Oscar Tshiebwe returns to Kentucky basketball: What it means

Record-setting big man Oscar Tshiebwe is coming back to Kentucky for his senior season.

Tshiebwe announced Wednesday he’d be returning to Lexington rather than turning pro after testing the NBA draft waters earlier this month. The defending National Player of the Year averaged more than 17 points and 15 rebounds per game in 2021–22, his first year with Kentucky, and helped lead the Wildcats to a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament before being stunned in the first round by Saint Peter’s.

After transferring in from West Virginia midway through the 2020–21 season, Tshiebwe quickly asserted himself as perhaps the best rebounder in modern men’s college basketball history. He averaged more rebounds per game than any player in at least the last 30 years and snatched a ridiculous 28 boards in a December meeting with Western Kentucky. His emergence from him helped Kentucky bounce back from its worst season since the Great Depression and made him into one of the sport’s most recognizable names.


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