Men's Basketball

Sahvir Wheeler One of Five Finalists for Bob Cousy Award

by Deb Moore

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky guard Sahvir Wheeler was named one of five finalists for the Bob Cousy Award on Monday. Wheeler leads the Southeastern Conference and ranks third nationally with 7.0 assists per game. He’s also averaging 9.8 points per game for the Wildcats.
 
Wheeler is joined by James Akinjo (Baylor), Andrew Nembhard (Gonzaga), Tyger Campbell (UCLA) and Collin Gillsepie (Villanova) as the finalists.
 
“The five point guards who have been selected as finalists for this prestigious award have proven themselves as the most premier floor generals in the country,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. “They have continually demonstrated the playmaking and leadership skills that Bob Cousy was famous for, which will help them and their teams as they finish out the season in search of a national title.”
 
A national committee of top college basketball personnel determined the watch list of 20 candidates in November, which was narrowed to 10 in late January, and now to the five finalists. In March, the finalists will be presented to Mr. Cousy and the Hall of Fame’s selection committee. The winner of the 2022 Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award will be determined by a combination of fan votes and input from the Basketball Hall of Fame’s selection committee. Naismith Starting Five Fan Voting presented by Dell Technologies will go live Friday, March 4 on hoophallawards.com.
 
“It has brought me great joy to watch many young men develop from collegiate athletes to professionals, with some of the very best having received an award that humbly bears my name,” said Bob Cousy, Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 1971. “There is certainly a unique brotherhood between recipients and it’s always a privilege to work with the committee to determine our annual winner.”
 
The winner of the 2022 Bob Cousy Award will be announced on ESPN, along with the other nine members of the Men’s and Women’s Naismith Starting Five. Additional information about the award presentation, including a date and time, will be released by the Hall of Fame in the coming weeks.
 
Kentucky has had one player in program history earn the distinguished honor when Tyler Ulis won the award in 2016.
 
This is the second-consecutive season Wheeler is leading the Southeastern Conference in assists after he paced the conference in both assists and assist-to-turnover ratio at Georgia last season. His 193 assists in 2020-21 broke Georgia’s previous single-season assists record by 24 dimes despite a shortened season.
 
Wheeler’s current rate of 7.00 assists per game is a shade behind of Ulis’ 7.03 average when he set the UK single-season assists record in 2015-16 with 246 dimes. Wheeler entered the season ranked sixth among all returners nationally in career assists per game. With 175 assists this season, Wheeler ranks 12th in UK single-season history in the category. He is just seven assists shy of breaking into the top 10.
 
The Houston native had a breakout performance in a dominating win over North Carolina when he scored 26 points and added eight assists with four steals in the CBS Sports Classic. According to BigBlueHistory.net he became the first player in school history to post at least 26 points, at least eight assists and at least four steals in the same game.
 
He earned SEC Player of the Week accolades following the performance against the Tar Heels.
 
But that’s been far from his only standout performance. Wheeler has reached double-digit scoring in 12 games and has eight or more assists in 11 games, including a career-high 14 in a win over North Florida.
 
Wheeler directed one of the best offensive performances in program history in a 107-79 win over No. 22 Tennessee. He accounted for 21 points and dished out eight assists en route to leading the Wildcats to their most points scored against an Associated Press Top 25 team since 1994. It was also the most points the Volunteers had yielded in 15 seasons.
 
Furthermore, UK made 38 of 56 (67.9%) from the floor. That marked the highest field-goal percentage in any game for the Wildcats under John Calipari. Kentucky also became the first team to post a 60-60-90 shooting line in an SEC game in 25 years.
 
With Wheeler directing the offense, UK has scored 90 or more points in seven games this season. That’s the most since the 2016-17 season.
 
Wheeler and the Wildcats will return to action with a home contest against Ole Miss on Tuesday. Tip is set for 7 p.m. and the game will air live on ESPN.
 
For the latest on the Kentucky men’s basketball team, follow @KentuckyMBB on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, and on the web at UKathletics.com.
 

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