LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky basketball only has one commitment in the Class of 2018, but 5-star point guard Immanuel Quickley doesn’t expect to be alone much longer. He’s been actively recruiting other top players to join him and told SEC Country on Monday that he’s feeling good about two in particular: 5-stars Zion Williamson and Keldon Johnson.
Williamson, the sky-walking small forward who is ranked No. 2 overall in the class, took an official visit to Kentucky last week for Big Blue Madness — as did center Bol Bol (ranked No. 3) and guard Darius Garland (ranked No. 10). Quickley couldn’t make that trip because of obligations to his high school team in Maryland, but he wasted no time following up with Williamson.
“He said it was even better in person. He liked it a lot,” said Quickley, who has spent months selling Williamson on their connection from the Adidas AAU circuit and as roommates at several international events. “I think in the end it’ll work. I think Kentucky fits him and I know he liked the visit, so I think it’ll work.”
Quickley got Big Blue Nation excited Saturday when he tweeted a picture of both him and Williamson in UK uniforms — but he clarified to SEC Country that he wasn’t making any kind of announcement.
“Nah, nah, nah,” he said, laughing, “just trying to get one of my good friends to come play with me.”
Quickley has not spoken to Bol or Garland about their experience at Madness and doesn’t know where the Wildcats stand in their recruitments, but he is confident about Johnson, a 6-foot-6 shooting guard ranked No. 14 overall in the 247Sports Composite.
“I’ve been talking to Keldon a lot. He says he likes Kentucky a lot, too, so hopefully I can get him to come with me,” Quickley said. “I think Kentucky is definitely his leader.”
That qualifies as big new news — and SEC Country had been hearing similar buzz in recent days — considering Maryland, N.C. State and Texas have all been recruiting Johnson longer and have at one point all appeared to be his leader. Those schools are still in the mix, just as Kansas and Clemson are threats to land Williamson, but Quickley is hopeful he’s about to have some company in Kentucky’s 2018 class.
“I can’t say when, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some decisions come before basketball season,” he said. “I’m just trying to get all my friends to come play with me. I just want to play with good players.”