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The three G's responsible for Quickley's success: God, the Gym and Good spots

Maggie Davis01/04/20


Article written by:On3 imageMaggie Davis


For the second game in a row, Immanuel Quickley had himself a career-high game, scoring 21 points over Missouri just a week after his 18-point outing in Kentucky's win over Louisville. Against the Tigers, the sophomore also added three boards, one assist, one block and one steal in 33 minutes of action. He finished 5-9 from the floor, 4-8 from the three-point line and 9-9 from the charity stripe. Quickley credits three main sources for his success. "Spending extra time in the gym," he started. "And I appreciate God - he's given me the confidence to play great. And my teammates finding me in great spots. Just a little bit of everything combined has helped me play really well." He's right - all three of those factors played major roles in Quickley's performance Saturday. Here's how.

God's Plan

For Quickley, who has been very transparent about his religious devotion this season, there's no other way to explain the success of at least one of his shots against Missouri. It had to be divine intervention. Early in the second half, Quickley found himself open on the right wing and launched up a beautiful three-pointer. It hit the rim and bounced all the way to the top of the backboard, seemingly on its way to the Tigers' hands. But somehow, someway, that same ball instead found its way through the net. Even Quickley himself was shocked to see it go through the rim. "That had no chance of going in. I started running back on defense... I thought it was out of there," Quickley laughed. "I thank God it went in [because] I didn't think it had a chance... I just had a big smile on my face, because I knew those three points weren't supposed to be mine." https://twitter.com/Scott_Charlton2/status/1213557439628361728 Like several of Quickley's other shots Saturday and even throughout the duration of this season, those three points helped spark an offensive run. Nate Sestina says he didn't actually see the ball go in (in the video above, you can tell Sestina is still on the floor will the shot finally falls), but he could feel the energy that came with it. "That's just another big shot [for Quickley] - another momentum changer," Sestina said. "For us to make shots like that and get our momentum going in the right direction, that's big."

Gym Time

With UK students still on winter break (classes don't resume until Wednesday, Jan. 15), Quickley and the rest of his teammates are continuing to push through "Camp Cal." Their practices times have been adjusted while they don't have to allow time for class, so Quickley says he's able to stay in the gym longer and still get plenty of rest. He even referenced one solo midnight session. "I actually worked out once at like 12 at night and still can get a lot of sleep because we don't practice until later in the day," Quickley told reporters after the game. "That's been helping me with working out with my coaches, staying in the gym and staying hungry." More time in the gym and two career games in a row? That's no coincidence.

Great Looks

The number of points next to his name on the stat sheet wasn't the only record Quickley broke Saturday. He also hit a career-high four three-pointers against Missouri, and he now leads the team with 18 successful treys so far this year. On the season, he's up to an average of 11.7 points per game to go along with 31 percent three-point shooting. Many of those long-range shots have come in transition, and Quickley credits that success to his teammates finding him when he's set up (and open) in the perfect spot. On a team that's continuously struggled with shooting, seeing Quickley drain open shots comes as a huge relief. He's the one who hits them, but his teammates - namely Ashton Hagans - are the ones responsible for getting the ball in his hands during those situations. "My teammates are finding me in great spots to be successful. In transition, Ashton [Hagans] is getting into the lane and pitching it back to me. I think two of my threes were like that," Quickley said. "As long as my teammates keep helping me get shots and get open looks, I think I'll keep knocking them down." https://twitter.com/Scott_Charlton2/status/1213547502491693057 Sestina agrees, saying Quickley always leads the team during their transition-three drills in practice. When Quickley heard about his teammate's compliment, he says that's no coincidence, agreeing he's "really comfortable" in transition. "Yeah, that's one of the drills I do best in - I'll make 10 or 11 in a row," Quickley said. "Also in my pre-game warmup and everyday in workouts, I'll practice those 'game shots' so they're in my arsenal." Quickley is certainly comfortable with what's in his arsenal; he knows three-point shooting is where he can make the biggest difference on the court. "My way of changing the game is usually a three-point shot. We've got other guys who dunk; Nick [Richards] blocks shots. Any way you can change the game you want to use that to your [best] ability... Their coach even called a time out [after one of his three-pointers]. If you can get their coach to call a time out, that's always a great thing."
If Quickley can keep using these three G's to his advantage, he'll continue being successful this season. Now that would be a great thing.

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