Sahvir Wheeler describes himself as a "servant leader" on the court

Aritcle written by:Zack GeogheganZack Geoghegan

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Poing guard can be the most thankless on-court position in basketball. Whoever controls the ball and the offense is expected to make things operate with fluidity. When they do, they've met the expectation. And when they don't, they sure do hear about it from fans, media, and even coaches. Playing point guard is all about putting others--and yourself--in a position to score the ball. It takes an unselfish yet demanding player to undertake the role and do it effectively. When the point guard is more about himself than the team, it typically doesn't end well in terms of postseason success. Kentucky's new point guard, Sahvir Wheeler, understands that concept. He's thrived as a team leader the last two seasons as a member of the Georgia Bulldogs and should perform even better going forward as he embarks on his first year as a Wildcat. Considering the overall talent surrounding him should be light years ahead of what Georgia produced on the hardwood during the 2020-21 season, Wheeler is a perfect fit for what Kentucky will hopefully try to do next season: put three to four shooters on the floor, spread the offense out, and let the point guard make plays for others. If there is anyone on the upcoming Kentucky roster with the mindset to accept the challenge that comes with being a point guard--let alone a John Calipari-coached point guard--it would be Sahvir Wheeler. There is no "me, me, me" when it comes to Wheeler. He puts his teammates before him because he knows that's what will lead Kentucky back to the top of the rankings. That's how he's always played, anyways. "My leadership style, I would describe it as being a servant leader, to me," Wheeler told the media on Friday. "That’s how I am. I always want to put others first and make everyone else’s life easy. Because I know if everyone is satisfied, everyone else is happy, all those things are gonna come back to me." But it's not just about leading on the court by example, it means being a leader 24 hours a day, seven days a week, especially when the basketballs aren't bouncing. "My biggest thing is instilling confidence in others, empowering guys, making guys feel comfortable and happy, and going out there to perform your best whether it’s in basketball or outside of basketball," Wheeler added. "Or kinda being someone you want to hang around when you’re down. Continue to uplift your spirit when you’re getting that confidence. That’s how I would describe my leadership but also, on the flip side, holding guys accountable when I need to." This summer will make being a leader a lot easier than it was during the COVID-19 influenced summer of 2020, when players were constantly quarantined, missing out on important team bonding activities that weren't related to basketball. It can make it tougher to be a servant leader if the people you are trying to lead don't know who you are. Not only does Wheeler need to trust his teammates, but they also need to trust him just as much. Under Coach Calipari, Kentucky has never been a program that embraces or encourages "ball-hogging", and don't expect that to be the case with Wheeler running the show. He's not wired that way. He will be perfectly content with whatever his box score reads as long as the 'Cats have more points than the opponent after 40 minutes. Every team needs a player like that.

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2021-09-25