Oscar Tshiebwe ranked top returning player in college basketball

Oscar Tshiebwe ranked top returning player in college basketball

Oscar Tshiebwe is the reigning unanimous player of the year in college basketball, sweeping all six of the major national awards last season.

So, it should come as no surprise that the Kentucky senior center is ranked as the NCAA’s top returning player for 2022-23, according to Andy Katz of NCAA March Madness.

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Tshiebwe, who claimed the top spot, was followed by fellow big men Drew Timme (Gonzaga), Armando Bacot (North Carolina) and Trayce Jackson Davis (Indiana). houston guard Marcus Sasser rounded out the top five.

Tshiebwe announced April 20 live on ESPN’s SportsCenter he would be returning to Kentucky next season, becoming the first national player of the year in college basketball to return since North Carolina’s Tyler Hansbrough in 2008 and cementing UK’s status as a preseason top 5 team heading into next season.

“God has told me he is not done with me yet. And he told me he wanted me to go back and work because he is not done with me in this place yet,” Tshiebwe said. “So, I will be back again. I will be here next year for Kentucky. I will be in the blue in Kentucky next year again.”

In joining Anthony Davis (2012) as UK’s second Wooden Award winner, Tshiebwe swept all six major awards to become the school’s first-ever unanimous national player of the year. Tshiebwe was also named Naismith Player of the Year, Associated Press National Player of the Year, Oscar Robertson USBWA Player of the Year, NABC National Player of the Year, and Sporting News National Player of the Year.

A transfer from West Virginia, Tshiebwe 17.4 points and 15.1 rebounds per game this season, becoming the first NCAA Division I player in 42 years to average 15 points and 15 rebounds.

He became just the fourth player since 1975 with 500+ points and 500+ rebounds in a season, joining Kenneth Faried of Morehead State (2010-11), Blake Griffin of Oklahoma (2008-09), and Hakeem Olajuwon of Houston (1983-84).

Tshiebwe ended the season with 16 straight double-doubles, the longest UK streak since complete game-by-game rebounding records were kept dating back to 1969, to finish the year with a new single-season school record 28 double-doubles.

UK head coach John Calipari recently laid out the plan to expand Tshiebwe’s game and transform him from national player of the year into first round NBA Draft pick.

“Go get every ball, run the court, make the short shots that he can. He’s got a lot of things where he can elevate his game. Some people are saying, ‘He can’t do anything more.’ I told him, ‘If you don’t think you can improve in these areas, you should go and be a second round pick,'” Calipari said.

“We’ve got to get him to catch it in the middle of the court, the foul line and elbow area, and make basketball plays. Because that’s where the game is going. That’s where it is for him.”

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