Immanuel Quickley is becoming not only one of the best feel-good stories in the 2019-20 college hoops season, but also in the entire John Calipari era
Considering Calipari has coached 38 NBA Draft picks at Kentucky, that’s saying something, but it’s becoming more true each game Kentucky plays and wins thanks to Quickley.
His latest performance was a career-high 30-point outburst in Kentucky’s 69-60 win at Texas A&M, which came one game after Quickley scored 26 — 22 of which came in the second half — in a 65-59 win over Florida. There’s no question Quickley deserves the SEC Player of the Year award and All-American honors, as he’s established himself as one of the best players in college basketball.
What makes this story even more special is how far Quickley has come after a forgettable freshman season in which he averaged 5.2 points. Apparently, other programs tried to convince Quickley to transfer over the summer, according to Fox Sports reporter Aaron Torres.
Immanuel Quickley is becoming one of the great stories of the John Calipari era. Averaged five points per game last year. Multiple schools reached out in the off-season trying to convince him to transfer. He stayed. And might end up as SEC Player of the Year because of it.
— Aaron Torres (@Aaron_Torres) February 26, 2020
Ignoring the fact that this is illegal tampering and could get programs in serious trouble with the NCAA, it does say a lot about Quickley that he didn’t give up after a so-so freshman season at a school where five-star freshman are nearly always expected to be one-and-dones while other schools came calling.
With SEC Defensive Player of the Year Ashton Hagans returning to go with a top-10 recruit in Tyrese Maxey, it would have been easy for Quickley to decide he should go elsewhere to become a focal point of an offense. Instead, he stayed on his path and has now become the best player for a Kentucky team that looks like a real threat to make the Final Four.