Oscar Tshiebwe named AP and USBWA National Player of the Year


Oscar Tshiebwe of Kentucky, left, is introduced as The Associated Press men’s basketball player of the year, by Barry Bedlan, AP global director of text and new markets products, in New Orleans, Friday, April 1, 2022. The 6-foot-9, 255-pound junior received 46 of 60 votes from a national media panel. Wisconsin’s Johnny Davis was second with 10 votes. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Cole Parke

Kentucky star forward Oscar Tshiebwe added two more National Player of the Year awards on Friday, winning both the AP and USBWA Player of the Year honors.

Tshiebwe first earned the Associated Press Player of the year award during a presentation in New Orleans, becoming the second player in Kentucky history, joining Anthony Davis, to earn the award.

He also became the fourth SEC player to win the award behind Davis, LSU’s Shaquille O’Neal and Pete Maravich.

The AP award was the third National Player of the Year accolade Tshiebwe earned for his 2021-2022 season at Kentucky, previously winning both the Sporting News and National Association of Basketball Coaches awards.

A short time later, Tshiebwe also earned his fourth player of the year accolade from the United States Basketball Writers Association in the form of the 2022 Oscar Robertson Trophy, the longest consistently presented award in college basketball.

“I’m very grateful to be here,” he said. “I thank the organization for choosing me as player of the year. This is one of the things, like, it is everybody’s dream to receive that trophy right there, but I’m sitting here receiving that trophy.”

Similar to the AP award, Tshiebwe became the second Wildcat to win the award, just after Davis, and the third SEC player to win the award with Maravich also earning it in 1969 and 1970.

Continuously building his case to win the coveted Naismith National Player of the Year award on Sunday, Tshiebwe is undoubtedly a favorite to win after the offseason accolades he has received.

He averaged a double-double on the season, finishing with 17.4 points per game and 15.1 rebounds per game, the first Division I player to record over 15 points and rebounds per game since Drake’s Lewis Lloyd and Alcorn State’s Larry Smith in the 1979-1980 season.

“I don’t worry about scoring,” Tshiebwe said. “You can find people who can help score, but I’m coming [to Kentucky] to fight for rebounds. I wanted to average 20 rebounds, I can’t believe I’m getting the trophy without averaging 20 rebounds.”

Tshiebwe also became the first Wildcat to record at least 15 points and rebounds per game since Bob Burrow in the 1954-1955 season under then head coach Adolph Rupp.

“I never stop fighting,” he said. “I fight until the end. I can work and I can show people what I can do by trusting in God. I just work harder and believe that people, God has put me in their hands to help me.”

The presentation for the Naismith National Player of the Year award is scheduled for Sunday, April 3, at the Naismith Awards Brunch during the Final Four in New Orleans.