We are now nearly six weeks removed from a stunning Thursday afternoon, when both the SEC and NCAA Tournament’s were cancelled. Yet even with over a month since the end of the season, it doesn’t make a March without basketball any easier to swallow.
And it’s not just true for fans, but the players who lived through it too.
On Thursday, SEC Player of the Year Immanuel Quickley joined KSR’s “Aaron Torres Podcast” for a lengthy discussion on his time in Lexington. The guys discussed his maturation from freshman to sophomore year, his favorite moments of being a Wildcat, and what he’ll remember most about being part of this 2019-2020 team.
But among the most interesting parts of the interview was when Quickley discussed his final few hours in a Kentucky uniform. How the players – much like fans – arrived in Nashville ready for the SEC Tournament, only to find out that first they’d play with no fans, and then finally, not at all. Here is how Quickley remembers it all unfolding:
“There was a day where everything was normal,” Quickley said on the show, detailing one of the most unforgettable weeks of his career. “Then we went to next day where they were going to play without fans, and then we traveled and the next day they said we might not be playing the games that night, and then we got to the shoot around and we were told that we weren’t going to be playing at all. And everybody’s hearts were kind of broken.”
“When we got back we immediately played pick-up, we just loved playing with each other. That’s another thing we had, we liked playing with each other, we liked hooping with each other so we played pick-up as soon as we got back. A couple guys cried in the locker room knowing it was going to be our last moment together.”
A few weeks ago John Calipari detailed the famous “pick-up” story, how – after returning to Lexington – the whole team played pick-up, realizing it was the last time they would all be together. Still, hearing Quickley re-tell the story in such vivd detail, doesn’t make it any easier, even a month later.
From there, Quickley discussed his favorite moments as a Wildcat, and what winning the SEC Player of the Year meant to him. He also discussed what he’ll remember most about this 2019-2020 Kentucky team – and despite his individual awards, it isn’t what you might think.
“Obviously everyone thinks it’s about basketball, but I’ll just think back to how funny everyone was,” he said. “This was one of the funniest teams I’ve ever been on, whether we went out to dinner, whether it was just practice, a lot of personalities on this team. Everybody was different, which kind of made us unique. This group was just so fun to be around, road games, home games, all that stuff. I’m going to really miss this team off the floor, on the floor.”
It was an eventful two years for Quickley in Lexington, as he leaves as one of the great success stories of the John Calipari era at Kentucky.
To listen to Immanuel Quickley’s entire interview on the Aaron Torres Podcast, click here.