By LARRY VAUGHT
Sporting News columnist Mike DeCoucy is one of those who thought Quade Green’s 3-point shooting would be an invaluable asset for Kentucky this season.
He noted before the season started that UK struggled to consistently make 3-point shots last season and had to remedy that flaw this year. DeCourcy felt Green could help do that and in Kentucky’s first nine games he shot a higher percentage (42.3) than any other UK guard.
Yet because his playing time dropped dramatically the last two games and it seems clear that freshmen point guards Immanuel Quickley and Ashton Hagans are clearly ahead of him this year, he opted to transfer immediately and left the team this week. It was not a move DeCourcy — an opponent of midseason transfers — liked. He calls a transfer now that will enable Green to play the second semester next season at his new school a “complete waste” for Green or any player.
“I am disappointed for Quade for leaving now. There’s nothing to be gained by leaving now. Coaches out there —and shame on them — who are selling players to come here now and you will not have to miss the full season. But basically the player is giving up a lot of games. Players who do that nonsense lose a lot of games in their careers.”
DeCourcy calls it a “con” to think transferring at midseason is good and noted that over a four-year career a midseason transfer could play as many as 20 fewer games than a player who transferred at the end of the season.
“Quade has just signed up for what is a terrible deal for him by transferring,” DeCourcy said. “I can understand his frustration. It’s not quite working for him right now at Kentucky. There are two talented players ahead of him and he is not playing as well as them. He should have finished the year and then transferred.”
DeCourcy isn’t ready to concede that Green could not have helped the Cats this year if he could duplicate the way he played last year.
“But I have not seen the same level of confidence or play from him this year,” DeCourcy said. “Making 11 3-point shots — or just over one a game — is not going to change a team. I don’t see him playing at an elite level. He is struggling with his comfort zone. He averaged 2.5 turnovers per game and was just playing about 17 minutes a game. That’s not doing it. He’s not electric enough to make those mistakes and play.
“I hope he gets better. I just think he did not give it enough time to get better at Kentucky. I believe it would have been a lot better for him to fight through his frustration, help his team win and then if at the end of the year he saw more guys coming over the horizon, go (transfer) then.”
Freshman Tyler Herro, perceived to be UK’s best shooter, has just 12 3-pointers on 44 tries — 18 more 3-pointers than Green took in nine games. That’s only a 27 percent mark from Herro. DeCourcy says Herro has to “start” making shots or Kentucky is “not winning big games” this season.
“He is a guy that should make shots. I don’t know if his confidence is dented or broken. If it is, then it becomes a struggle make shots,” DeCourcy said. “Saturday (in the loss to Seton Hall) all the shots he missed were short. He took a few shots that were too difficult. But if he can start making shots, then Keldon (Johnson) can make more. Part of the reason Keldon’s numbers are down is because teams are guarding him harder because no one can make shots. Tyler has to be that guy and if he is, Kentucky will be fine. If not, then I am not sure what John does.”