By LARRY VAUGHT
He grew up in North Carolina but now is in his freshman season playing for Kentucky. So how would freshman Sacha Killeya-Jones.
“I would say Kentucky fans are definitely more dedicated and everything, and loyal to their team. I think Carolina fans are great and everything, but Kentucky is just like nothing else in the world,” said Killeya-Jones Thursday before the Cats left for Las Vegas to play the Tar Heels Saturday.
Not only is Killeya-Jones from Chapel Hill, N.C., but his mother works for the school. The UK freshman played pick-up basketball games with several current North Carolina players before he committed to UK.
“I know most of those guys over there,” Killeya-Jones said.
The Kentucky freshman said there was not overwhelming pressure on him to go to North Carolina. One big reason was that he went to school in Virginia to better prepare himself for college basketball.
“There’s definitely a little bit of influence to go over there just being from around there and growing up around the program. But I didn’t go to high school in North Carolina so I guess that kind of alleviated some of it. There was also pressure in state in Virginia, too. But in Chapel Hill, there’s definitely a little pressure to go over there,” Killeya-Jones said. “It was definitely cool to be recruited, but I felt like I had to come here and make the best decision for me and my family.”
He moved from New Jersey to North Carolina when he was 7 years old. He grew up a fan of North Carolina, Duke and Rutgers.
He admits Saturday’s game should be an “awesome experience” for him because of his roots.
“Obviously, grew up around the program and everything, know about the history. It’s a great school. It’ll be an awesome game, I think. I’m really looking forward to it,” Killeya-Jones said. “It’s just kind of going full circle, watching them play when I was younger and everything. I wouldn’t say it’s a huge rivalry game. UNC, Kentucky, it’s definitely a matchup, play our hardest, but it’s not a huge rivalry I wouldn’t say.”