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John Calipari and Sahvir Wheeler react to big addition for UK’s backcourt

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Wheeler is ready to lead UK back to the top of college basketball.

UK Athletics

The Kentucky Wildcats have officially signed Georgia Bulldogs transfer Sahvir Wheeler, the school announced Monday.

Wheeler, who will be a third-year player for the 2021-22 college basketball season, is a 5-10 guard from Houston (TX) who averaged 11.3 points and 5.8 assists per game in 57 career games with the Bulldogs.

“I chose the University of Kentucky because it gives me the best opportunity to make a run at a national championship and pursue my dreams of playing in the NBA,” Wheeler said in a press release. “I can’t wait to get to Lexington and get to work.”

The NCAA Division I Council recently adopted legislation allowing a one-time transfer without requirement to sit out a year. However, current SEC intraconference transfer rules remain in effect for a student-athlete in any sport, though league is expected to evaluate this rule in the near future.

Wheeler is one of several SEC players who’ve transferred to new SEC schools this offseason, as the belief is the league will start allowing intraconference transfers without requiring said transfers to sit out a season before being eligible to play.

“Sahvir is the kind of player that dictates the pace of the game, who gets easy baskets for himself and his teammates, and who can be disruptive defensively,” Kentucky head coach John Calipari said in a press release. “He is what you look for in a point guard in that he puts his teammates in positions to score, yet he can score the ball in bunches when he needs to. He was a second-team all-conference player as a sophomore and almost routinely put up games with double-digit assists, including setting the SEC Tournament record this last season with 13. I am excited for him to be a part of this program and my guess is our players will be too.”

Last season, Wheeler was a Second-Team All-SEC selection by both the league’s coaches and the media. He led the conference in assists per game with 7.4. He also led the Bulldogs in scoring with 14.0 per game and steals at 1.7 per contest. He was fifth in the country in assists per game and first among Power 6 conferences.

Wheeler broke Georgia’s single-season assist record with 193 (previous record was 169) and needed just 24 games to break the record. He was also the league’s best in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.7, becoming just the fourth player since 2000 to lead the conference in both assists per game and assist-to-turnover ratio.

Looking ahead, Wheeler will likely be Kentucky’s starting point guard to begin the 2021-22 season, though he’ll obviously get competition for that spot from incoming top-15 recruit TyTy Washington.

Regardless of how that battle plays out, Wheeler is exactly the kind of guard Kentucky badly needed. He’ll very likely have a prominent role throughout next season, even if Washington eventually earns the starting point guard spot.

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