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Quade Green out to prove himself in NBA G League

08/15/2022, 10:45am EDT
By Rich Flanagan

Rich Flanagan (@richflanagan33)

When emcee, GheeFunny echoed through the microphone at Tom Gola Arena, that the “Boogie Man” was coming, the entire audience slowly rose out of their seats because they knew something scary was about to happen. 

Not something horrific by any sense of the imagination but, in basketball terms, an isolation play that would put a stamp on the game. What resulted next was a nonchalant two dribbles into a smooth jumper from deep that sent the Philadelphia faithful into a frenzy.

GheeFunny put it best, “One, two, Quade’s coming for you…”

Quade Green takes the ball up the court during the Rumph Classic, Aug. 6. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL

Quade Green has been known as the Boogie Man for a long time, lulling opponents to sleep before drilling a long jumper in their face, blazing by them to finish at the rim or kicking to an open teammate for a shot. His scary skillset was on full display at the 17th annual Danny Rumph Classic and while he may not be known by his nickname outside of his city, he was happy to be home.

“I felt like old times,” Green said. “It reminded me of high school and gave me those high school vibes again. Everybody in the city comes out in the brotherly love way. That’s all we can ask for.”

Playing for Rex6 alongside fellow Neumann-Goretti alumni Antonio “Scoop” Jardine and Wali Hepburn, the 2021 Rumph Classic MVP, Green reminded so many of what made him a former McDonald’s All-American and Kentucky commit following a decorated high school career.

Green’s professional career is only beginning to take shape. In the meantime, he relished the opportunity to compete with two of his mentors in Jardine and Hepburn.

“It’s been beautiful playing with those guys.” Green said. “They taught me a lot when I was coming up and they’re still teaching me now. They’ve paved the way for guys like Rob Wright III and all those young guys. They taught me and are still doing it.”

Green is slated to begin his second season with the Grand Rapids Gold, the G-League affiliate of the Denver Nuggets after averaging 11.4 points, 2.4 rebounds and 5.6 assists while making 40 three-pointers in 31 games in year one. He scored 18 points in his debut versus the Westchester Knicks and was the Gold’s most productive player off the bench as evidenced by performances like a 15-point, 11-assist showing against the Motor City Cruise followed by a 23-point game in a win over the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.

He had similar success at the Rumph Classic, first starting the weekend off by scoring 25 points but it was his play on the final possession that showcased why the Boogie Man is a staple in Philadelphia basketball. Rex6 was trailing by two to eventual champion F.O.E. and Green brought the ball down the floor. As he attempted a potential game winner from behind the arc, he was fouled and went to the line for three free throws. F.O.E. players, like former Prep Charter and Kansas standouts Marcus and Markieff Morris, attempted to distract him and some in the crowd playfully tried to throw him off but Green calmy sank all three to help Rex6 escape with a 74-73 victory. Two days later, he scored 12 points, including two more clutch free throws with 7.7 seconds left, to lift Rex6 to a four-point win past 8EYE.

For Green, who has been compared to McDonald’s All-Americans from his own class and others who are now starring in the NBA, the edge and adrenaline he feels from battling against the best that Philadelphia has to offer is insurmountable.

“This right here, you ain’t going to beat it,” Green said. “This atmosphere presents the ability to play against the best in the city.”

That grit has been there since before he began his career under Carl Arrigale at Neumann-Goretti. Arrigale recalls when Green and his mother first visited the school together during an open house for all incoming freshmen. That Saints team, consisting of Philadelphia Catholic League all-time leading scorer Ja’Quan Newton, Troy Harper and Lamarr “Fresh” Kimble, happened to be having an open gym at the same time. Green walked into the gym and Arrigale remembers vividly what transpired next.

“His mom says, ‘Come on, let’s go see the school’ and he says, ‘Coach, I’ve seen the school before. Mom, you go see the school. I’m getting dressed and playing with the guys,’” Arrigale said. “He threw his sneakers on, and we threw him into one of the pickup games. He starts giving it to some of our seasoned guys and he’s playing his tail off. We’re all looking at each other like holy smokes, this kid has it.”

