The month of March is winding down and it remains a shame that Immanuel Quickley wasn’t able to transition his monster sophomore season into any type of postseason competition. The “what if” scenarios of the 2020 basketball year will undoubtedly play a role in the decisions of many players who are weighing their options this spring.
Guys like Immanuel Quickley will have to operate with less information than usual due to the current restrictions surrounding the globe right now. Collecting feedback from various NBA teams will be far more limited this year, so players who believe that they are on the fringe of being drafted will ultimately have to make a less educated decision.
Tough decisions or not, they are decisions that have to be made. Immanuel Quickley will be one of the most important potential returnees not only the University of Kentucky but college basketball as a whole.
Rob Dauster of NBC Sports wrote an article detailing the 12 most influential stay-or-go draft decisions surrounding college basketball. Kentucky’s Immanuel Quickley checked in at #5.
5. IMMANUEL QUICKLEY, Kentucky
The Wildcats are going to have an absolutely loaded freshman class in 2020-21. Terrence Clarke and B.J. Boston are the biggest names, but Devin Askew should have an impact at the point and the likes of Isaiah Jackson and Lance Ware will push whoever is left in the frontcourt by the time things are settled in Lexington.
But what the Wildcats seem likely to lack is going to be any kind of veteran presence in their backcourt. I’m expecting Tyrese Maxey to declare and sign with an agent right away. Things should be more up in the air for both Nick Richards and Ashton Hagans, but I do think both will be drafted high enough that staying in the draft is the right decision. Quickley is more of a question mark. I think he’s legitimately 50-50 right now. He was the SEC Player of the Year as a spot-up shooter this season, and if he returns I would not be surprised to see him take over the point guard role.
That said, there’s still a chance that he is drafted anyway this year. If he leaves, Kentucky is a back-end top ten team in my mind. If he’s back, however, they’re a top five team and a very real title contender.
Quickley seemingly went from bench player to college basketball superstar overnight. His development was one of the most rapid cases of anyone in the John Calipari era and it’s scary to think about how good a junior version of the sharp shooter could be.
Recently, Calipari commented on Quickley’s decision and potentially coming back and running the show next year for Kentucky.
“Would we be a better team, him (Quickley) being a point guard on this team coming back? Yes. But that’s not why he should make a decision. His decision is, is this the right time? Am I ready to succeed in that league? Am I mentally ready? Which I know he is. Am I physically ready? Yeah. Have I mastered my skills the way I need to? That’s the decision he would have to come back to. I think, again, one of the great kids that I’ve ever coached. One of the most grounded young men that I’ve ever coached.” Calipari said.
UK has a star-studded class coming in next season, so the thought of adding an experienced scorer like Quickley would put the Cats on a short list as a favorite to win the national title.