Kentucky has a lot of length, talent and athleticism coming in this year.
Any number of players could be considered the team’s “most exciting” for next year. But the name that Myron Medcalf of ESPN lists as UK’s most exciting player may be a bit surprising.
Medcalf says that freshman guard Immanuel Quickley will be the most exciting player for the Wildcats next year, citing his vision and intelligence on the floor.
Quickley is a smooth, 6-foot-3 guard who is patient enough to wait for the right play. He has a high basketball IQ, but he won’t fly through the air for windmill dunks.
Still, he’s the flour of this Kentucky cake, a savvy leader and playmaker with a lot of Mike Conley in his game.
Kentucky has a freak athlete in Keldon Johnson, a knockdown shooter in Tyler Herro, an offensive bruiser in Reid Travis, and an athletic big in EJ Montgomery, so Quickley comes as a surprise here, but the idea still makes sense.
Kentucky will have the personnel to play what some in the NBA call “beautiful basketball” next year: a lot of off-the-ball movement with a mix of cutting and shooting from mid-range and beyond.
They’ll be able to get points from anywhere. With the skill set that Medcalf sees in Quickley, he could be the key that unlocks the half-court offense if he runs the point. And let’s not forget Quickley was the point guard of 2018 that John Calipari zeroed in on and made a priority for the better part of a year before he picked the Cats.
For a coach that’s one of the best at developing guards, that speaks to how much potential Quickley has in Lexington and perhaps even the NBA someday.
You can read the rest of Medcalf’s exciting players ranking (there’s one for each of his top-25 teams) here.