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Oscar Tshiebwe Named Naismith Player of the Year

The award of all awards. College basketball’s finest accomplishment. The Naismith Trophy. Now, it’s all to be claimed by Kentucky’s own, Oscar Tshiebwe.

Oscar becomes just the second Kentucky player under John Calipari to take home the award, joining the elite category of now two with Anthony Davis. That’s now three Calipari-coached players in his luxurious career to win the award, as Marcus Camby did at Massachusetts in 1996.

The Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo native had one of the most impressive year-to-year turnarounds after leaving West Virginia to come to Kentucky, finding happiness and finding ultimate success. I mean, he was literally named the best player in the entire sport this season.

This marks the fifth NCAA-recognized electors for national player of the year honor that Tshiebwe has been awarded. He was also picked as the nation’s top performer by The Sporting News, the National Association of Basketball Coaches, the Associated Press and the United States Basketball Writers Association.

Tshiebwe was elite on the glass from the very beginning of the season. He set new records for the Champions Classic and UK debut with 20 boards vs. Duke in the season opener, nearly tied the Rupp Arena record with 20 rebounds in his first home game, and then shattered that Rupp record with 28 boards vs. Western Kentucky. That easily surpassed Shaquille O'Neal's previous mark of 21. It's worth noting Tshiebwe did that primarily against the tallest player in college basketball, Jamarion Sharp, who stands at 7-foot-5. With 20 boards the following game against Missouri, his 48 boards tied for the most over a two-game span by any Division I player over the last 25 seasons (according to ESPN Stats & Info).

He concluded the season with 16 straight double-doubles, the longest streak since complete game-by-game rebounding records were kept dating back to 1969 for the Wildcats. He totaled 28 double-doubles this season which is a new UK single-season record.

Tshiebwe ended the season becoming only the second Wildcat since 1978-79 to finish the season leading the team in points per game (17.4), rebounds per game (15.1), steals per game (1.8), blocks per game (1.6) and field-goal percentage with a minimum of 100 attempts (60.6%). Davis was the other to achieve the feat.

A list of all the awards Oscar Tshiebwe has won at Kentucky this season:

  • Naismith Player of the Year

  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award

  • USBWA Oscar Robertson Trophy

  • Associated Press Player of the Year

  • NABC National Player of the Year

  • NABC Pete Newell Big Man of the Year

  • NCAA Consensus All-America First Team

  • Wooden Award All-America Team

  • USBWA First-Team All-America

  • NABC First-Team All-America

  • Associated Press First-Team All-America

  • Sporting News First-Team All-America

  • Wooden Award All-America Team

  • NABC All-District 20 First Team

  • Southeastern Conference Player of the Year (coaches/media)

  • All-SEC First Team (coaches/media)

  • All-SEC Defensive Team (coaches)

  • USBWA District IV Player of the Year

  • USBWA All-District IV team

  • CBS Sports National Player of the Year

  • USA Today National Player of the Year

  • USA Today First-Team All-American

  • The Athletic’s National Player of the Year

  • Sports Illustrated First-Team All-American

  • The Field of 68 National Player of the Year

  • The Field of 68 First-Team All-America

  • College Hoops Today National Player of the Year

  • USA Today SEC Player of the Year

  • USA Today First-Team All-SEC unanimous selection

This season will be one to remember as he becomes one of the most decorative players since Anthony Davis, racking up every single major POTY award. The last one on table is the Wooden award, which will be announced on Tuesday. We’ve got to assume he will win that one too. If so, he’ll become the first player in program history to become a unanimous selection for player of the year.


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