A transfer from the University of Georgia, Wheeler is confident the Southeastern Conference will waive a rule that requires transfers from one league school to the other to sit out a year.
“ I wouldn’t have made the move if I felt like I was going to have to sit out this year,” he said. “But, I think that rule is going to pass. Hopefully it will. I’m pretty sure it will.”
In his two seasons with the Bulldogs, Wheeler developed a reputation as one of the top up-and-coming point guards in the SEC. Wheeler isn’t afraid to pass up a shot and dish to his teammates, but also is known to take over the game in the scoring department.
“I feel like I’m the fastest or one of the fastest Coach (John Calipari) is going to have,” he said. “I’m probably up there with (De’Aaron) Fox. It’s pretty ironic because Fox is from Houston (Texas).”
Because of his size, Wheeler compares himself to former Kentucky guard Tyler Ulis and also doesn’t mind “guarding the ball, being a defensive pest and being disruptive on that end.”
“If I’m getting that comparison, I think I’m doing some things right,” he said. “Obviously, I have to continue to get better to live up to that, but I’m super excited. He was a successful guard in college. He was super successful here at the University of Kentucky and I’m really cool with that. I’m also cool with being the next, the one and only Sahvir Wheeler as well.”
Wheeler also considers himself a student of the game and studied past players at Kentucky, including Fox and Ulis.
“I feel like this league was built for guards like me to play fast, to be up-tempo, to be productive,” he said. “They’ve had a lot of guards come through Kentucky, obviously, who were all those things. So, that’s why I guess I consider myself a Kentucky historian per se a little bit. I’m just super excited to be here.”
Kentucky’s newest edition on the roster also doesn’t lack in self confidence and admitted “he wouldn’t be here” if he didn’t trust in his own abilities.
“You’ve got to have a little bit of self-confidence and know what you bring to a team no matter who’s there,” Wheeler said. “But, Coach Cal was very straight-up and genuine from the beginning. Like, I knew that he was recruiting another guard and I knew that it would be a guard that we could complement each other. TyTy (Washington) is unselfish. I’m unselfish. He can score. I can score. He can really shoot it. That’s something I’m working on and hopefully you all are going to be able to say that about me at the end of the year.”
Wheeler said the biggest reason he transferred to Kentucky is because of the platform.
“The platform that Kentucky has, the stage that if you’re excelling and you’re competing at a high level and you’re being productive, that puts you in a different atmosphere, a different environment than anywhere else,” he said. “Also, just looking from a roster standpoint, I’ve never got to play with elite shooters like Kentucky has this year on its roster, especially in college.”
Going into his third season in the league, Wheeler considers himself a veteran.
“I know what to expect. I know the different coaching styles and the different coaching staffs and what they like. I know what it takes to win. Not only that, I am all-conference, I am All-SEC here, so it’s a conference I’m super familiar with and comfortable with and also productive in.”
Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter @keithtaylor21.