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Kentucky’s Immanuel Quickley enters NBA draft

Louisville Kentucky Basketball

Kentucky’s Immanuel Quickley celebrates after an overtime win against Louisville in an NCAA college basketball game in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, Dec. 28, 2019. (AP Photo/James Crisp)


Kentucky guard Immanuel Quickley announced on Monday morning that he will be entering the NBA draft.

Quickley will be signing with an agent, and while players are now allowing to have representation during the pre-draft process while maintaining their eligibility, Quickley’s intent is to become a professional, regardless of where he is projected to get drafted.

Playing off the ball as a sophomore, Quickley was the best player on Kentucky’s roster during the second half of the college basketball season. He grew into one of the best spot-up shooters in the sport, but Quickley entered college with the reputation for being a lead guard. The big question with him is whether or not he has the quickness that will give him the ability to penetrate at the NBA level, but he did show some ability to put the ball on the floor late in the year.

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Quickley’s decision feels a lot like the decision that Isaiah Briscoe made back in 2017. While I think there’s a chance that Quickley could end up being a second round pick, this will have a much bigger impact on college basketball than it will on anything that happens in the professional ranks.

Had Quickley returned to Kentucky, he likely would have been starting at the point guard spot on a team with a couple of really talented wings and a slew of big bodies to rotate through in the paint. Having the reigning SEC Player of the Year as the lead guard on a roster with that much talent is a good thing. Without him, that means that either Creighton transfer Davion Mintz or freshman Devin Askew will be handling point guard duties, and that is worrisome. Mintz left Creighton because he wasn’t going to play over Marcus Zegarowski, and he landed at Kentucky in part because Askew may not be ready to take a team over as a freshman.

That’s not a good sign for the Wildcats, who are sitting at sixth in the NBC Sports preseason top 25.