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Kentucky Basketball Preview: Sacha Killeya-Jones

As we preview the UK roster for 2016-17, our first preview takes a look at Sacha Killeya-Jones.

NCAA Basketball: Kentucky Midnight Madness Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

#1 Sacha Killeya-Jones

Height: 6’10

Weight: 230

Position: Forward

Class: Freshman

High School: Virginia Episcopal

Hometown: Chapel Hill, NC

Recruit ratings: Rivals: ***** (#24), ESPN: ***** (#24), 24/7: ***** (24), Scout: **** (#27), 247 ***** (#24)

Twitter: @The_SKJ

Instagram: @The_SKJ

Sacha comes to Kentucky as a proven winner as he led his high school team to a state championship and his AAU team to back to back national titles. He was a two-time All-State selection and the player of the year for North Carolina as a senior and a thousand point scorer for his career.

Killeya-Jones was actually committed to Virginia, but decommitted on June 2, 2015. It did not take him long to decide to become a Wildcat as he committed to John Calipari on August 26, 2015.

Like Anthony Davis, Sacha experienced a tremendous growth spurt in high school He grew about 10 inches in high school and as a result, has some smaller player skills that made him a matchup nightmare in high school.



-Great physical profile. Good frame that will continue to fill out in time. Long arms (7-2 wingspan, 9-1 standing reach). Big hands.

-Terrific size for a power forward at 6-9 ½ without shoes.

-Bouncy athlete. Can play above the rim with relative ease. Moves like a wing. Outstanding body control for his size.

-Versatile scorer – 25.2 points per 40 minutes pace adjusted. Natural touch. Very good in face up situations. Uses spin moves. Can make turnarounds from the mid post. Able to straight-line attack from the perimeter. Solid handle for his size.

-Nice touch from three. Made 4-of-8 3-pointers and 68% of his free throws. Good mechanically. Gets very good arc on his shot. Not a finished product as a shooter but shows potential.

-Has the tools to be a solid defender and rebounder.

-Just turned 17 years old two days ago.


-Doesn't have a great feel for the game. Can be a bit of a black hole. Had only six assists compared with 25 turnovers in 10 games on the adidas circuit. Spins into double teams. Poor understanding of where the help defense is.

-Disinterested on the defensive end. Has the tools and mobility but stands around a bit too often. Motor comes and goes on that end. Reaction time and awareness is average as well.

-Posted just .7 steals and 1.5 blocks per-40 minutes at adidas events this summer, which is very poor considering his physical tools and the level of competition. Partially a product of his lack of awareness, and partially due to lack of intensity?

-Not much of a rebounder at this stage – 8 boards per 40 minutes pace adjusted. Can be tougher on the defensive glass and show more fight on the offensive glass.

-Very good frame but still has some room to get stronger and tougher. Only 202 pounds at the moment


Since his arrival in Lexington, Sacha is already turning heads and impressing even John Calipari. Killeya-Jones took advantage of the Wildcats strength program and added a lot of bulk to his frame. In addition, Sacha has developed both mentally and physically and that has caught the attention of Calipari:

Sacha’s body is not the same as it was two and a half months ago,” he said. “They’re so young that it’s like putting water on a flower. They just start to blossom. Look, I knew Sacha was good – I wouldn’t have him here if I didn’t think he was good – but I didn’t know he was this good.

If that does not get you excited, I am not sure what will. Killeya-Jones is still growing into his frame and he will only get better as the season progresses.

He has a wingspan of 7'2 and will play above the rim. Even though he will likely play at the PF spot, he plays like a wing and has a decent shot from long-range. He is a versatile scorer that is able to beat larger players off the dribble and can score consistently from inside or out. The added bulk will make him even more of a mismatch.

The negatives that I saw on Killeya-Jones concern his defense and his feel for the game. From early reports, his defense has improved and he will only benefit from Kentucky's practices, which can be tougher than some of the early season games he will face.

The early 2017 mock drafts do not have Killeya-Jones listed at this time, but expect that to change rapidly as the season progresses. Sacha has been a double-double machine for most of his career and I would not expect that to change at Kentucky.