Sahvir Wheeler excited to return to Rupp Arena, College Basketball's Biggest Platform

by:Nick Roush05/19/21


This fall Sahvir Wheeler will return to Rupp Arena under much different circumstances. The former UK foe is excited to return to a college basketball environment unlike any other. Even though he's the most recent addition to John Calipari's roster, he's one of only two players (Keion Brooks) that has actually played in front of a full capacity crowd at Rupp Arena. In January of 2020, Wheeler was a freshman on the visiting sideline. The Georgia point guard was held scoreless in 17 minutes of action. "To defend myself a little bit there, that game I was battling an ankle injury. I was wearing a boot beforehand and after the game, so that kind of hindered my performance there," Wheeler said, before heaping praise on his new home. “Rupp Arena, obviously, is a one-of-a-kind environment and one of the best environments in college basketball," he told reporters Wednesday. "It’s a big-time, big-time place. Like, when you come into Rupp, I’m like, ‘Bro, am I playing in the NBA right now?’ So, it’s a one-of-a-kind thing and I’m super excited to be able to play as the home team and be able to represent Big Blue Nation and go out there and be excited and win games and have Kentucky back where it’s supposed to be.” Wheeler has already proved that he can play at an elite level in the SEC. A second team All-SEC selection in 2021, he's just the third player of the Calipari era to return to school with all-conference honors, following Patrick Patterson and Terrence Jones. It's one thing to lead the league in assists at Georgia. It would mean significantly more if Wheeler could replicate that production and improve while wearing a Kentucky uniform. “I think the biggest thing is 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. I’ve never got to play with the elite athleticism, the size, the length, the versatility with the wings and the forwards. And also, being able to play for a coaching staff who has put multiple point guards in the NBA Draft, who has developed them throughout the years and given them confidence and empowered them. Not only that, but me being very familiar with the SEC. I’ve been in this conference for two years. I’m almost like a vet now. 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.”

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