Wheeler says experience will help UK

Published 8:35 am Saturday, July 2, 2022

If senior point guard Sahvir Wheeler is right, it is going to help Kentucky a lot having players like Oscar Tshiebwe and himself back after playing one year under John Calipari.

“When they (teammates) make mistakes, just being able to be like ‘Hey man, it’s good, you’re good.’ It’s all part of the growing process and all part of learning and going into a new environment where you aren’t totally comfortable, you’re gonna make mistakes,” Wheeler said.

“Things are gonna happen that don’t go your way. Us being that calming presence — it’s happened to the best of us.”

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Wheeler understands the impact an older, experienced teammate can have when a player is having a bad game because it has happened to him.

“I feel like that’s already happened with some of the workouts. Guys might get a little frustrated, like bro it’s new, it’s completely new. You’ve never ran this hard, you’ve never worked this hard before in your life, it’s all right, we’re gonna be with you every step of the way,” Wheeler said.

“I think Oscar and I have done a really good job and continue to do that with the rest of our teammates, just picking each other up, lifting each other, empowering each other, to work hard and be the best versions of ourselves.”

Dillingham hopes to play with Wagner

Robert Dillingham’s verbal commitment to Kentucky last week gives coach John Calipari two guards in his 2023 recruiting class as he already had a commitment from North Laurel star Reed Sheppard, the son of former UK Final Four MVP Jeff Sheppard.

Dillingham is rated a top five overall player in the 2023 recruiting class by ESPN and No. 2 point guard. Sheppard is No. 29 overall in the ESPN rankings and 17th in the Rivals ratings.

The best news for UK is that Dillingham told ESPN’s Paul Biancardi already knows Reed Sheppard.

“I have known him since we were younger. He’s got sneaky bounce and is a knock-down shooter,” Dillingham told Biancardi.

Kentucky is also recruiting guard DJ Wagner, the No. 1 player in the 2023 class. However, Wagner’s grandfather, Milt, was recently hired at Louisville and was on the 1986 Louisville national championship team with Kenny Payne, Louisville’s news coach.

“I really feel we could feed off each other by scoring and making assists,” Dillingham told Biancardi. “We could easily play together and learn from each other. DJ is crazy good. He is one of the toughest players I have seen. A shot-maker and scorer.”