be one tomorrow. That’s my focus.” SPR

Contact Staff Writer Joseph Myers at jmyers@southphillyreview.com. Comment at southphillyreview.com/sports/features.

Quade Green will look to sustain Neumann-Goretti’s basketball dominance before he heads to the Bluegrass State.

Photo by Tina Garceau