Two of the top high school basketball players in the country could be sharing the same court as college freshmen next season.
If that happens, Kentucky fans will likely be very happy with the development.
Zion Williamson and Immanuel Quickley, arguably the top small forward and point guard in the class of 2018, respectively, have grown into great friends off the court, and they haven’t been shy about the possibility of teaming up in college a year from now.
The two players faced off here Friday — Quickley’s team came out on top with a 68-64 victory — and, after the game, Williamson was asked if the recent buzz regarding a possible “package deal” had any legs.
“There’s a lot of truth to that,” he said. “Me and Immanuel are good friends. … I just love the way he plays point guard. That’s the type of point guard I want to play with.”
“That was what we talked about after the game,” Quickley said. “He said he was going to talk to his mom. And I’m going to talk to my family, and we’re going to see if we can actually try to get it done.”
Quickley — a 6-foot-3 prospect from the Baltimore area — is ranked by Scout.com as the No. 10 overall player in the 2018 class, and he’s narrowed his recruiting list to UK, Kansas, Maryland and Miami. He is planning to make a college decision before the start of his upcoming senior season, and he’s been clear in recent weeks that the Wildcats are the current favorite in his recruitment.
That’s great news for UK’s chances with Williamson, a 6-6 bull of a small forward who has emerged as the most exciting high school basketball player in the country. His highlight-reel dunks and blocks have racked up millions of views on YouTube, but he has plenty of game beyond that, too. 247Sports ranks him as the No. 1 overall player in the 2018 class, and the other major recruiting services have him in the top three.
Quickley told the Herald-Leader at John Calipari’s USA Basketball U19 camp last month that he and Williamson have been roommates at a few different Adidas events, including one camp in Italy earlier this year where the two star players bonded overseas. Calipari started this week’s live recruiting period here so he could watch both Quickley and Williamson.
UK assistant coach Joel Justus, who has been recruiting both players, was sitting on the baseline for Friday’s game.
Quickley said a pairing in college would be mutually beneficial for the two NBA hopefuls. It would certainly help the Wildcats.
“I complement him, and he complements me,” Quickley said. “I think it would help us if we went to the same school.”