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The Athletic documents Immanuel Quickley’s religious journey and seeking his father’s approval through basketball

Kentucky guard Immanuel Quickley and the strong faith he carries with him on a day-to-day basis is nothing new to the Big Blue Nation. Whether it be on social media, interviews, or on the floor, the sophomore guard out of Havre de Grace, MD wears his love for God on his sleeve, never afraid to let you know about it.

Back on Dec. 16, KSR’s own Tyler Thompson released a feature on the 6-foot-3 sophomore, highlighting the women in his life that have served as role models throughout his spiritual and basketball journey: his mother, Nitrease Quickley, his grandmother, Ellen Hamilton, his sister, Shiloah Quickley, and his aunt, Demetria Caldwell.

In the feature (which you can find here), the “whooping women behind Immanuel Quickley” document the Kentucky basketball star’s life and how they go out of their way to be included in every way possible. The family members dive into their countless hours on the road to see Quickley play basketball, along with the endless support they have given him during his walk with God.

And now today, Kyle Tucker of The Athletic shared the other side of the story: Quickley’s father, Marcellous Quickley, and his individual walk with the sophomore guard in his faith, and most recently, basketball.

Against Louisville back on Dec. 28, Quickley sank four free throws at the end of regulation and in overtime to help seal the victory over the in-state rival.

While the victory was an obvious cause for celebration on the surface level, Tucker revealed that the biggest reward for Quickley “awaited him in the locker room” in the form of a video of his father watching the game’s final seconds, including the big free throw makes.

When he sank those decisive free throws, his father had been on the phone with his grandfather, describing the action in jubilant wonder. “Immanuel about to ice ‘em here!” Marcellous Quickley yelped. “He’s about to take ‘em home! Easy cake! Easy cake!”

“I always knew he loved me as a person,” Quickley says of his father. “But I will say, that was one of the cooler moments of my life, just seeing him proud of me on the basketball level. We weren’t always at this place. But for him to understand that I can be an upright Christian and still play basketball at the same time is really big.”

While Quickley’s other family members are in attendance for every one of his games, his father has actually never seen his son play basketball in person.

According to Tucker, Marcellous Quickley has long seen basketball as a “distraction” from faith and has not completely supported the former five-star prospect and current Wildcat chasing his NBA dreams.

You see, hard as it may be to believe, Marcellous Quickley has never seen his son play basketball in person. Marcellous only recently began watching his son’s games on TV. A devout member of the Pentecostal church, he has long viewed basketball as a road to perdition — a foolish distraction from the path to salvation at best, a self-edifying gateway to hell at worst.

Imagine the courage it must take as a teenager to choose the very thing your father despises, and the joy that must come from finally proving to him that your endeavor is not so bad after all. The courage it must take to resist all of the temptations your father feared and the joy that must result in finally being able to celebrate your triumphs, both athletic and spiritual, with the man whose approval means everything.

“All his dad wants is to know he’s going to do the right thing,” says Nitrease Quickley, Immanuel’s mother, “and all Immanuel wants is to know his dad is proud of him. You know, that’s all any kid wants.”

In the rest of the piece, Tucker goes on to highlight Marcellous’ history of avoiding Quickley’s time as a high school basketball star, the recruiting process, and his time in Lexington, going as far as to say Quickley’s father has “never even been to Lexington for a visit.” Slowly but surely, though, basketball has grown on Marcellous, with Quickley’s father “secretly” watching games last season with “the pride you’d expect [beginning] to bubble up.

From there, Tucker attends church with Quickley and tells the story of his walk with God, his thoughts on his family’s support on both ends of the spectrum, and how difficult last season was for him as a player and as a person, among other topics.

For the rest, though, you’ll need to buy a subscription and read the piece in its entirety right here: The Athletic.

Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

4 Comments for The Athletic documents Immanuel Quickley’s religious journey and seeking his father’s approval through basketball



  1. Wade
    12:24 pm January 31, 2020 Permalink

    That’s a heck of a story and I can’t say enough great things about quickley. That must be tough but that young man is grounded and has a good head on his shoulders. Mom and dad should be super proud. I’m proud he’s a wildcat and no matter what his future will be bright .



  2. UKLugo
    12:46 pm January 31, 2020 Permalink

    I can see IQ being a preacher one day when he grows up.



  3. Shagaris Sock Puppet
    1:56 pm January 31, 2020 Permalink

    In life i’ve seen some terrible outcomes from families that try and force their will on a kid. Hiding the world from them, exposing to them only what you want them to see and be. Its not always pretty sight when they get out to the world unguarded, so props to Immanuel for still being so understanding of that and also still perusing his dream. I have two daughters and anything we can bond and connect together through, im all for doing that and seeing them smile and get lost in the moment. There is darkness in the world no doubt, but you have to view the positives and his platform playing basketball is where he can teach the youth about the good in the world. Tomorrow is never promised, so make the most of what lies ahead of you today! If that’s coming to make your sons day by watching his game in person, what better time to take advantage of that than now? Immanuel plays with such passion and energy, its beautiful to watch him on Tv, but in person im sure it would be magical for his father!



  4. RealCatsFan
    2:43 pm January 31, 2020 Permalink

    Some might criticize his father for not attending his games and disapproving of his basketball dreams, but in an age when a lot of these kids grow up without their fathers being present in their world, it is refreshing to see that his dad cares deeply about him and wants him to have faith in God. No matter where his journey takes him, having this will ensure that he lives his life as a good human being.