One more year! The reigning consensus National Player of the Year, Oscar Tshiebwe, will return to Kentucky for his senior season of college basketball, via an announcement made by Oscar himself on SportsCenter.
“God has told me He is not done with me yet,” Tshiebwe said. “So, I decided, and He told me He wanted me to go back and just to work because He’s not done with me in this place yet. So, I’ll be back again, so I’ll be here next year for Kentucky. I’ll be in the blue in Kentucky next year again.”
In a single year in Lexington, Oscar Tshiebwe put up an unprecedented season: rebounding numbers we haven't seen in over 50 years, the first consensus National Player of the Year in Kentucky Basketball history, and just being the most likeable human being to come through the program in quite some time. He 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. And now, we get to dream of what this list of accomplishments will look like after a second full season with the Cats.
The return of Oscar Tshiebwe can be directly attributed to the new Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) rule that had passed, allowing players to profit off of their athletic talents and still remain NCAA eligible. A player as talented and as accomplished as Oscar would have no choice but to go to the NBA in the past. No matter how much he wanted to return to Kentucky, he would not be able to leave millions of dollars of NBA money on the table to play another year in college. Oscar would certainly have been drafted this summer, and may have even be taken as high as late first round. Now, with money completely out of the equation, Oscar can make the decision that is best for Oscar, and the Big Blue Nation couldn't be happier with that decision.
Also, with the official announcement from Oscar Tshiebwe, Kentucky finally has enough scholarship players to field a basketball team, with freshmen Cason Wallace and Chris Livingston and returnees Daimion Collins and CJ Fredrick to go along with Oscar. The goal is now to build a national championship contender centered around Oscar Tshiebwe. The next steps for Kentucky are to focus on getting key players to return, such as Shaedon Sharpe, Jacob Toppin, Sahvir Wheeler, and Lance Ware, as well as going into the transfer portal to add shooting and fill any gaps in the roster.
Regardless of how the rest of our roster turns out, Kentucky can say something that no other team can. "The best player in the country plays for our team."