Kentucky’s Oscar Tshiebwe is returning for his senior season 


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Tshiebwe in the first round of the NCAA Tournament against the Saint Peter’s Peacocks at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Bailey Darbro, Jr. Editor

It’s official. Kentucky center Oscar Tshiebwe is returning for the 2022-2023 season. The announcement was met with cheers and thunderous applause from Kentucky basketball fans. 

“I will be in the blue for Kentucky next year again,” the rebounding machine said. 

The Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, native became the first player in program history to be named unanimous National Player of the Year. He won all six NCAA-recognized electors for National Player of the Year, winning the Wooden Award alongside honors from The Sporting News, the National Association of Basketball Coaches, the United States Basketball Writers Association, the Associated Press, and the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame. 

Tshiebwe averaged 17.4 points per game and the nation’s best 15.1 rebounds per game. The 6-foot-9 center became the first Division I player who averaged at least 15.0 points and rebounds per game in over 40 years. 

His dominant performance helped the Wildcats (26-8) return to the NCAA tournament. Tshiebwe became the second Wildcat to lead his team in points, rebounds, blocks, steals, and field goal percentage per game, joining Anthony Davis. The West Virginia transfer concluded his season with 16 straight double-doubles, the longest streak in program history. He also set the UK record for double-doubles in a season with 18. 

Tshiebwe’s accessibility off the court instantly made him a fan favorite. His winning smile, positive attitude, and prominent faith won the hearts of the Kentucky fan base. The basketball star often spoke about his faith in interviews, which put him in demand to speak at churches in Lexington and around the state. 

“I prayed and asked God what is good for me. I’ve been fasting and praying with my family to try and ask God for a decision to help us,” Tshiebwe said on ESPN. “God has told me he is not done with me yet. So he told me he wants me to go back because he is not done with me in this space. I’ll be back again next year in Kentucky.”

With the NPOY, the Cats are set to be contenders next season. After a tough loss to the Saint Peter’s Peacocks in March, Big Blue Nation has an exciting season ahead.