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Kentucky needs Immanuel Quickley’s growing contributions

While a few Wildcat players may have regressed in the past few games, Immanuel Quickley is making moves in the right direction. After a relatively quiet few months for the guard, Quickley has started to find his role on the team: shooting. And John Calipari has noticed.

“Immanuel made shots,” Coach Cal said after the game. “Those were big shots for us. Big shots.”

One of those “big shots” came late in the second half of Saturday’s matchup against Vandy, when Quickley’s successful three-point bucket moved the Cats’ advantage up to five points (69-64). He’s bumped his scoring average up to 7.3 points per game, largely thanks to three consecutive performances, each one a bit stronger than the last: 8 points against Alabama, 10 points against Texas A&M and 12 points against Vanderbilt. Against the Commodores, Quickley finished 3-7 from the three-point line. His 12 points made him the third-highest scorer of the night, behind Keldon Johnson and Ashton Hagans (who each finished with 15 points).

Although the Wildcats largely struggled on the offensive end of the ball against Vanderbilt, Quickley showed flashes of, well, flash. That’s what Kentucky needs – a player who can come in and create moments of momentum, specifically in close games. As a strong point guard, Ashton Hagans knows that, and he understands Quickley can be “that guy,” especially now.

Knowing that Quade [Green] left, we knew we were going to need somebody to step up in a scoring role because he was knocking down big-time shots,” Hagans said. “That’s [Quickley’s] game. He’s great at the one, he can play the two spot. He’s just playing like he was playing in high school, just playing his role. Now he’s at the [two-spot], he’s wide open and knocking down big-time shots.”

Keldon Johnson agrees: Quickley’s growing contributions “help a lot.”

“He works his butt off at everything,” Johnson said. “So just to see him hitting shots, to see them falling, is great.”

But for Quickley himself, he’s just trying to play his game. When asked if he’s getting more comfortable shooting, he replied, “absolutely.” Calipari has compared Quickley to some former Cats with reputations of being gym rats (think: Brandon Knight, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander), and we’re starting to see why.

Credit to Jesus Christ,” Quickley said after the Vanderbilt win. “And I’m putting in the extra hours, staying in the gym before class and late at night after practice.”

And while it looks like that extra time in the gym is starting to pay off, Quickley will have to continue making strides and working to increase his playing time in order to play the role the Cats desperately need him to play: the role of a shooter.


Article written by Maggie Davis

I love sports, podcasts, long walks on the beach and Twitter (@MaggieDavisKSR)

15 Comments for Kentucky needs Immanuel Quickley’s growing contributions

  1. Aar
    3:38 pm January 13, 2019 Permalink

    My post game comment that nominates Quickley for sixth man is lost in moderation for some reason.

  2. jaws2
    3:45 pm January 13, 2019 Permalink

    I told my wife 2 weeks ago that if Quickley began to play with more confidence and started to ‘get it’ as a Freshman, he’d be a great contributor to this team. I really hope he’s on his way now because IMO this kid has a pretty high ceiling. He could be a big difference maker down the stretch.

  3. Booher
    4:14 pm January 13, 2019 Permalink

    Time for him to start over hero and yes I am a white guy

  4. SGD
    5:15 pm January 13, 2019 Permalink

    Good to see him come around, going to need him. Especially when the great magician (PJ) keeps performing his disappearing act. PJ’s game is better suited for Vegas.

  5. KYjellyRoll
    6:57 pm January 13, 2019 Permalink

    P.j has a bad habit of playing down to competition. He will be a difference maker come big games and tourney time

    • SGD
      7:07 pm January 13, 2019 Permalink

      I doubt it. Mailing it in most of the season is exactly why he will be in the G league. He is not comfortable trying to play a stretch 4 and he wants to be the man and becomes disinterested when he is not.

    • michaelb
      7:59 pm January 13, 2019 Permalink

      I hate pjs attitude , it’s shit . I knew he was like that a while back . I follow him on his social media accounts & he’s a doosh bag half the time .

  6. michaelb
    7:57 pm January 13, 2019 Permalink

    That’s the first time in like years that I’ve seen one of our players credit the savior . Rare thing these days . How does pj average 15 if he scores 8 pts, 5pts and 6 pts every game ? Lol

    • KYjellyRoll
      8:11 am January 14, 2019 Permalink

      His average has dropped to 12

    • Wade
      9:00 am January 14, 2019 Permalink

      You need to change your name on here. I can’t take anything you say serious!

  7. michaelb
    8:02 pm January 13, 2019 Permalink

    Pj has a bad attitude , he’s mean to his fans too. He never gives back or spend time with less fortunate kids. Right now his sister is a better basketball player than he is . I know he can turn it on – hope for everyone included he does at some point

    • bigblue2284
      8:19 pm January 13, 2019 Permalink

      Why does he have fans? I can’t wait for him to leave town, he’s a poor mans T Jones. He a minimum effort guy who thinks he is a better player than he is.

  8. catsarerunnin
    9:35 pm January 13, 2019 Permalink

    Hmmm “T Jones” went to 2 FFs and won a National Championship so that’s pretty good company.