Kentucky senior forward Oscar Tshiebwe, the 2021-22 consensus national player of the year, announced Wednesday on Instagram that he will remain in the 2023 NBA draft.
Tshiebwe could have returned to Kentucky and use the extra fifth year of NCAA eligibility granted to all athletes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Instead, he will see if his name is called in the draft, which occurs on June 22, though the 6-foot-9 forward from the Congo is projected as no better than a second-round selection, if that.
He had entered the draft in early April and had until midnight Wednesday to make the decision final.
“First, I would like to thank God for the many blessings he has shown me,” Tshiebwe posted on Instagram. “I know I wouldn’t be here without him guiding me through this journey of life. Second, I would like to thank my family and closest friends for everything they have sacrificed in getting to this point in my life. I would like to thank Coach Cal (John Calipari) and his staff for their support and belief in me during my life at UK. Lastly, I would like to thank BBN for the love, support, and loyalty you have given me and my teammates over the years. I wouldn’t want to play for anyone or anywhere else.”
Tshiebwe swept the six awards given to the player of the year in college basketball in 2021-22, when he averaged 17.4 points, 15.1 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.6 blocks per game in his first season with the Wildcats, when he started all 34 games.
In 2022-23, he followed that up with averages of 16.5 points, 13.7 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 1.0 blocks per contest in 32 games (30 starts). He led the NCAA in rebounding in both his seasons with the Wildcats.
In 107 career games (105 starts) split between West Virginia (2019-21) and Kentucky, Tshiebwe posted 14.5 points and 12.3 rebounds per game and shot 57.3 percent from the floor.
While at Kentucky, his 952 career rebounds left him sixth in program history and are also the most ever by a Kentucky player through two seasons with the school.
–Field Level Media