Preparing for his second season as Kentucky’s starting point guard, Sahvir Wheeler is doing everything possible to set itself up for an improved 2022-23 campaign.
Late in the season, Wheeler suffered a wrist injury that forced him to miss two games. When he returned, the leader struggled mightily.
In the SEC Tournament, he shot a combined 7-for-24 (29.1%) from the field and was a scoreless 0-for-4 three-pointer in two games turning the ball over five times, including by committing four turnovers against Vanderbilt. .
In Kentucky’s stunning NCAA Tournament first-round loss to 15th seed Saint Peter’s, Wheeler shot 50% from the field and hit one of his two three-point attempts but was a dismal 2 for 5 from the free throw line and committed six costly turnovers.
In an interview with BBN Tonight’s Keith Farmer, Kentucky coach John Calipari suggested Wheeler may have struggled with weight-related conditioning after sitting out with the injury and not spending much time on the training ground.
“When he got injured, he put on eight or nine pounds,” Calipari said.
Wheeler didn’t say he wasn’t feeling well when he met the media after a day at summer camp.
“I gained weight naturally, but that wasn’t a problem — I’m not on Weight Watchers or anything like that,” Wheeler laughed.
However, the playmaker said he is working on ways to improve his overall health and stamina: eating a much improved diet.
“When I went home for the spring, for discipline, I took some things out of my diet and allowed myself to slim down a bit,” Wheeler said. That way if I decide not to play basketball for a week or whatever, I can eat whatever I want and be in a good weight range.
“I don’t eat red meat. No red meat. I haven’t made pasta, I haven’t made rice for about half the month. All month I’ve been taking out bread.
With a cleaner diet, Wheeler feels better physically and mentally.
“It’s just about having cleaner fuel for your body to be more efficient. I feel a lot better than I used to.”
“I’m as fast, even faster than I used to be. More explosive than I was last year, definitely faster, I feel strong. Just like a global human being, I’m in a big space physically and mentally. I can’t wait to get out there and improve with my team ahead of BBN once again.”
A faster, more explosive Wheeler also works on all aspects of his ground game.
Wheeler, who was a Bob Cousy Award finalist last season, averaged 10.9 points per game and 6.9 assists, which ranked third in the nation.
However, he struggled to shoot as he shot just 44.1% from the field, 30.8 from three and averaged three turnovers per game.
“Every aspect of my game is certain,” Wheeler said when asked what part of his game he wanted to improve before the start of the season. “Just keep becoming a better basketball player.”