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Immanuel Quickley bringing Michael Kidd-Gilchrist-type work ethic to UK

IQ could have a major impact for this Kentucky Basketball squad on and off the court.

High School Basketball: McDonalds High School All American Portrait Day Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Immanuel Quickley was once a forgotten man in UK’s 2018 class. However, it’s become clear recently that the five-star guard should not be slept on going into the 2018-19 season.

Initially, Quickley looked like a guy who could end up behind Ashton Hagans, Quade Green and Keldon Johnson in the battle for playing time at the 1-3 spots. Then came an ESPN article that actually called Quickley UK’s most exciting player from the 2018 class.

It seemed like an odd choice at the time, but perhaps it was right on the mark based on what John Calipari is saying.

During his Wednesday interview with KSR, Coach Cal gave out some nice praise for the Baltimore product, who is bringing a Michael Kidd-Gilchrist-type work ethic to this team.

“Immanuel’s better, and I coached Immanuel for a while (during his Team USA U18 stint). He’s even better than I thought,” said Cal. “And when Rob [Harris] comes back to me and talks about Immanuel being one of the hardest workers we’ve had here in the weight room and all those things, that culture that Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had here, the Breakfast Club.

“We’re in the gym, we’re here to get better, we love playing; that’s where this group is, which is why I’m kind of happy and looking at this saying, ‘Let’s have some fun with this.’”

This actually isn’t the first time Quickley has drawn strong praise as a tireless worker. Quickley’s high school coach — John Carroll High School’s John Zito — detailed just how hard of a worker Quickley is at perfect his craft.

“His work ethic is unbelievable. He puts in so much time in the gym outside of our team practice and other team functions,” Zito told Larry Vaught. “He is constantly in the gym. There are times I have almost had to ask him to go home and get out of the gym. He’s on a mission. He knows what he wants from this basketball thing and knows what it takes to get to where he wants to go.”

Quickley’s best role on this team may be a 3-and-D specialist. He’s already got the three-point shooting down, and he was quietly a good defender during his high school career.

Perhaps he can have a DeAndre Liggins-type of role on this team with his ability to come off the bench, defend the other team’s best guards and knock down a couple of threes each game.

Or, maybe Quickley will mess around and win the starting point guard spot. With as much talent as Quickley has, none of these scenarios will come as a big surprise.

One thing is for sure: It’s time to stop sleeping on Quickley’s role with the 2018-19 Wildcats. It sounds like he’s going to make a big impact for a team that hopes to be in the Final Four when it is all said and done.

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