By LARRY VAUGHT
For his high school senior project, Kentucky signee Immanuel Quickley wanted to do something that was meaningful to him.
“He’s very passionate about basketball and doing things for children that make a difference,” said Nitrease Quickley, the future UK guard’s mother. “He enjoys basketball and wanted to create a free basketball clinic for kids in his community.”
He did just that with a free clinic for youth in grades five to eight and then he also put together a community all-star game in conjunction with the clinic to raise money for the local Boys and Girls Club.
He split his clinic into two sessions — and had almost 50 youngsters participate — to make it easier for youngsters to attend. He also wanted to hold the clinic at the same middle school where he played rather than the high school he now attends.
“He focused on middle school because he was part of the parks and rec program just like they were,” his mother said. “We worked with the school administration and teachers to get kids registered and then later opened it to any fifth through eighth grader in the county who wanted to participate.”
He tried to let the participants know he was in the same position as them not long ago playing in the same league, attending the same school. His mother said he encouraged them not to give up on their dreams no matter what anyone said to them.
“His speech was basically, ‘I am just like you,’” Quickley’s mother said.
During a question and answer session, he got everything from if he thought he would end up in the all of fame to his favorite subject to the video game Fortnite. He also coached during 1-on-1, 3-on-3 and 5-on-5 games before signing autographs and taking pictures with the participants.
Quickley put together a team for the community all-star game. Participants in the game include school resource officers, school administrations and parks and rec coaches who helped at the clinic.
“Team Quickley was a lot better with Division I girls and boys on his team, so Immanuel just kept changing the score and giving the community team points. He would go the by the scorekeeper and tell her to give the other team points,” Nitrease Quickley said. “The town newspaper put that the community team ended up winning but I don’t think they knew Immanuel gave the older gentlemen’s team a lot of points.”
Now Quickley will turn his attention to getting ready to report to UK June 2. His mother said he’s excited about getting to school and also the roster that Calipari is putting together for next year.
“He really thinks they are going to have a good team and he’s ready to start working with the players to get ready for a big, big year,” she said. “He's been doing all he can to stay ready so he can get off to a good start when he gets to Kentucky.”
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