Arguably the best passer in the transfer portal could be what Kentucky needs.
Georgia transfer Sahvir Wheeler is one of the best guards to hit the transfer portal this offseason, so it’s no surprise that guard-needy Kentucky has recruited him along with Kansas and LSU among others.
However, Wheeler has largely been viewed as a fallback option when it comes to Kentucky, but it appears he’s now at or near the top of John Calipari’s big board for point guards.
Since this past weekend’s Iverson Classic, buzz has been building that Kentucky is a serious threat to land Wheeler.
Now, 247 Sports recruiting ace Travis Branham has logged a crystal ball prediction in favor of the Wildcats. It’s the first prediction of any kind for Wheeler, who is arguably the best pass-first guard currently in the transfer portal. Kyle Tucker of The Athletic also thinks Kentucky lands Wheeler along with TyTy Washington.
This past season as a true sophomore, Wheeler led the SEC in the assists and was fourth nationally at 7.4 per game, which also ranked first among Power 6 conferences. He averaged 14.0 points and 1.7 steals but shot 39.9% from the field (22.5% from deep) with 4.4 turnovers per game.
As a freshman, Wheeler’s numbers were more efficient as he averaged 9.0 points on 47.2% shooting (32% from deep) with 4.5 assists vs. 2.9 turnovers per game. His field-goal attempts nearly doubled from his freshman (7.0 per game) to sophomore (13.0) seasons, as Georgia was vastly undermanned this past season.
With Kentucky loading up on shooters, bringing in a distributing point guard may be the best way to go for Calipari and co. With a supporting cast that may include TyTy Washington, Keion Brooks, Kellan Grady, Dontaie Allen and CJ Fredrick, Wheeler could be just what Kentucky needs instead of pursuing other scoring-focused guards who could make ball distribution a major weakness for this team.
And Wheeler obviously wouldn’t have to take double-digit shots per game and could focus more on getting the ball to the efficient scorers Kentucky now has that Georgia lacked this past year.
And because Wheeler would be more of a pass-first guard, perhaps this helps Kentucky’s chances of keeping Davion Mintz. Though if the Cats land Wheeler and Washington, it’s hard to see Mintz feeling there’s enough room for him to shine on next season’s roster.
Currently, Wheeler is exploring his NBA Draft options while maintaining college eligibility, but he’s expected to eventually withdraw and return for a third season of college basketball.
Wheeler is already down to a final four of Kentucky, LSU, Kansas and Oklahoma State with a decision likely coming before June 1st. For what it’s worth, KSR’s Jack Pilgrim thinks Kentucky’s backcourt could be set by this weekend, which suggests Wheeler could pop any day now while Washington makes his pledge on Saturday.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments section!