BY LARRY VAUGHT
Gilbert Abraham, a skill development coach with numerous NBA clients, believes UK sophomore Sacha Killeya-Jones’ versatility for a 6-10 player is what makes him different.
“Sacha has been part of a lot of the work I have done with professional players. Sacha himself is exceptionally skilled. A lot now is just letting his body catch up physically so he can show you all he can do,” Abraham said.
“He shoots it, rebounds, passes well. Probably one of his best things would be as a pick-and-pop player because he can score both inside and outside. Not every player his size can do that,” Abraham said.
“Last year he was you and was just so excited. He was just flying around. Now he has settled in and is doing what he should be. He is just playing free and you are seeing a lot more of his athleticism.”
Killeya-Jones was a McDonald’s All-American and consensus top 25 player nationally. He was the state player of the year in Virginia as a senior and won a state high school championship. He also won two AAU national championships. Kansas, North Carolina and Florida were three of the schools who pursued him the hardest after he de-committed from Virginia along with Kentucky.
Through eight games, Killeya-Jones is averaging 4.9 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. He’s third on the team with 10 blocked shots. He’s also shooting 54.8 percent from the field and has shown he can hit the open 15-foot shot.
“I am glad he is starting to get a chance to do a little more at Kentucky. The biggest thing I talked with him about was just carving out a niche. On any team, you have to see what the team needs from you. Maybe what everybody else is not willing to do but you can do,” Abraham said.
“Then you know if you do that, the coach cannot not play you. For him, it’s rebounding and being a defensive presence. Doing that then leads to chances to do other things. You do one thing exceptionally well like rebound or play defense, then it opens all those other things.”