While Arrigale wasn’t at the Rumph Classic, he has spoken to Green on several occasions in recent years through his journey in the G-League, which began with the Maine Celtics upon going undrafted in 2021. Arrigale had the opportunity to see Green practice with the Neumann-Goretti alumni team as it was attempting to make the field of The Basketball Tournament (TBT) the past two years. 

“He has a lot of basketball left to play,” Arrigale said. “Skill-wise and competitive-wise, it’s all still there and you can see it.”

Stories like the pick-up game at NG are part of why Green’s career has been well documented and rightfully so. He had 15 points off the bench in his first playoff game against West Catholic and was a key contributor on the 2014 Philadelphia Catholic League and PIAA Class 3A title team as a freshman. As a sophomore, “his profile got bigger, and he had a bigger target on his back, but his career speaks for itself. 

“His sophomore year was when he put the world on notice that he was going to be something special,” as Arrigale said. 

That season culminated in a second straight state title and his career would close with four, a feat few can boast. The two-time Pa. All-State 3A Player of the Year averaged 20.6 points and 8.0 assists per game as a senior and finished his career with 1,853 points, which is second all-time at Neumann-Goretti and third all-time in Philadelphia Catholic League history.

He won a gold medal with Team USA at the 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship playing with 2017 No. 1 overall selection Markelle Fultz, Mo Bamba, Kevin Huerter, Michael Porter Jr., Trae Young and Jarrett Allen

He helped the PSA Cardinals advance to the Peach Jam final that same summer with Westtown alums Bamba and Brandon Randolph by scoring 15 of his 21 points in the second half of the semifinal matchup against Team Penny. Young, Porter and Mokan Elite ultimately won the title, though. He posted nine points and seven assists in the McDonald’s All-American game with Lonnie Walker IV and Collin Sexton going against Deandre Ayton and Jaren Jackson Jr.

He was part of a 2017 class at Kentucky that included Kevin Knox, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PJ Washington, Hamidou Diallo, Jarred Vanderbilt, and Nick Richards, all of whom were selected in the NBA Draft between 2018 and 2020. After avg. 9.3 ppg in 34 games (13 starts) and helping the Wildcats reach the Sweet 16 as a freshman, he entered the NCAA transfer portal following nine games during his sophomore season. 

Upon enrolling at Washington, his junior season saw him team with Isaiah Stewart and Jaden McDaniels, both taken in the first round in 2020. He averaged 15.4 ppg during his final season with the Huskies and thus began the road through the G-League.

At only 24 years old, Green is still picking up tidbits from Jardine, Hepburn and former Neumann-Goretti players and countless others, like Grand Rapids teammates Trevon Duval and Kenneth Faried.

Yet, he has been able to pinpoint a vast difference from the playing style in college to that at the professional level. It’s a facet that he learned and developed early on in South Philadelphia.

“Spacing,” Green said. “College is nothing but compact while the NBA is all about spacing and opportunity.”

He’s hoping that will aid him further in his development but there are still other parts of his game that need to be perfected. The scoring ability, ball-handling, confidence, and grittiness have never ceased but at 6-foot, 170 lbs., there is plenty of room to grow, according to Arrigale.

“When I see him playing now, I see a kid playing at a high level, but his body is not NBA ready right now,” Arrigale said. “He agreed with me and said he was going to start putting on some good weight. I don’t think his body could hold up right now, but he was able to handle the G-League season without much trouble.”

Green was once the most revered high school player in the area, and he wants to live up to that billing as he enters year two in the G-League. He has tunnel vision on one goal and his gaze on it is a stern one, much like the one he gives defenders before rising up for a dagger jump shot.

“I hope to make it into the NBA and get a two-way contract,” Green said. “I will do what I need to do to get to where I need to be.”

While his future is unclear, what is clear is that the Boogie Man is coming for what he has been working for his entire life and that should scare all opposing defenders in his path.

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