UK assistant is surprised by Wheeler’s passing prowess

Published 5:00 pm Friday, August 19, 2022

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New Kentucky assistant basketball coach KT Turner admits Sahvir Wheeler is a better passer than he realized even though he led the SEC in assists the last two years.

“He is very underrated. He is really a great passer and he is all about winning,” Turner said during UK’s exhibition trip in the Bahamas. “One thing he does as a point guard is he knows who is on and where to get them shots. He will find you and he gets his teammates a lot of open shots.

“He keeps up with the game. He notices what happens. He knows who is hot but he also knows who has not had a shot in a while.”

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Guard CJ Fredrick says there is no doubt Wheeler is a needed team leader. Transfer Antonio Reeves said in UK’s win over the Bahamas in Sunday’s game that it was Wheeler who took charge in the huddle with UK eight points down in the first half.

“It was heated but he talked to the team and led like he should. I do not remember exactly what he said but it was mainly about the defensive side and we got his message,” Reeves said.

Fredrick said he’s also a special point guard on the court.

“Sahvir is so electric. He starts it on defense. He makes you work for everything,” Fredrick said. “He is always controlling the tempo and pace. That’s our floor general.”

Fredrick says there’s no doubt Wheeler is the fastest player with the ball he has played with or against.

“That’s why a lot of teams don’t press us. He will go right by you,” Fredrick said.

Assistant coach Orlando Antigua said there were a lot of things Wheeler did well in the four exhibition games.

“He went against big guards, veteran guards and kept playing the way he plays,” Antigua said. “He puts immense pressure on guards and (freshman) Cason (Wallace) is learning that. Sahvir uses his physicality to cause problems.

“He’s the best point guard in the country leading the team and then defending the way he has, that is great.”

Wheeler scored 21 points on 7-of-11 shooting and also had four assists, two steals and a blocked shot in Sunday’s win over the Bahamas. He averaged 14.5 points, 6.0 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.3 rebounds per game in the four games. He also had only six turnovers in 94 minutes.