With all the turnover on Kentucky’s roster, we can’t let one returning player (who has the potential to be a star) get lost in the shuffle.
Sacha Killeya-Jones played just 15 games last year, averaging only 2.7 points and 2.1 rebounds per game. He didn’t play a single game for about the final three months of the season. But he’s a former McDonald’s All-American, and it appears that he plans to return despite much speculation that he would transfer.
The Louisville Courier-Journal confirmed that Killeya-Jones won’t be transferring and will remain at UK for his sophomore season, which shouldn’t come as a surprise based on what he’s said all along.
"I came here for a reason and it's been a great experience so far," Killeya-Jones said in March. "I'm going to stick to the plan, obviously, and just keep working on what I'm going to work on and keep getting better."
Kentucky has lost eight players, and that could be nine if Hamidou Diallo keeps his name in the NBA Draft. With all that change, the Wildcats will need a steadying had. Killeya-Jones hasn’t played a lot, but he knows how the program works. It’s been a much different game for SKJ at this level, and it took him time to adjust.
"Learning experience has been crazy this (2016-17) year," he said. "Physically, going against those dudes was just a whole different step up from high school, obviously. And then being around and in his program and learning from Coach Cal and everything, my mental state has gone to a different level, too. I've learned a lot and grown a lot as a player since I've gotten here."
He’ll have experience, he’s adjusted at this level, and now he’ll have a chance to start and play significant minutes.