Coach Cal got his guy, and he’s a good one.
Five-star point guard Immanuel Quickley committed to Kentucky tonight over Kansas and Miami, along with offers from Duke, UNC, Louisville, Virginia, Villanova, etc. All of the top programs in America wanted this kid, and for good reason.
Out of Bel Air, MD, Quickley is considered a top-ten prospect and the No. 2 guard in the nation.
But what does he bring to the table?
I had the opportunity to watch Quickley in person on several occasions, and each time he got better and better. His film shows all of the explosive dunks and impressive buckets, but watching just one of his games from start to finish is special.
Let’s break down what I saw from your newest Wildcat:
Quickley is extremely polished in the scoring department, with the ability to score on all three levels of the court.
He has a nasty jab-step to feel out his defenders, and then attacks after figuring out their weaknesses. He’s very methodical, resisting the temptation to put his head down and do it all himself like some of the other top scorers in the nation tend to do. He’ll pull up over someone in transition, throw down a nasty dunk, or toss a no-look pass to a teammate for the assist. No matter the situation, the ball gets in the hoop whenever Quickley is on the floor.
As a pure shooter, he gets hot in a hurry. He has range well beyond the three-point line, and knocks them down in an efficient manner. Quickley is the deadliest whenever the game is on the line or he’s going heads-up with top talent. At the Adidas Uprising this summer, he and Zion Williamson traded buckets back and forth, creating one of the craziest atmospheres I’ve ever seen in a high school/AAU setting.
Zion Williamson goes coast to coast, Immanuel Quickley responds with a three in the corner. pic.twitter.com/vuAiNH6SXn
– Jack Pilgrim (@JackPilgrimKSR) July 14, 2017
He tends to shoot himself out of cold streaks, however, which is something he’ll have to work on at the next level.
If that’s the one knack on his game, I’ll be just fine with it.
Everyone focuses on Quickley’s scoring ability, but his court vision is just as impressive.
The Maryland native’s ability to find teammates in the smallest spaces is absolutely ridiculous. He is always scanning the court and thinking two or three steps ahead of his defenders. If the scoring lane is closed or he gets double teamed, he hits the open teammate for a basket. Again, he’s extremely methodical in how he goes about his on-court buisiness and his basketball IQ is sensational.
I sat next to some of the Team BBC program managers and assistant coaches at the Adidas Uprising Gauntlet in Spartanburg, SC, and they all said the same thing: “He has more fun finding the open man on big assists than scoring any basket.”
Judging by this half-court lob he threw at the event, I tend to agree.
Williamson pulls up in Quickley’s face, drills it. Quickley immediately throws a lob from half court, crowd goes wild. pic.twitter.com/OauCoJxDAi
– Jack Pilgrim (@JackPilgrimKSR) July 14, 2017
His teammates missed several wide-open layups and shots when I watched him play in person, taking away would-be assists from the star guard. I don’t think he’ll have that problem at Kentucky.
Quickley is going to be an assist machine.
The keyword here is potential.
He’s aggressive in the passing lanes, looking to poke out loose balls or pounce on lazy/sloppy ball handling. He sometimes gets into foul trouble by being overly aggressive on-ball, but he has gotten a lot better in this area.
Quickley gets lost off-ball on occasion due to ball watching, leaving opponents open for easy buckets. When he slips up, he usually makes up for it on the offensive end and focuses on it throughout the rest of the game. He doesn’t like making the same mistake twice.
There’s still a lot of work to do on defense, but he projects as a solid defender at Kentucky. He certainly has the tools to make that happen.
At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be much to Quickley in this department. He weighs just 178 lbs., and has only added three pounds in the past year. At 6’3 with a 6’7 wingspan, however, he has the size to create separation from defenders, similar to Malik Monk this past year.
He’ll initiate contact and get to the free throw line, but that’s not where his bread is buttered. (He’ll knock them down, though.) He’s much better at finding open spaces in the defenses and creating shots.
Quickley is not the beefiest kid in the world, but he has the athleticism and length to make up for it.
As a player, Quickley has that “it” factor you look for in a Calipari point guard.
Whenever the ball is in his hands, you can be confident he can make something happen with it. His impact on the game is massive, whether he’s scoring, passing, or just being a leader on the court.
In fact, his AAU program has already announced they will retire his jersey number, despite playing with the organization for one season.
— The Team BBC ðŸ€ (@TheTeamBBC) September 21, 2017
One of his early criticisms from analysts was that he wasn’t vocal enough on the floor, but I feel like that has been a little overstated. When I watched him, he was yelling, directing traffic, slapping the floor on defense, etc. He wasn’t quiet at all.
He just committed tonight, but it has already been reported that Quickley has been actively recruiting for Kentucky for months. He told KSR he wanted to team up with Zion Williamson in a package deal, and Williamson responded by saying Quickley was the exact kind of point guard he wants to play with.
Last recruiting season, players actively rallied around Quade Green and vouched for him, and a similar thing is happening with Calipari’s newest commitment.
Top players want to be with Quickley because he has the makings of a championship-winning point guard. That in itself is special.
Welcome home, Immanuel Quickley.