The Kentucky Wildcats may have lost Tuesday night in Baton Rouge, but so would most college teams after losing players as important as Sahvir Wheeler and TyTy Washington at different points in the game due to injury.
Although Wheeler did not return today against Georgia, Washington sure did, and did so in record-breaking fashion. The Arizona native had a career day, recording 17 points on only 13 shots (no made threes and just one free throw) with a UK single-game record 17 assists, previously held by John Wall.
After the game, Washington took to Twitter and used a Space Jam/Michael Jordan reference, showing a picture of an empty bottle saying ‘TyTy’s secret stuff.’
Washington also said jokingly said that he only had 17 assists on 2k and the most he had at any level before tonight was 12!
This helped me rack up them assist pic.twitter.com/8tFSmaadEG— Tyty Washington (@tytywashington3) January 9, 2022
Coach Cal also had some jokes postgame, saying that he was disappointed with Washington’s two turnovers. Cal also referenced going forward that the Cats will use Washington in ways they have used other stars.
One example is Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray, who also played off the ball primarily at Kentucky, then became an NBA All-Star point guard.
Keion Brooks on playing with TyTy Washington versus Sahvir Wheeler at point: “With TyTy, he’s very good at passing the ball ahead, advancing the ball forward. Sahvir is a little different, he’s very fast with the ball… they both do great things for us.”— Tres Terrell (@TerrellTres) January 9, 2022
While Washington was magnificent today, this team absolutely needs Wheeler to reach its full potential, even if he were to ultimately surrender the No. 1 point guard duties to Washington.
In fact, Wheeler joked that Washington was now “PG1.” Wheeler was also pushing Washington to get the assists record.
TyTy Washington says Sahvir Wheeler was pushing him to go get that record, was calling him "PG1" after the game.— Jeff Drummond (@JDrumUK) January 9, 2022
While Washington didn’t play today, he was present and cheering on the Cats as they defeated Georgia. Though the game was close at halftime when Kentucky was up just 40-37, Wheeler actually helped with the second-half strategy that allowed the Cats to outscore the Dogs 52-40 en route to a 92-77 victory.
Calipari says that Sahvir Wheeler helped the team at halftime. "He stood up and said our game is pressuring people and get into their legs." #BBN— John Clay (@johnclayiv) January 9, 2022
Speaking of, Calipari made it pretty clear that Wheeler will play Tuesday at Vanderbilt so long as he’s able to practice Monday.
Calipari on Wheeler’s availability:— Kernel Sports (@KYKernelSports) January 9, 2022
“If he practices on Monday, he will be available for the game on Tuesday.”
Here’s to hoping Wheeler is a full-go come Monday, as Kentucky absolutely needs him to go 2-0 in a week that features games at Vanderbilt and home vs. the 18th-ranked Tennessee Volunteers.