College Basketball: Breakout Sophomores of the SEC

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3. Sahvir Wheeler, PG – Georgia:

Wheeler didn’t draw a lot of attention on Georgia’s team last season, but that’s common when a likely top-3 pick is the focal point of the team. Since Tom Crean took over the reigns of the program, the Bulldogs have played with quick pace and tempo. Often lacking strong defensive play, Georgia loves to crash the defensive glass and find their outlet man for a quick score. Wheeler excelled as a facilitator for Crean off the bench.

Superb in the pick-and-roll, the stocky guard displayed an ability to weave in-and-out of traffic while maintaining the ability to finish at the rim. His physicality emphasizes the ‘Bull’ in ‘Bulldogs’ and is confirmed by the highest free-throw attempt rate among guards. With Anthony Edwards and Rayshaun Hammonds gone from the roster, Wheeler is primed to become the focal point of the offense. Wheeler showed last year that he doesn’t need a reliable jumper to be a successful threat on the floor.

With limited command of Georgia’s offense last season, Wheeler still managed to rival former SEC standouts John Wall, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and De’Aaron Fox as only the sixth freshman with at least 8.8 PPG, 4.4 APG and a 28% assist rate. As the ‘veteran’ of this year’s team, he will undoubtedly receive a much large portion of the offensive opportunities to not only score the ball but also involve his teammates and dictate how well the Bulldogs will perform throughout the season. The weakest part of his game was his 3-point shooting, but minor improvements in that area will vault the crafty guard into strong company.

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