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Next Man Up: Getting to know Immanuel Quickley

I don’t know what John Calipari and the Kentucky basketball program will be getting in Immanuel Quickley next season. Quickley has all the potential and the accolades of Calipari’s other star point guards before him, but if you want me to tell you how good he will be, I simply cannot do that. Your guess is as good as mine, although I expect we’ll all be very pleased when he suits up for the Cats next fall.

I can, however, tell you what kind of person John Calipari and the Kentucky basketball program will be getting next season. After traveling all the way to Maryland to meet Quickley and watch him play, I learned more about him off the court than I did on it.

So let’s throw out the basketball talk — which was originally the entire purpose of this piece when I hopped on a flight to Baltimore — and let’s get to what I saw in my brief time around Quickley at the John Carroll School.

Next year Kentucky will be getting a 6-3 point guard who never misses church on Sunday. For an 18-year-old kid already balancing the workload of his senior year of high school and a rigorous basketball schedule, Quickley is at Highway Holiness every Sunday. He has to be there, because, if he’s not, who will play the drums during the service?


Quickley’s musical talents don’t stop with the drumsticks; he also played saxophone for the school marching band before devoting all of his free time to basketball. He used to play the piano too.

When Quickley suits up for Kentucky next season, he’ll also be bringing a huge support system with him. I knew he had a big fan club when I walked into the game in front of his grandparents, Marion and Ellen Hamilton, who were excited to show off their t-shirts.

Marion Hamilton filmed every second of the game on his iPad from the top row of the bleachers. Ellen sat a few rows down from him, leading the cheers from centercourt.

But the Hamiltons weren’t the only two fans with their own custom t-shirts in the John Carroll gymnasium, and they weren’t the loudest fans, either. That honor goes to Quickley’s aunt, Demetria, who split her time between sitting in the family section and standing courtside in front of the student section, holding a cardboard cut-out. She was Quickley’s most recognizable cheerleader, and her game day shirt cannot be topped.

I spoke to Demetria after the game and she couldn’t have been nicer. The same can be said of his grandparents, who also went out of their way to talk to a complete stranger from Kentucky after the game. They may be new to Big Blue Nation, but I don’t know if you’ll find a group of people more excited about the Wildcats next fall.

Then there is Mama Quickley, Nitrease.

Nitrease Quickley is a school teacher and she too couldn’t have been nicer in our brief meeting after her son’s game. We spoke a little about how excited she is for her many trips to Lexington next season to watch Immanuel play in Rupp Arena; then she turned and introduced me to yet another group of proud friends and relatives, who are also eager to be new members of the BBN.

All of these people I speak of, I assume, are why Immanuel Quickley came across as such a nice, well-rounded, church-going 18-year-old high school senior, and not too full of himself, like some others his age with his hype and expectations — which is why I think Cal is getting another good kid to represent our favorite basketball program.

As for the actual game, which is why I was there, Quickley struggled to hit shots, but was an unselfish leader on the court. Unfortunately, his unselfishness was not always rewarded with a made basket; otherwise he would’ve had about 20 assists in the 84-59 win over the outmatched Archbishop Spalding of Severn, Md.

But it was clear he is very vocal on the floor and has a knack for finding his teammates, willingly.

The leadership and passing were refreshing to see as Coach Cal struggles to get his current team to communicate and share the ball back in Lexington, although I wish Quickley had shot the ball a little better this particular night. After all, he considers shooting the best part of his game. He told me, “My biggest strength right now is my shooting. It came a long way. I wasn’t always a shooter. I got in the lane a lot, but I think to round out my full game, shooting has been a big part of it.”

He also told me he began to see the changes in his game once he suited up for the local AAU program, Team BBC, and committed himself to improving as he moved into a more prominent role on his high school team.

“I started separating myself around my sophomore year, especially playing with Team BBC,” he said. “I got in the gym a lot that year and started working on my game. Big colleges starting coming after me soon after that.”

Kentucky was on him early, and Calipari made him the first point guard in the 2018 class to have a scholarship offer from UK, when he offered him in October of his junior year. Once he got to know Calipari and the UK staff, it didn’t take a lot of convincing for Cal to land the signature.

“He really didn’t have to convince me,” said Quickley. “I kind of knew what I wanted to do, and what I want to do is be a pro. He told me: if you stay on the right track and work hard and stay disciplined, it’s not going to be easy, but keeping working hard and you can get there.”

Quickley prides himself on his hard work; it was the first thing out of his mouth when I asked him to describe his game. His full evaluation of his game was, “I’m somebody who is going to work hard from Day 1, a leader, somebody that can get everybody involved, but also scoring when I need to and play defense. Just play hard every possession.”

If he brings all of that to Kentucky next fall, Cal will have another good point guard on the roster.

And there will be a lot of good people coming with him… in screen-printed t-shirts, with iPads in hand.

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

59 Comments for Next Man Up: Getting to know Immanuel Quickley

  1. 502CodeRed
    8:13 pm February 15, 2018 Permalink

    Immanuel Quickley jump to da league. Do you think he will even know what New Circle Road or Keeneland is?

