A six-foot-four man stood at the top of the key on the main court at Philadelphia University. There was a head fake. Then a drive. Then a dish. Then a made three from a teammate.
It wasn’t fast.
It wasn’t quick.
It wasn’t flashy.
It was textbook Khalif Wyatt.
The Temple alum was back in his hometown of Philadelphia playing competitive basketball, this time with former Temple teammates for the North Broad Street Bullies team in The Basketball Tournament. He has shed some pounds and body fat through working out with Next Level in New Jersey, but he can’t shed the stereotype of having an “old man’s game,” which is fine with him.
“[Getting my body in better shape] helps me take bumps better,” Wyatt said. “I’m a little quicker, a little stronger. I still have the same pace to my game and head fakes. I’m never going to be like Derrick Rose or anyone like that, but it’s just about looking better.”
Wyatt looks more lean, a bit quicker and more agile, all while being the same player Temple fans know and love. He can still hit shots and get to the basket when he wants. Wyatt said he has offers from just about everywhere in Europe for next season, now it is deciding where he wants to play.
“Ideally I want to be on a good team with money that pays you on time,” Wyatt said. “Just a good atmosphere, a healthy environment to be around.”
Being overseas can be a big adjustment for anyone, especially those who go play pro basketball. Being an American player in a foreign country comes with some expectations many wouldn’t expect.
“The style is a little different over there,” Wyatt said. “You’ve gotta be able to shoot. Guys have to make shots. Being American, when I go somewhere they expect me to score, like I’m a machine pretty much.”
Handling those expectations, as well as adjusting to being away from home can cause some to break. Luckiy for Wyatt, he loves the game too much to think about any of those things.
“You’ve got to be able to handle that and be away from home for 10 months, which isn’t easy either. It is about focusing,” Wyatt said. “You have to love the game. If you don’t love it, you are going to go over there and get bored, you’re not going to enjoy it. I enjoy it because I like playing.”
Wherever Wyatt decides to continue his basketball career, a few things are certain.
He is going to score the basketball.
He is going to use pump fakes.
He is going to pay at his own pace.
He is going to be effective.
“I’m just trying to score like everybody else, whether it’s over people, around them, pump faking,” Wyatt said. “I’m just trying to score. People say old man’s game, I take that as a compliment.”