After a stellar season, Kentucky forward Oscar Tshiebwe will be returning to the Wildcats for his senior year.
Tshiebwe, who stands at 6 feet 9 inches, announced his decision Wednesday on ESPN SportsCenter.
He said, “I’ll still be there next year for Kentucky.”
The decision of the junior was most anticipated by a Wildcats team that rode his dominating performance, especially on boards. Tshiebwe was the national leader with 15.1 rebounds per match and an average of 17.4 points. Tshiebwe also had 60 steals, 55 blocks and a total of 17.4 points per game. He ended the season with 16 consecutive double-doubles, surpassing Kentucky’s Dan Issel (26).
The West Virginia transfer allowed the Wildcats (26-8), to return to the NCAA Tournament. They also received numerous individual honors from the Associated Press, including the Naismith & Wooden awards for the nation’s best player. The second-seeded Kentucky was beaten 85-79 by tiny No. Tshiebwe, 15-seed Saint Peter’s, had 30 points and 16 rebounds in round one.
He said that the bracket-busting defeat was the best motivation for him. I now know what the reality is. It’s not something I want to do again.
Tshiebwe, a Congolese national, stated that he had prayed and talked to his mother before returning to school last week. Tshiebwe stated that he had always hoped to win the NBA lottery, but draft projections showed him getting in the second round.
Tshiebwe stated that the NBA clubs wanted to see his game improve. “They want me able to make at least one or two 3-pointers. They want me catch the ball, drive and finish and to improve my dribbling. These are the things I need to improve on next year.
Tshiebwe’s friendly personality on the court, accessibility off has and willingness to sign autographs and take selfies made him very popular among Kentucky fans. In interviews, he often spoke about his faith. This made him highly sought-after to speak at churches throughout Kentucky.