    • 4everUKblue
      4:48 am February 16, 2018 Permalink

      Bet he doesn’t know what an FBI investigation is but you do. Oh and hookers, pretty sure you know what hookers do for UofLittleBrothel.

    • Duff86
      9:51 am February 16, 2018 Permalink

      Just beat Duke in the Champions Classic next year.

    • Eazy
      6:01 pm February 16, 2018 Permalink

      Why are you still here?! We own the one trick pony Cards all around. UK has finished ahead of UL in the directors cup 4 of the last 5 years and that was before Louisville was a total dumpster fire. UK is about to blow by UL in baseball with the new stadium in Lex. Louisville had a decent run because they had the new park but that’s over now. And you guys always choked in Omaha anyway. UK will win it all soon. Oh, and UK ranks 40 spots ahead of UL in academics too. We own you all around. Even the one sport UL actually won a title in isn’t even top 10 all time.

    • Eazy
      6:19 pm February 16, 2018 Permalink

      UK has a winning record vs UL in 20 out of 24 sports and the trend is moving in favor of UK now that UL is in rapid decline. Cheating helped UL but they are done now. All that for just 1 National Title in 20 years under Jurich. Pretty sad actually.

    • dballrb
      12:52 pm February 17, 2018 Permalink

      Go crawl back under that POS crack shack down by the river..

  2. Luether
    8:15 pm February 15, 2018 Permalink

    He sounds like a nice young man but might rather have someone at the guard position who can shoot…

  3. bluecrowe
    8:21 pm February 15, 2018 Permalink

    Great write up. Sounds like a great young man and wonderful family. We could definitely use someone who is an unselfish leader next year. He will work on his shooting. Welcome to Big Blue Nation!

    • syrin23
      9:22 pm February 15, 2018 Permalink

      Yeah, I like him already.

  4. Tony the Liger
    8:50 pm February 15, 2018 Permalink

    LOL @ BBC.

  5. BradCalthegoat
    8:52 pm February 15, 2018 Permalink

    Play Brad!

  6. shelby
    8:57 pm February 15, 2018 Permalink

    With IQ at the point, herro and johnson by his side, we will have GREAT shooters for him to pass to. Plus quade, gabriel, and baker who are also very good shooters.

    • BBNstrive49
      9:00 pm February 15, 2018 Permalink

      That’s great in all but who can stay in front of anyone on defense…… one you just listed

    • syrin23
      9:23 pm February 15, 2018 Permalink

      You don’t know that at all. In fact, it is stupid to assume that the most elite athletes in their class can’t stay in front of anyone. They might have been taught fundamental defense, but virtually no high schoolers are. Stupid thing to say.

    • BBNstrive49
      9:32 pm February 15, 2018 Permalink

      If you think herro can play D…….you’re a idiot.

    • BBNDan7
      10:54 am February 16, 2018 Permalink

      He’s not even on campus yet….

    • syrin23
      10:42 pm February 15, 2018 Permalink

      If you think Quade Green or Diallo can, you’re an idiot. He can shoot. If you don’t think he can learn, you’re an ifiot, so pretty much every scenario, you’re an idiot. And you have soul cancer.

    • BBNstrive49
      12:35 am February 16, 2018 Permalink

      No I don’t think any of them can play D. Yeah cause he can shoot he can play d. May I remind of you Wiltjer lol.

  7. Bull Filmer
    9:27 pm February 15, 2018 Permalink

    Really liked that code turd and blew-thur respond to this……Jealous bitches.

    • Eazy
      6:04 pm February 16, 2018 Permalink

      Haha, yep. They are just jealous because UK owns them in all around sports now. Can’t say UK is a one trick pony when we just finished in the top 10 directors cup. Louisville has never been in the top 25 but I’m sure their fans are too ignorant to realize that.

  8. KYJelly
    10:46 pm February 15, 2018 Permalink

    This kid seems wise beyond his years, that usually translates well to being a leader on e court and while his shot does need work, it’s not horrible, and his basketball IQ looks really good, which as we’ve found out this year is EXTREMELY important

  9. BradCalthegoat
    11:32 pm February 15, 2018 Permalink

    Does it even matter? We still won’t win the National Championship! This kid will come in and be here 6 months and be a lottery pick. Deja Vu every year

    • Duuuuuude
      11:59 pm February 15, 2018 Permalink

      Don’t worry…..we get Quade back.

    • BradCalthegoat
      12:01 am February 16, 2018 Permalink

      And? What’s that mean?

    • Eazy
      6:06 pm February 16, 2018 Permalink

      UK just won a title in 2012. Most programs have never won a title and we have 8. Hardly something to complain about. And a program like Kansas only has 3.

    • BBNstrive49
      12:50 am February 16, 2018 Permalink

      I hope he’s just going to classes and not playing next year then.

