John Calipari’s string of elite point guard recruits at Kentucky will grow in 2018–19. Immanuel Quickley, a 6’3,’’ 175-pound senior at The John Carroll School in Bel Air, Md., announced in a video on the media outlet Uninterrupted’s Facebook page on Friday that he will play for the Wildcats.
Kentucky had long been viewed as the favorite to reel in Quickley. He played under Calipari in Cairo, Egypt, on USA Basketball’s FIBA U19 World Cup team this summer and took an official visit to campus earlier this month. In August, Quickley narrowed his list of schools to three: the Wildcats, Kansas and Miami.
Quickley has plus size for his position (his wingspan reportedly has been measured at 6’7’’), and he’s a sound decision-maker with good passing vision who should be able to match up with multiple perimeter positions at the next level. As a junior at John Carroll last season, he averaged 23.7 points and 7.2 assists per game.
The 247Sports Composite pegs Quickley as the No. 2 point guard in the class of 2018, behind only Duke commit and Apple Valley (Minn.) High product Tre Jones. The Recruiting Services Consensus Index, which incorporates data from several services, lists Quickley as the No. 10 player in the class of 2018.
Although Quickley is the first player in the class of 2018 to make the call for the Wildcats, they’re involved with several other top prospects in the class, like five-star shooting guard Keldon Johnson and five-star small forwards R.J. Barrett and Zion Williamson, who’s set to begin his official visit to Lexington this weekend.
None of those recruits are locks for Kentucky. In Quickley, Calipari has grabbed one of the best 1s available a little less than two months out from the early signing period, a promising start for a program that has finished in the top two of the national recruiting rankings, according to the 247Sports Composite, every year since 2012.
Duke, which has joined the Wildcats in the top two the last four years, has an early lead in the 2018 cycle, with Jones and Cameron Reddish, a small forward from the Westtown (Pa.) School rated No. 3 in the RSCI, already on board. The Blue Devils also loom as Kentucky’s biggest challenger for Barrett, the No. 1 recruit in the country.
As for Quickley, there’s no doubt he’ll earn major playing time from the jump at Kentucky, but he may need to compete with two returning point guards for backcourt minutes in 2018–19. Class of 2016 signees Quade Green and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander are not projected as first-round picks in early 2018 mock drafts.