The words had to bring a smile to Coach John Calipari’s face.
Tuesday night, after the University of Kentucky Wildcats continued their early season, trying to flex your muscles and become a team, stretch of games by defeating Mount St. Mary’s 80-55 in Lexington, the cameras turned to transfer point guard – Sahvir Wheeler. In his postgame interview he recapped the game, the year this far and his role on the team. On more than one occasion he used two powerful words that were music to Wildcat ears, he talked about how he wanted to “share” and “serve” his teammates.
When you have a point guard with an attitude that desires to share and serve, it makes everyone better. It is exactly what you need to have with the up-tempo style of play this edition of the Cats are using this season. The game was another good opportunity for the Kentucky team to get ready for the upcoming SEC season and when it was all said and done there was much to be positive about.
The team was led by Oscar “The Force” Tshiebwe with 24 points, 16 rebounds, and 3 blocks. Ty Ty Washington added 16 points. Wheeler ran the offense and tossed in 12 points along with 8 assists. The Cats shot 53% from the floor and 40% behind the 3 point arc. They also were a perfect 8-8 from the free throw line.
The second half started with a 13-0 run which put the game out of reach, but this also was a night where the team took what the game offered to them. As the evening progressed, the up-tempo run and gun worked well and the inside was a place where the team could maneuver and score. The AirCal offense didn’t have to launch as many outside shots and instead gave us a chance to watch the team work inside and score 30 more points in the paint than the St. Mary’s team scored.
When it was all over, it was another good night and there were a lot of great takeaways for the team. But the one that stood out the most was the description of what we heard from Wheeler. The desire to serve and share to make his team better! A strong point guard and leader is essential for any team, the Kentucky style of play is always one where the team has to come together and learn to trust each other.
Cal preaches it, he talks about, he explains it, and he clearly has a point guard who at this early point in the season seems to get it.
Good things are on the way – sharing and serving matters.