    • BigBlueNationDude
      2:39 am February 16, 2018 Permalink

      Good points

    • RealCatsFan
      9:19 am February 16, 2018 Permalink

      To all the whiners that can find nothing to do but bitch about UK having an off year and not winning the championship every year: please get a life. Go outside, find someone who needs help, whatever that may be. Help someone less fortunate! It will make you feel better about yourself. Sitting behind a phone or a computer and obsessing about UK basketball is NOT going to make you happy in life. Enjoy it when we win, and when we don’t, find something to do to take your mind off of it. Otherwise your life, and the lives of those around you, are going to be miserable.

    • BBNstrive49
      1:10 pm February 16, 2018 Permalink

      Good point Dr.Phil

  10. Lip Man 1
    12:49 am February 16, 2018 Permalink

    Sounds like a good kid. Am concerned about this though, “As for the actual game, which is why I was there, Quickley struggled to hit shots.”

    He’ll fit right in then with “the gang that couldn’t shoot straight…”

    • TonyMontana
      7:35 am February 16, 2018 Permalink

      He just happened to struggle to hit shots in the one game that Drew attended. Just go look at his videos or check his stats or look at his ranking on any recruiting service. He obviously can hit shots.

  11. BigBlueNationDude
    2:38 am February 16, 2018 Permalink

    Can he shoot? I cant take another non shooting guard

    • 4everUKblue
      4:51 am February 16, 2018 Permalink

      Have you ever even held a basketball in your hands BBNDude or are you too busy with your joystick?

    • BigBlueNationDude
      12:44 pm February 16, 2018 Permalink

      Does it matter what Ive done and have playing basketball? I freely admit I suck. Your argument is as bad as our team this year

  12. joseph_daniel
    6:32 am February 16, 2018 Permalink

    Praise God, I’m thrilled to see this young man suit up for the Cats. It’s never widely discussed, but from an outside perspective, it does seem that Cal aims for the Christians in recruiting. When he is able to have leadership on the team that knows Jesus, those teams are beloved and clutch. I wonder if that is what is missing from this team… Not youth, but boldness at the end of games. I still believe it will come together though. Who knows, maybe we finally get a bracket to fall apart for us this year?! Lord knows we are due for that.

    • RealCatsFan
      9:21 am February 16, 2018 Permalink

      I doubt if being Christian is a prerequisite for Cal, even though he is a devout Catholic. He does place a priority on them being of high character with good families around them, and that often goes hand in hand with being Christian, but not always.

  13. Shagaris Sock Puppet
    8:04 am February 16, 2018 Permalink

    I think you’re right! You know all these kids on this years team and im sure they all sin every day so much that this is their payback, a terrible season! We should all pray for them to win and I bet it will work. I am now for certain, that all the tweaks were all prayers that were answered from the good lord to make UK basketball great again, using uncle Donald’s words right from his mouth.. Makes perfect sense!

  14. CPACAT
    8:54 am February 16, 2018 Permalink

    Sounds like we may have to get to know Immanuel really fast….

  15. callitlikeiseeit
    8:57 am February 16, 2018 Permalink

    Diallo is the worst player Cal has brought to KY.

    • henderblue
      9:58 am February 16, 2018 Permalink

      And you’re in the category of worst fans, with comments like that.

    • Booby Petrino
      9:59 am February 16, 2018 Permalink

      yeah he should play Johnny David instead of him. Or Dillon Pulliam. They are probably much better, but since Cal can’t coach, he doesn’t even know it! Will we even win a game next year? Doubt it. i see us going 0-fer next year. Fire Cal, bring back Billy Clyde! Or steal Steve Kerr, I’m sure he’d come here!

    • BigBlueNationDude
      12:45 pm February 16, 2018 Permalink

      This is the 3rd season in a row with a Briscoe/hami type player. For the love of god please cal recruit guards who can actually shoot.

    • callitlikeiseeit
      10:57 pm February 16, 2018 Permalink

      Y’all just keep lying to yourselves . Lol.. Such good fans

  16. Sentient Third Eye
    9:05 am February 16, 2018 Permalink

    Reminds me of Fox in that he is not the highest-ranked PG in the class, but he is probably the best.

    • RealCatsFan
      9:23 am February 16, 2018 Permalink

      Quickley also reminds me of Brandon Knight – another high character young man with amazing parents.

  17. Biglaw Dawgin'
    11:29 am February 16, 2018 Permalink

    Awesome article. And he seems like an awesome kid. On a side note, how does an AAU team get away with being named “Team BBC?” LMAO. That’s classic. I can’t even google his AAU stats without hitting a firewall.

  18. bbnZach
    2:17 pm February 16, 2018 Permalink

    Hey haters, IQ was K’s priority at PG in the class. Who got him again?

  19. callitlikeiseeit
    10:54 pm February 16, 2018 Permalink

    Just hope he’s better than that bum Diallo

  20. dballrb
    12:57 pm February 17, 2018 Permalink

    Sounds like a Brandon Knight 2.0…I’ll take that every day of the week,twice on Sunday.

  21. dballrb
    1:02 pm February 17, 2018 Permalink

    Herro plays with a attitude. Gotta love his confidence. When we need a 3 or keep the D honest..Herro fits the bill…Mark it down..