Immanuel Quickley’s improvement in his second year at Kentucky was among the most notable improvements in college basketball.
Quickley jumped his scoring average nearly 11 points and became one of the country’s best free throw and three-point shooters and was also named the Coaches SEC Player of the Year, along with a host of other awards.
His jump was so great that ESPN recently labeled him the Breakout Star of the 2019-2020 college basketball season. Below is from ESPN’s Jeff Borzello,
“A former five-star recruit, Quickley always had the talent but didn’t have the role to really become a go-to offensive player. As a freshman, Quickley was behind Ashton Hagans and one-and-done wings Tyler Herro and Keldon Johnson on the perimeter, and then five-star guard Tyrese Maxey entered the program this season and dropped 26 points in his first game,” wrote ESPN’s Jeff Borzello.
”But something flipped in late December, and Quickley became not only the go-to-guy for the Wildcats but the best player in the SEC. Along with Nick Richards, Quickley was the spark to Kentucky’s hot stretch in conference play and is the player John Calipari counts on in big moments. Before a foul-shortened outing against Florida in the season finale, Quickley averaged about 19 points and shot better than 46% from 3-point range in his past 19 games.”
Many thought that Quickley was the third guard in the rotation behind Hagans and Maxey, but Quickley showed the level of threat that he can be and displayed a newfound confidence on the floor, whether shooting it from the perimeter or driving into the lane for a floater.
His performance this season was impressive enough that he’s now popping up on some draft radar, although most project him as a second-rounder due to being an undersized shooting guard.
If Quickley were to return to Kentucky, which is probably a 50/50 shot right now, he might just be one of the early candidates for National Player of the Year. Either way, his 2019-2020 season will be one to remember.
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