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Why do we keep overlooking Immanuel Quickley?

Believe it or not, basketball season is already upon us. And, believe it or not, the Kentucky Wildcats have a battle for starting point guard on their hands. Throughout most of the pre-season and even leading into the Bahamas, Ashton Hagans was the man most thought would be best-suited for the job. But while both Hagans and Quickley had solid performances down in the sun, it was Quickley who shone the brightest.

Over the course of four games, Quickley averaged 24 minutes of playing time per game. He went 7-23 for 30.4 percent from the field and 4-10 (40 percent) from behind-the-arc. Quickley grabbed 18 rebounds, 16 of which were defensive boards, while dishing out 18 assists and committing just two turnovers. He was also credited with five steals and averaged 7.3 points per game. He showcased his defensive intensity, his competitive nature and his determination to get his teammates the ball and make a play while still acting as a calming presence.

While some of Hagans numbers (21.5 mpg, 17 rebounds and five ppg) are very comparable to those of Immanuel Quickley, there are other areas with large discrepancies. Hagans shot the ball more efficiently from the floor (8-15 for just over 53 percent), but he didn’t have the same long-range as Quickley (0-2 from the three-point line). Most notably, Hagans had 10 assists (eight less than Quickley) and seven turnovers (five more than Quickley). Both point guards had excellent stat lines, but it’s hard to ignore Quickley’s abilities and demeanor on the court.

Quickley showed his dominance in the opening game of the trip, and he ended up starting in three of the four August games. But, the Cats’ time in the Bahamas wasn’t the first time Immanuel Quickley showcased his talents. A 5-star recruit and a McDonalds All-American (and the winner of the McDonald’s game three-point contest), the point guard was the first recruit who committed to John Calipari from the 2018 class.

But then other big names started signing. Fans got excited about players like Keldon Johnson and EJ Montgomery; fans got excited about the return of PJ Washington, Quade Green and Nick Richards; fans got excited when Ashton Hagans not only de-committed from Georgia but then reclassified to begin playing with the Cats immediately. And, somewhere in all of that excitement, Immanuel Quickley got lost.

The hype surrounding Quickley briefly re-appeared during the Bahamas trip, but following the conclusion of the final game, the BBN’s attention turned to football, returning Quickley to the background. But that’s alright with him – it just meant he had to get back to work.

“Individually I’m just looking forward to getting better everyday,” Quickley told KSR during media day. “I enjoy that part of the process of just getting better [and] working on my game.”

And he’s been putting plenty of time into that process, according to John Calipari. The head coach compared Quickley to Brandon Knight and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, two players notorious for their time spent in the weight room and the gym after-hours.

Quickley stole the show at Big Blue Madness, starting with a spectacular dance and ending with him winning the three-point contest. With a combination of grit on the court and personality off of it, he has once again been thrust into the spotlight and is poised to become a fan favorite. But will it last? Or will he have to once again prove himself once games officially begin? Either way seems fine by him.


Article written by Maggie Davis

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

16 Comments for Why do we keep overlooking Immanuel Quickley?

    3:13 pm October 14, 2018 Permalink

    Speak for yourself, Maggie.

    • Cletis75
      3:40 pm October 14, 2018 Permalink

      Exactly! Not everyone has been asleep at the wheel! He was my choice of PG in the class. Very high IQ player. Pun intended.

    • ClutchCargo
      12:45 am October 15, 2018 Permalink

      I came here to say the same thing. +1

  2. Angelo
    3:24 pm October 14, 2018 Permalink

    Nice piece Maggie!

  3. DelrayCat
    3:54 pm October 14, 2018 Permalink

    My starting lineup: Quickley, Herro, Johnson, Washington, Travis
    But I’m betting Cal goes: Quickley, Green, Johnson, Washington, Richards for game 1.

    • michaelb
      7:45 pm October 14, 2018 Permalink

      Cal will only start green if he earns it.

  4. Aar
    4:52 pm October 14, 2018 Permalink

    Sleeping on Montgomery?

