Vaught’s note: Kentucky fan Jessica Jones has some interesting perspectives on sophomore Immanuel Quickley’s future and shares those today. Enjoy the read from a fan’s perspective I think you will like.
By JESSICA JONES, Contributing Writer
This season, that ended way too soon, left us with an emergence of Immanuel Quickley. During his freshmen campaign, Quickley averaged a respectable 18.5 minutes per game and 5.2 points per game. He made a wise decision to return Kentucky for his sophomore season and absolutely exploded, averaging 33 minutes per game and leading Kentucky with 16.1 points per game this year. He really surged in SEC play ,taking home the SEC POY award this year.
What an accomplishment by Immanuel. I, for one, am so proud of him. Coach Cal now has several examples of return and develop with success.
With Quickley’s success this season, most people assume that he’s NBA bound. Why? Why do we assume he’s gone? Should we? He very well could go. There’s a chance he could come back. He has a tough decision. Really tough.
He’s done a lot of things here. He has shown he can play off the ball. We know he played point guard in high school. We know he can shoot. He was crowned SEC POY. What else does he need to prove? Well, for Immanuel, I don’t believe it’s so cut and dry.
I am not a person who pays attention to mock drafts (AT ALL), but I checked around for the purpose of writing this. I don’t watch draft boards because they are guesses. They hold as much validity as early brackets. They’re guesses. With that said, I checked anyway. Immanuel doesn’t show up on many boards and the ones that he does show up on he’s in the 50s. If you’re in the 50s, that’s a risk to not be drafted. See Aaron Harrison.
Does the 50s mean he won’t go? No. Plenty of players have gone knowing they will be second rounders. The part that makes this more difficult for Quickley is that he doesn’t get a chance to work out for teams and impress them. That’s tough. There’s possibly no combine and that can work against a guy like Quickley as well.
What does Quickley have going for him? Well, this is where Kentucky is an advantage. Quickley played in front of scouts on a nightly basis. Like it or not, John Calipari has a reputation having guys prepared for the NBA. Multiple GMs have directly said, they know getting a Kentucky guy, they’re getting a guy that can make that transition easily. If Quickley does go, Calipari will be working on the phones for him as well.
So why return? We know the story. Succeed and proceed at Kentucky right? We’ve seen Quickley succeed so we assume proceed right? Not exactly. There’s a case for Immanuel to return. His family highly values education. Could Quickley come back and get his degree before going to the draft? Some people think that doesn’t matter but to some people it really does. How much does it matter to Quickley and his family?
Quickley’s family isn’t hurting for money. Quickley didn’t live in a car in high school like Eric Bledsoe or countless others that struggled financially. Immanuel is a very thoughtful kid and I don’t think he’ll rush to the NBA. Again, he might go but if he does, it won’t be a rushed decision.
There’s also a unique set of circumstances with the world we are living in today. Does the NCAA Tournament matter to Quickley? Does he really want a chance to make that run towards a final four? Is he satisfied with the way things ended? I doubt it. Is that enough to convince him to come back? Maybe.
Also, consider Quickley’s father. His father never made it to see him play in college. Immanuel’s father highly values education. We’ve heard the story. If Immanuel comes back and is set to get his degree, will his father come see him play? According to his mother, that could happen. Again, family is important to Quickley, maybe more important than some of us realize.
Another important thing to consider, is that he could possibly can come back and play point guard. He can still show scouts some things there. While he has played point guard in high school, it’s a different level. According to reports, it sounds like GMs are saying Quickley could get drafted this year but they would like him to return and run the point. How much does this factor for IQ?
Whatever Immanuel decides, he will be a beloved Wildcat forever. He’s done an exceptional job improving and leading Kentucky to an SEC championship. The saddest part to me is what could have been. What could Quickley have done in the tournament.
While we assume he’s moving on to the NBA, it’s just not as cut and dry as we might think. There’s a lot of factors here. He’s got a big decision. If he comes back, it’ll be very exciting for Kentucky. I can’t state that enough. He will be a game changer.
If he decides to leave, I completely understand. He’s the player to watch. Outside of EJ, I think he would be the most important returner if he were to return. He might have the toughest decision out of all the players this year.
Here’s the last factor for Quickley — if he does come back, how special could this team be? He already knows who else is coming back. It could be really special. Really special. Does this help him make a decision?
I look forward to seeing what Quickley decides, whatever it is I’ll be happy for him and cheering him on all the way!