It’s very rare for a five-star high school prospect to not even see the floor as a college freshman, but that’s what is happening to Sacha Killeya-Jones.
A consensus top-25 prospect in the 2016 class, Killeya-Jones hasn’t appeared in a game since Jan. 21 in a blowout win over South Carolina. He’s received 11 DNPs this season for a UK team that hasn’t exactly gotten consistent production in the post.
Even Tai Wynyard has gotten more playing time than Sacha as the season has worn on, and we’re left to wonder why the talented freshman doesn't see the floor. On Friday, John Calipari explained why, saying it’s just him being behind the other guys that’s kept him from getting playing time, but the two have talked and had positive conversations about it.
"He’s still working. He’s trying," Cal said of Killeya-Jones. "Guys are ahead of him right now, and that’s a hard deal. He’s a little bit behind, but I’ve had some individual meetings with him, talked to him, and he said, ‘I understood coming here, that this was going to be hard, so I’ve gotta work through it.'"
It certainly didn’t help that Killeya-Jones came down the with an illness that kept him sidelined for about two weeks, which allowed guys like Wynyard and Isaac Humphries to bolster their lead over him for minutes.
I still think it’s possible Killeya-Jones is able to earn more minutes by the time the NCAA Tournament begins. He’s arguably the best shot-blocker on this team, and that’s something UK certainly needs more of.
All said, Killeya-Jones will be a critical piece to next year’s team if he’s able to battle through this and keep grinding. A lot of guys in his position would strongly consider a transfer, but it doesn’t appear that’s in the cards for Sacha.