Quade Green is coming, and he isn't alone.
When basketball season begins this week, not only will the senior for Neumann-Goretti headline a team trying to recapture Catholic League glory, but Green also knows he will be followed by expectations.
"This is what I asked for, really," Green said. "I have to go through it all whether it's bad or good, ups or downs. I'm just having fun with it, really."
Less fun, Green said, are the expectations that come with attention and accolades.
Green is a 6-foot-1, 185-pound point guard who recently committed to Kentucky, currently the No. 1-ranked team in college basketball. Saints senior Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree is a 6-foot-9 forward/center who committed to defending NCAA champion Villanova, which is expected to move up to No. 1 on Monday.
Add to the mix that the Saints have won six consecutive PCL crowns but have fallen short twice to Roman Catholic in the last two championship games at the Palestra.
In fact, the last time N-G won a title, it was led by current University of Miami junior guard Ja'Quan Newton, the PCL's all-time leading scorer overall (1,972 points) and in the playoffs (211) who was also a starter on four PCL title teams and won 11 of a possible 12 high school championships (four PCL, four District 12, and three PIAA titles). Newton is also someone Green has always used as motivation.
"If I consider myself the best of the best, then I have to be better than the best," Green said. "That's JaQuan right now. That's it. That's motivated me since I was in eighth grade."
Then what is the key to championship success this season?
"Got to be humble and hungry," Green said. "That's it. And put in the work, because we haven't won in two years. After JaQuan left, we haven't won ever since."
The result has been an indefatigable willingness to work on his game.
"He's ruined a few practices this year being [so] focused," said N-G coach Carl Arrigale. "[Sometimes] I don't know if we're good, I don't know if we're bad because he just destroyed everybody that was in his way. What am I supposed to tell him? Take it easy? I want him to play that way on a regular basis."
Green's offensive game has no obvious deficiencies. He is an elite shooter and an efficient scorer who can make plays off the dribble, score in the midrange and finish around the basket.
As a sophomore he made a game-winning three-pointer against Archbishop Carroll in a highly-anticipated regular-season matchup in front of a packed, hostile crowd on the road. Later that same season, Green hit a game-winning triple in the Class 3A District 12 championship game against Imhotep at Hagan Arena.
As a junior, Green finished the PCL season fourth in scoring at 17.2 points per game in 13 league contests. In 31 overall games last year, Green averaged 18.7 points, sixth-best among Public League, Catholic League and Inter-Ac competitors.
In July, Green won a gold medal playing on the 2016 FIBA Americas U18 squad that beat Canada, 99-84, in Valdivia, Chile. He played AAU basketball on the New York-based PSA Cardinals, headlined by 6-foot-11 senior Westtown standout Mohamed Bamba, the No. 4-ranked recruit in the nation, according to ESPN.
The ups Green mentioned are the attention that comes when things go well.
"The downs are all the expectations I'm supposed to have," Green said. "If you're not doing [well] in a game everybody's talking bad about you like, 'He's really going to Kentucky? He's doing this, he's doing that?' "
Arrigale said he will use that as motivation.
"You want to carry that label around and walk around with that Kentucky hat, you better bring it every day because this basketball world is full of haters as much as supporters," Arrigale said. "There's gonna be half the people wanting to say, 'Man, that kid's going to be really good and he'll be great at Kentucky and there will be a faction saying, 'No way, he can't do it.' That's the way it goes."
"From that standpoint," Arrigale added, "I think he'll be OK because he has a big heart and he's really competitive."