Washington and Wheeler: A look at basketball and Batman


Kentucky Wildcats guard Sahvir Wheeler (2) celebrates with guard TyTy Washington Jr. (3) after drawing a foul during the UK vs. Miles College exhibition basketball game on Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. UK won 80-71. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff

Hunter Shelton

Second Team All-SEC members, backcourt mates, friends, movie-goers, TyTy Washington and Sahvir Wheeler have developed a bond that comes with them on and off the basketball court.

“On the court, we feel like we’re both guards on our team; we’re the leaders on the court so we always stay connected,” Washington said. “Me and him, we’ve both got really great personalities. Every time we’re in the game, no matter what’s the score or time or situation, we’re always laughing, sticking our tongues out. It just really shows that we care about each other.”

The duo will take those great personalities, along with their great basketball skills, down south to Tampa Bay, Florida, for the SEC Tournament.

When it gets down to brass tax, Washington has a much clearer mindset on what’s at stake inside Amalie Arena.

“It’s life or death, really. We’re taking every game one at a time,” he said. “We know if we lose, we’re going back home, and we want to stay out in Tampa as long as we can. The goal is just to stay together, stay connected, buy-in to what coaches are saying, and ultimately just get wins.”

Life or death. Washington rated the new Batman movie an 8.5/10, by the way.

Wheeler, on the other hand, sees Tampa as an opportunity to bolster the Cats’ résumé one final time before Selection Sunday.

“We’re trying to win it, obviously, but we’re also trying to make sure we do what we’re doing to get ready for the NCAA Tournament, playing for seeding, making sure that we can be the highest seed that we can, making sure we’re continuing to get better as a team,” he said.

As if the pair needed any extra motivation for the March festivities, not being named to the All-SEC First Team gives them both another reason to prove themselves on a big stage.

“Both seeing our names on the Second Team list, we had a little bit of something to say about that,” Washington said. “But other than that, we’re just going to go out and finish the rest of this season out strong and show everybody why we feel like we’re the best backcourt in the nation.”

For Wheeler, the Second Team nod is his second in as many years.

Averaging 10.1 points and a league-best 6.9 assists per game, the Georgia transfer once again established himself as a dynamic threat to any defense.

Washington checks in at 12.2 points, four assists and 3.4 rebounds a game, all of which rank top-three amongst the Wildcats.

Further cementing their cases for First Team selections, both players missed a combined seven games due to injury this season, yet were still able to maintain their gaudy numbers.

“I’m pleased where I’m at, and also considering TyTy and I missed some time, we missed some games. Maybe, who knows, if we go out there and we win some of those games and we perform well, maybe that would have put us over the edge for the First Team,” Wheeler said.

With games coming in hot and heavy this month, both Washington and Wheeler made sure to state that they were both back to being healthy, although we know they’d be out there playing anyways, even if they weren’t 100 percent.

March means madness, and the Cats are ready to leave it all out on the court.

“We’re going to battle until the clock says triple zero at the end,” Washington said. “We’re never going to give up, no matter who we play against. We’re going to just go out and play hard and fight.”

Call the Cat signal, Batman. It’s tournament time in Tampa.