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UK’s Quickley credits God for transformation, set for next step

Immanuel Quickley - photo by Brendon D. Miller - Bluegrass Sports Nation

LEXINGTON, Ky. – April 13, 2020 – KEITH TAYLOR

Immanuel Quickley gave credit to his faith after declaring for the NBA Draft on Monday.

“First and foremost, I want to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for blessing me with the talent to play the game of basketball,” Quickley said. “With God, all things are possible.”

Quickley, who will hire an agent and remain in the draft, was the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year and scored double figures in 20 straight games to end the season. Quickley averaged 16.1 points per game for the Wildcats, who finished 25-6 and won the SEC title. He scored in double figures in 26 of 30 games that he played and knocked down eight 3-pointers in a win over Texas A&M.

“I want to thank coach John Calipari, the entire UK coaching staff and administration, my brothers and teammates, and Big Blue Nation for all your love and support the past two years,” he said. “I’m grateful for everyone that helped me along my journey.”

Like his teammates, Quickley was disappointed in the ending to the season and made the final determination on his future after praying and consulting with his family members during the past few weeks.

“It saddens me that my brothers and I were not able to compete for the national championship this year due to circumstances beyond our control,” he said. “But after praying about it and discussing it with my family, I’ve decided to forgo my remaining eligibility by declaring for the 2020 NBA Draft and signing with an agent.”

Calipari said Quickley was “an absolute pleasure to coach over the past two years.”

“I had as much fun coaching him and watching him grow than just about any player I’ve ever coached,” Calipari said. “Like some of our other guys that have gone on and done special things, like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Tyler Herro, he absolutely works his tail off. He takes his conditioning seriously, has unbelievable discipline, unwavering faith, confidence and spent just about all of his extra time in that gym.

“His reward: SEC Player of the Year, as voted on by the coaches. I’ve been in this league for 11 years and only had that happen three other times. Think about that with some of the kids we’ve had go through here.”

Calipari said Quickley will be a success at the next level.

“There’s no question in my mind that his growth in the NBA will be on the same path that it was here, which is steep,” he said. “He is a wonderful, centered young man who has fought his way to the point of being a first-round draft pick. I’m looking forward to seeing what he does on that next level.”

Quickley joins Ashton Hagans and Tyrese Maxey on a list of Kentucky players who have declared and opted to remain in the draft.

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