Sahvir Wheeler knows John Calipari was right about Albany playing harder than Kentucky

Kentucky point guard Sahvir Wheeler knew Albany played harder than UK did even though the Cats won. (Jeff Houchin/Nolan Media)

One thing stood out more to Kentucky coach John Calipari than anything else in his team’s 86-61 win over Albany Monday night.

“They play really hard. Played harder than we played. If you watch the game, you said, ‘Dog gone it, they played harder,'” Calipari said.

The Kentucky coach was right — and that pleased Albany coach Dwayne Killings more than anything else. His team is winless but seeing Calipari frustrated with the way the Cats were playing, especially the first half, told Killings his team was making progress.

Albany has had trouble with turnovers this season but had just 10 against Kentucky.

“They turn it over. They didn’t today. So what does that tell you? They were playing harder than us and were ahead of the action versus us coming at them. That aggravated me more than anything,” Calipari said.

“Again, it wasn’t just one guy. It was like a team full of guys. But three or four, again, the same thing, this is good enough. No, it isn’t. You won’t be in. I’m taking you out.”

Kentucky point guard Sahvir Wheeler had 15 points, seven assists, and four rebounds but he also had five turnovers. He’s normally the energy maker for UK and he didn’t disagree with Calipari’s analysis of which team played harder even though UK won.

“They play really hard as a team. I don’t think Coach Cal was too far off on that. They play really hard and they made us compete,” Wheeler said. “We were only up nine at halftime. I believe that was it, and a lot of credit to them.

“Even when we made our run, and we were up 20, we can hear their coach coaching with passion and the players still believing they can win even though the game was already kind of decided. They played hard.”

What did that tell Wheeler about Kentucky?

“That just shows that we’ve got to play a little bit harder to be able to finish our plays so we can create those leads earlier in the game,” Wheeler said. “Against better competition when we’re down, we might not be able to wait so late to play so hard in order to come up with wins.”

6 Responses

  1. The biggest problem with our offense is where the shots come from. Our guards take more shots than our bigs, even though the bigs shoot a better percentage. It doesn’t work like that at Duke. Their bigs take twice as many shots as their guards do.
    Keion and Oscar should be getting at least 5 more shots each. Sahvir and Ty Ty need to shoot a little less and pass more without dribbling so much. The more shots the big guys get, the harder they play.

  2. This team is classic Calipari. It’s focus in on next June, not on the next game/next opponent, and from a fan’s point of view, it is never on winning a championship.

    This team will finish the year as a top 25 to top 30 team, it will have double digit losses, and it will not be a serious contender to move to a final four, much less play for a championship.

    How sad it is, but that is what it is. When is the next NBA draft, and who will be honored on that night!!!

    1. Makes me sick as UK fan that all Cal is focused on is how many he can send to the NBA. The fans want another Championship team but yet we don’t even win the SEC tournament anymore. Then he puts together a schedule of high school teams that he knows can’t beat us. Pathetic.

        1. Larry, of course there is always hope that this team will transform into a monster by March, but over the years, I have observed that teams define themselves in how they play the first 5 to 8 games. There is nothing for me to believe this team will be any different, and this team’s first 5 games define a team that is ranked between #25 and #30 by efficiency, and that is not a team with a legitimate chance to compete for a spot in the final 4, much less a championship.

          The next 3 games will refine that view, but so much of the noise in the data is settling down now that the impact of the next 3 games will be subtle, not dramatic.

  3. You guys act like we should be world beaters. I like what I’m seeing and the thing is this team hasn’t been 100 percent as a team yet. So get off your high horse just watch the team grow as the season goes along.

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