    Of your two lineups, I prefer yours as opposed to your bet. As a counterpoint, though, bringing Hagans’ D off the bench with Herro’s O as the “co-sixth men” could be a huge backcourt energy boost.

    Regardless, based upon Bahamas performances, I’m finishing games with Quickley, Herro and Johnson in the backcourt. Might defensive platoon Hagans at the 1 and rotate Johnson to the 2 for defensive possessions.

    Game finishing frontcourt might come down to foul shooting and/or opponent’s size. Richards’ foul shooting is excellent. I have no reason to expect Montgomery to school fouls any way other than excellently. On the other hand, the shorter frontcourt players are nearly NBA-ready, physical bigs who are not the best foul shooters. Either Washington or Travis are in the game or both if their foul shots are falling.

    At this point I kinda like the idea of Quickly, Johnson, Washington, Travis & Montgomery to close out games they lead. All five should be shooting 33+% beyond the arc, defend well four score with their backs to the basket and a different four dribble penetrate very well. If behind, would Hagans, Baker, Herro, Johnson/Washington/Travis & Montgomery be too crazy?

    • DelrayCat
      5:05 pm October 14, 2018 Permalink

      I gotta agree…I think by the end of the year EJ will be one of the most important players and likely the starter at center. I don’t think Cal likes playing two 4s and a true rim protector is so important. Travis may always come off the bench. EJ is like Chris Bosh to me. So skilled…but a little passive at this point. I think he will be a very good doubt..but will we even see more than a glipse of his potential at UK?

    • Aar
      7:50 pm October 14, 2018 Permalink

      Montgomery seems like an introvert to me. Not a lot of swagger, just consistently gets the job done. To a degree, he reminds me of both David Robinson and Tim Duncan as well as, yes, Chris Bosh. I think his back will determine whether we’ll see our fair share of his potential at UK.

      Ultimately, I hope Richards and Montgomery both realize enough of their potential that there’s no drop off between the two – just different looks at the 5. That’s what Washington and Travis should do at the 4. With Quickly and Hagans doing the same at the 1, does Cal get a nice three player rotation out of Johnson, Herro and Baker at the 2-3 or will Washington and Travis be playing significant minutes together at the 3-4? Cal will try all of the looks, examine the advanced metrics, use the eye test and lean the rotation a bit through February into March.

  5. ibescootch
    6:00 pm October 14, 2018 Permalink

    I don’t think people are overlooking him vs. Hagans, it’s that we’re valuing Hagans defense (specifically steals) over Quickley. Not that he’s bad defensively, but Hagans seems to be a better disruptor to the other team. If overall stats are similar, Hagans may add another dimension to our defense that Quickley doesn’t. Again, not hating on Quickley, but that’s what I think we’ve seen through the Bahamas series.

  6. Luether
    6:14 pm October 14, 2018 Permalink

    Not sure exactly who’s overlooking Quickly – but it’s none of us in the know…

  7. michaelb
    7:43 pm October 14, 2018 Permalink

    Yea this narrative tickles me. All these hyped up world beaters are gonna do this , are gonna do that…. the quiet hard working guy outplays them all and stuns everybody . Haha that was easily my fav part of the Bahamas. Gooo iquickly !!!
    He’s mentally tough , more well rounded & more confident than most

  8. rlburd2
    7:46 pm October 14, 2018 Permalink

    so wait…. hitting 4 of 10 is 40%?

  9. michaelb
    7:47 pm October 14, 2018 Permalink

    I think we should start mooch, keke, houston & peewee. Can’t go wrong with them behind the wheel ; )

  10. michaelb
    7:57 pm October 14, 2018 Permalink

    Yeah , you guys are all right for the most part . Depending on our opponent will dictate roles & minutes . Teams with slow rotating back court players will get burned all nite by harro & green. Teams with short post players will be throwing fits with ej & pj in the games

  11. Kat4Life
    1:32 pm October 15, 2018 Permalink

    Great article Maggie. I agree with your headline…..but soon all the high school hype, the memories of the Bahamas trip, and the updates from practices will fade to oblivion…..only real-game performance will matter. I like his chances when his true test comes.