LEXINGTON, KY (WTVQ) – He was expected to be a second round pick, but he ended up getting picked in the first round.
Reigning SEC Player of the Year Immanuel Quickley is headed to the NBA. On Wednesday, Quickley was drafted to the Oklahoma City Thunder with the 25th pick, but was traded to the New York Knicks.
Quickley experienced one of the biggest jumps from his freshman to sophomore year that a Cat during the Cal era has experienced. He was named the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year by the league’s coaches. Quickley was also named All-SEC First Team.
They Maryland native was tabbed an All-American by The Athletic, CBS Sports and Bleacher Report, all of which awarded him third-team honors. He also was named the U.S. Basketball Writers Association District IV Player of the Year and USBWA All-District IV Team. Quickley was selected for the National Association of Basketball Coaches All-District 20 Second Team.
In the SEC, he was a three-time SEC Player of the Week and the first Wildcat in school history to win in back-to-back weeks. This is where it gets even more impressive, Quickley improved in every major statistical category in his sophomore season. This while leading the SEC regular-season champions in scoring (16.1 points per game), 3-pointers (62) and 3-point shooting (42.8%).
As Kentucky won 17 of 20 games to close the season, he became the team’s go-to player with countless 3-pointers and free throws in some of the season’s biggest moments, especially late in games. He scored in double figures in 20 straight games to end the season, the best stretch by a Wildcat since Malik Monk’s 30 consecutive games in 2016-17, totaling 20 or more points in six of the last 13 games. Lastly, he averaged 18.6 points per game with 50 3-pointers on 47.2% shooting from long range during the 20-game run