It has not been an easy season for Kentucky freshman Sacha Killeya-Jones.
After coming into this season as a top tier recruit and a potential starter alongside the rest of Kentucky's fabulous freshmen, the skilled big man from North Carolina simply hasn't seen the floor at all this season. Sunday's victory in the SEC Championship against Arkansas marked the 14th consecutive game in which Jones did not log a single minute. The last time Killeya-Jones played any was January 21st against South Carolina, and he does not have a single point since January 7th against Arkansas.
Calipari has yet to say much at all about Sacha throughout this season, not giving any sort of official reasoning as to why Killeya-Jones has sat on the bench for most of this season. Not to say that Calipari doesn't have his reasonings, but according to Sacha's interview with Jerry Tipton of the Herald-Leader, even he isn't completely sure why he doesn't play.
"I’ve just got to, I guess, stick with my practice and everything," he said. "Probably (in need of) more consistency. Keep working on that."
You can't help but feel bad for the kid. Any high rated recruit, which Killeya-Jones was, comes into college with hopes of playing and contributing for a team. Sadly for Sacha, it just hasn't happened this year. We can understand his frustrations, but it is the maturity that Jones has shown through these struggles that is more impressive than anything.
Plenty of talented players in similar situations would surely look to transfer or get away from the program. Kentucky has seen it happen recently with Charles Matthews and Marcus Lee both transferring out from Kentucky.
There's obviously no disdain towards them or between them and the program because of it, but it takes another level of patience and dedication for a player like Sacha to commit himself to staying and getting better despite things not going the way he had planned. For anybody who is convinced that he is done and transferring, Jones made sure to shoot that rumor down.
"I don’t know where you heard that. But, no, I came here for a reason, and I’m doing that. I came here to get better. I came here to learn. I came here to be around the best. And that’s what I’m going to do."
Sacha has plenty of potential to be a phenomenal player. It may take time for that phenomenal player to evolve fully, but the most that we can do as fans is stick behind him through his development and continue to cheer him on. Based on what he has said Sacha isn't giving up on Kentucky, so no fans should be giving up on him.