Immanuel Quickley declares for NBA Draft, signs with agent


Kentucky sophomore guard Immanuel Quickley celebrates after he makes the free throws that ended the game against Florida on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 65-59. Photo by Jordan Prather | Staff

Erika Bonner

Kentucky guard Immanuel Quickley has become the next domino to fall. 

The sophomore has officially declared for the NBA Draft and is signing with an agent, forgoing his remaining college eligibility.

“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,” Quickley 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.”

Quickley, Kentucky’s leading scorer this season, was named SEC Player of the Year and was an Honorable Mention All-American by the Associated Press. 

“Immanuel was an absolute pleasure to coach over the last two years,” Calipari said in a UK press release.. “I had as much fun coaching him and watching him grow than just about any player I’ve ever coached. 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,” Calipari said. “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.”

The 6-foot-3 guard was arguably Kentucky’s most important piece to the puzzle this season, averaging 16.1 points per game for the Cats. He scored in double figures in 26 of the 30 games he played in and had eight 20-point games. 

Quickley’s career high was a 30-piece on the road at Texas A&M and made a career-best eight 3-pointers to become the first UK player with 30 or more points since Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 30 on Jan. 30, 2018, vs. Vanderbilt.

Another major key to Quickley’s success this season was his free throw shooting. He went  92.3 percent at the free throw line, which is second in school history behind Tyler Herro’s school record set in 2018-19 of 93.5 percent.

“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,” Calipari said in a press release. “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 becomes the third Wildcat to announce a departure from the NBA, joining freshman Tyrese Maxey and sophomore Ashton Hagans.