Wheeler looked like Tigger in a huge bounce-back game confident and focused.
Wheeler took a lot of heat from the media and on social media following his awful game against Notre Dame where he badly missed all five shots, turned the ball over, and looked completely out of sorts earning a seat for most of the finishing minutes.
But instead of sulking he regained the spring in his step and found a way to get the ball into the basket and into the player’s hands for wide-open looks.
Like Tigger, he kept bouncing and bouncing and darting and driving from one end of the floor to the other and nearly had a career night missing that mark by one point.
“None of that was in my mind. Everyone is going to have a bad game. It just so happened it was that game and we lost. But I’m a confident kid I hope as many people can tell, and I play for the big lights. This is why I came here, to play against the best, to be challenged every day in practice by my teammates, by my coaches, and play a tough schedule where we got to play, you got to show up to win, you got to win your matchup.”
The Georgia transfer went from being scored to the first Kentucky player over the last 25 seasons to score 25 points, hand out eight assists, and swipe four steals in a single game. He simply smiled at the end of the bench in the end.
Calipari told him time after time this week all he wanted him to do was lead and that didn’t have to be by putting up 25 points. Mission accomplished.
This is the Wheeler this team needs providing leadership, assists, steals, and leading the Wildcat offensive attack while locking down and pestering opponents while playing defense.