Tshiebwe back to help Cats win #9

Kentucky's Oscar Tshiebwe (34) heads to the bench (34) during the second half of an NCAA...
Kentucky's Oscar Tshiebwe (34) heads to the bench (34) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Florida in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, Feb. 12, 2022. (AP Photo/James Crisp)(James Crisp | AP)
Published: Jul. 7, 2022 at 10:11 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Oscar Tshiebwe accomplished just about everything in his first season in Lexington. He swept the National Player of the Year awards and led the nation, averaging 15.1 rebounds a game.

His season ended abruptly when the second seeded Cats fell to St. Peter’s in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Indianapolis.

Tshiebwe bypassed a shot at the NBA for another season in UK blue. He wanted to wear to #9, to remind himself at all times of the goal, but the NCAA does not allow players to wear that number.

He’ll stick with #34 and say he’s improved his game over the summer.

“To help the team a little bit more, like passing, dribbling, “ he said. “Like coach told me, you grab a rebound, sometimes make one dribble, two, then kick it out. You’ve got to be able to catch the ball at the top of the key, open up, jump fake, attack the rim, make passes and then try to make one, two, three-pointer a game, I’m working on that.”

That’s right, he says the three-pointer is in his arsenal, but don’t expect him to be Steph Curry.

“I’m not gonna be out there, three-point, just trying to shoot,” he said. “My purpose is just to try one or two, if you make it one, then may just try the second one, but I’m gonna still do exactly what I always do, but coach just had my game to another level because we try to play professionally in the NBA, so you got to show that you can take those, you can shoot those, but my game is not changing, it’s gonna be the same. I will be the same Oscar. I still got to go for my 20 rebounds because as you know I promised coach I would get 20, but I never get 20, so that’s why I tell him, I’m not leaving until I get 20, so I’m coming for 20.”

He did reach 20 or more rebounds five times, with a season-high 28 in the Cats win over Western Kentucky in December.

Tshiebwe is making some money off of his name, image and likeness, but the floodgates are not open completely just yet.

“I did not come back for money or anything, but NIL is still not allowing me to do things in person,” he said. “They can still use my image, which can help a little, but that’s not considered working.”

He says all that will work out.

“God is making me wait a little bit, but for me, he is just work to make sure we get that #9 first, and the rest is going to be taking care of itself.”

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