Morgantown, West Virginia – Last season, Oscar Tshiebwe looked like a shell of his former self. He was overweight, out of shape and he lacked the defensive and rebounding intensity that he had in his freshman season with the Mountaineers.
In ten games with West Virginia last season, Tshiebwe averaged a mere 8.5 points and 7.8 rebounds per game.
Since transferring to Kentucky, Tshiebwe has been a totally different player and has separated himself from the rest of the top players in the country for the national player of the year award.
Tshiebwe, who averages 16.9 points and 15.3 rebounds per game through 29 games played for the Wildcats this season, leads the NCAA in total rebounds, rebounds per game, offensive & defensive rebound percentage, and is second in double-doubles. He is also shooting 59.7% from the field and is averaging a career-high 1.5 steals per game.
In addition, he is putting up truly historic rebounding statistics for Kentucky this season. With 445 total rebounds on the season, he is currently 4th all-time in rebounds in a season and he still has two regular season games remaining.
Tshiebwe is the perfect candidate for the national player of the year due to his spectacular statistics, the impact he’s made on his team this season and his team’s success. Kentucky is currently 23-6 overall and 12-4 in the SEC. Last season, the Wildcats were 9-16 overall and 8-9 in conference play.
In addition, Tshiebwe is now cracking NBA Mock Draft lists. In ESPN’s latest mock draft, Tshiebwe is projected to go 43rd to the Charlotte Hornets: “While undersized for a center at 6-foot-8 without shoes, Tshiebwe’s exceptional wingspan (7-foot-4) and chiseled frame allows him to play much bigger than his height. While unconventional, and perhaps not as modern a big man as NBA teams tend to prefer recently, Tshiebwe has done a great job of changing the narrative around his pro prospects by sheer will, productivity, and most importantly, impacting winning.”
Although West Virginia fans are disappointed in the way that Tshiebwe left the program last season, it’s hard to argue with the decision he’s made now. He’s gone from a player in major decline last season to the best player in all of college basketball and a sure-fire NBA draft prospect in one year.