UK point guard target likes Calipari's track record with top playmakers
Every year, the phones of rising high school juniors with high-level basketball talent start lighting up as soon at the clock strikes midnight on June 15.
That’s the day that college coaches can begin directly contacting recruits in the rising junior class, and few of them waste time reaching out to their top targets.
Immanuel Quickley’s phone was buzzing more than most on this June 15.
By mid-afternoon, he had received phone calls from Miami, Texas and Villanova, text messages from Kentucky, Duke and Washington, and new scholarship offers from UCLA and Texas A&M.
Arizona offered later that night, Villanova offered the next day, and Quickley’s expecting many more top schools to do the same in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, he’s emerging as one of the nation’s best point guards in the class of 2018.
“I think he’s a tremendous passer,” said Scout.com’s Evan Daniels. “For the point guard position, he’s got good size. He has wide shoulders and long arms. He competes. He’s quiet and goes about his business.
“At times, he gets a little careless with the ball. But he has a lot of talent and ability. And this is a guy who hit (several) game winners during his high school season, so he doesn’t shy away from big shots either.”
Quickley — ranked by Scout.com as the No. 13 recruit in his class — spent last week in Colorado trying out for the Team USA U17 squad, which he made after an impressive showing in the series of practice sessions. Measuring at nearly 6-3 with a 6-7 wingspan, Quickley used his speed, length and high basketball IQ to create opportunities for teammates while proving himself as a capable scorer from all over the court.
One of the younger players on the team, he should be a factor for the U17 squad that will compete for a FIBA gold medal starting later this week in Spain. It will be the 16-year-old’s first trip out of the country.
“Obviously, it’s a huge event, being part of USA Basketball,” he told the Herald-Leader. “Just being able to compete with high-level guys, high-level coaches teaching you different things every day.
“It’s been a lot of fun. It’s a surreal feeling, just because of all the talent that’s on this team and all of the players that have worn this jersey. I’m just going to take it day by day and have fun.”
Hailing from the Baltimore area, Quickley averaged 17.7 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.5 steals per game as a sophomore this past season, which was highlighted by his game-winning, buzzer-beater in the Baltimore Catholic League championship game.
Obviously when you talk about John Calipari, (it’s) one and done, two and done, just getting players to the NBA at the highest level.
Immanuel Quickley, five-star point guard
Quickley plays his AAU ball for undefeated Baltimore Elite on the Adidas circuit, where he’s shooting 41.7 percent from three-point range this spring and is one of the league leaders in assists.
He’ll be a popular attraction for college coaches over the next few weeks.
UK’s coaches told Quickley that they would be watching him at the FIBA tournament in Spain, as well as on the Adidas circuit next month. He’s also set to have his first phone conversation with Coach John Calipari when he returns from Team USA duties.
“Obviously when you talk about John Calipari, (it’s) one and done, two and done, just getting players to the NBA at the highest level,” Quickley said.
Calipari has had much success with point guards, and Quickley mentioned one in particular that he’s followed over the years.
“Obviously, everybody knows John Wall,” he said. “He can get up and down the court in three, four dribbles. And he gets everybody involved. That’s just one of the many point guards from John Calipari that I’ve watched.”
247Sports national analyst Jerry Meyer said Quickley reminded him of a young Wall after watching him play at Team USA camp last week, noting that Quickley has a similar build and feel for the game as the former UK star.
Quickley also received a recent scholarship offer from Maryland, and Terrapins Coach Mark Turgeon — an assistant with the Team USA U18 squad — got to watch him play a little during last week’s training camp. During one scrimmage, Turgeon looked on intently as Quickley crossed over a defender and swished a three-pointer from about 4 feet behind the international line.
Quickley told the Herald-Leader that Maryland was his rooting interest as a kid, but he’ll be open to all comers as a five-star recruit.
“You’re a fan of everybody when you’re in this type of process,” he said.