Wenyen Gabriel is the star of the day, but don’t sleep on an encouraging performance from Sacha Killeya-Jones. Sacha had six points, five rebounds, and two blocks in 16 minutes, by far the best he’s played in months. Those months haven’t been easy for Sacha, who has struggled to find his role, but today’s performance showed just how much of an impact he can make on this team.
“I got to tell you, Sacha, who hadn’t had the opportunity, has been playing behind some pretty good players, now his chance is there,” John Calipari said afterwards. “And I’ll tell you, I’m watching him play, both on defense, offense, rebounding the ball. He’s fighting. He makes us different.”
Always humble, Sacha credited his teammates for helping him break out.
“Just trying to do what I could do to help my team and help us win the game. My teammates did a great job of finding me and creating shots for me. That comes along with it when you just try to play within the team.”
With Jarred Vanderbilt out, someone had to step up on the boards, and Wenyen Gabriel is proud of how Sacha seized the opportunity.
“It was great. I’m really happy for Sacha. He’s been working all year. When the opportunity presented itself today, he stepped up to the plate and played aggressive. I hope he continues to do that because we need it.”
“The thing about Sacha is he’s always been positive,” Wenyen added. “He’s always been a great teammate coming up and continuing to work hard. For him to take advantage of the opportunity today, the team as a whole is real proud of him and we just hope he continues to do it because we know he’s capable of it. It was never a talent thing for him.”
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander agreed.
“I just think he was forced to step up with Jarred being out. Elevating for rebounds, the hard rebounds, Sacha grabbed today. Sacha was really good too at blocking shots and rebounding. He was a big, big help today.”