Immanuel Quickley has become absolute money from the free throw line this season. He has made 92.45% of his 106 attempts from the charity stripe. That is about 1% away from Tyler Herro’s mark from last season, and he already has more attempts than Herro did (93) for the entire year.
Tuesday night against Mississippi State, however, he tied a single game mark that is extremely impressive. Immanuel tied the record, also held by Louie Dampier, Ramel Bradley, and Jodie Meeks, for most consecutive free throws made in a single game without a miss. Quickley was 14/14 from the line on Tuesday, making eight of those in the closing minutes of the victory over Mississippi State. And, of course, eight was Kentucky’s exact margin of victory.
So what is his secret?
“When he closes his eyes before free throws, he just takes deep breaths to kind of help his body get relaxed, to slow down the environment, to slow down his mind, which helps him shoot the free throws at a high percentage,” Quickley’s aunt Demetria Caldwell told A Sea of Blue. “Since Immanuel was a child, he’s always been told to focus. As more of an athlete, as a Christian, growing up as a young man, and reading on his own the importance of meditating.”
The No. 1 player on Kentucky’s all-time free throw percentage list is Clarence Tillman who hit 26/27 attempts (96.3%) in the 1978-1979 season. However, Quickley is rapidly approaching Tyler Herro’s mark of 93.5% for highest percentage by a player with over 30 attempts.
Quickley’s meditation has been key to his success at the line this season. How long will it be before we see other Wildcats meditating at the free throw line? Hopefully on Saturday in Knoxville.