I admit that I was surprised when Immanuel Quickley started three out of the four games in the Bahamas.
Once Ashton Hagans reclassified and committed to Kentucky, Quickley became somewhat of a forgotten man. He was the first to commit in the 2018 class and John Calipari had him targeted as his point guard from early in the recruitment process.
While Hagans was new and exciting for Big Blue fans, Quickley continued to put his head down and work hard in the gym. He has earned the reputation as a gym rat and a player that does not take competition lightly.
While in the Bahamas, he was easily Kentucky’s most steady hand running the point. The had 18 assists and 1 turnover combined in the four games they played. He was relentless on defense and showed the speed that Calipari loves to see in his point guards.
He is a “look to make a play” point guard as opposed to a “look to get my shot” point guard and that was evident. He was more concerned with getting his teammates involved rather than stuff his own stat line. With all of the talent surrounding him, that’s exactly what Calipari wants to see.
As good as Quickley was, there is still something that he needs to improve if he wants to be the starter all year long: offensive assertiveness. While the 18/1 turnover ratio is indeed impressive, Calipari wants his point guards to push the pace and be aggressive. Sometimes that leads to turnovers, but that is okay.
A good state line for a Calipari point guard is somewhere in the realm of 10 points, 6 assists, 3 turnovers, 2 steals, and I think this is more than attainable for Quickley.
With Quickley’s emergence, Calipari now has the option to play him and Hagans at the same time which would be a complete nightmare for opposing guards. Both players harass the ball on defense and will be elite defenders.
But the one thing that can separate the two is Quickley’s aggressiveness and I’m sure Cal will be pushing that heading into a heavyweight match-up with Duke.