“I think I’m going to have a really good year,” Sahvir Wheeler ready to thrive in first year at Kentucky


Kentucky head coach John Calipari discusses a play with his team during a timeout in the game against Florida on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 65-59. Photo by Jordan Prather | Staff

Hunter Shelton

Week two of Kentucky basketball’s satellite camps continued Friday, as coach Calipari and company returned home to Lexington to host a father and son camp at Memorial Coliseum.  

At the camp, Georgia transfer Sahvir Wheeler spoke to the media, talking basketball and his transition from Athens to Lexington.  

 “It’s been super cool and super surreal and it’s just a blessing,” Wheeler said in his reaction to the camps held so far. I’ve never done an interview like this up close with you guys, and everyone just knowing my name, knowing where I come from, knowing the success I had. Just showing their love and belief in me and how happy they are that I’m here. That’s been the biggest thing.” 

Wheeler, who comes to the Bluegrass after two seasons with Georgia, is ready to use his SEC experience to benefit himself and his teammates.  

 “There’s going to be a time when we have to fight through adversity and me being there, me being a leader, being a guy who can get everyone together and keep them loose and constantly empowered and still confident, I think that’s where I’m going to come in,” Wheeler said.  

In his two-year career with the Bulldogs, Wheeler averaged 11.3 points and 5.8 assists. In his sophomore campaign, the 5-foot-10 guard led the SEC in assists and was top-five in the nation in assists per game with 7.4. Wheeler also led the Bulldogs in scoring last season, averaging 14.0 per game. 

 “I’m working on my shooting as I have done all summer and I’m already seeing a lot of progress. So, it’s going to benefit me playing with guys who can really space the floor but it’s also going to benefit them because it’s hard to deal with a guy like me coming downhill full speed at you where you have to decide if you want to stop me or give up a three to a 40-plus percent three-point shooter,” Wheeler said.  

 While Wheeler’s top skill may be dishing the rock, he’s expecting more out of his shooting this season to compliment his game: 

 “35-plus (percent) definitely,” Wheeler said when asked what he expects from his outside shooting this season. “I’ve put in a lot of time, a lot of reps. The confidence has always been there but fixing some things mechanically. I think I’m going to have a really good year. 

 Wheeler, a native of Houston, is used to being labeled as undersized, and he’s ready to show Big Blue Nation that height won’t be an issue come this season: 

 “I might not be the biggest but I’m probably one of the strongest and fastest. I guess two out of three that’s not so bad,” Wheeler told the press. I’ve been the fastest guy on the floor, I’m the lowest to the ground, I have the best center of gravity. I’m the quickest, I can get to balls, I can challenge on the defensive end. Offensively, it’s harder to contain smaller guards. 

 Many people would describe Wheeler as an underdog, someone who is going to fight tooth and nail to get whatever he can on the court. While Wheeler admires that mindset, he isn’t eager to be labeled as such: 

 “No matter where you are, no matter what’s going on, you’ve got to be that guy knowing who you are and you can take over any place you’re at. It’s never been an underdog, it’s more of like I deserve to be here. I know I should be here, I know why. I’m qualified and I’m the best here.” 

 Wheeler joins Kellan Grady and C.J. Fredrick as guards to transfer to Lexington this offseason. Alongside incoming freshman TyTy Washington and the returning Dontaie Allen, Calipari will have plenty of options in the backcourt come game one of the 2021-22 season.