Tshiebwe declares for NBA draft, leaves options open for potential return

Published 3:15 pm Monday, April 10, 2023

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Oscar Tshiebwe hasn’t ruled out a possible return to Kentucky.

The senior forward and 2022 College Player of the Year declared for the NBA Draft on Friday but could return after he receives evaluation from the NBA. The NBA Draft Combine is set for May 15-21, while the deadline to return to campus is May 31 for a super senior season.

“First, I would like to thank God for everything He has done for me,” Tshiebwe said. “It has been amazing to see the many blessings He has shown me through my time at the University of Kentucky. I would like to thank my family and everyone who has supported me over the years while working towards my dream. I would also like to thank Coach Calipari and the coaching staff for believing in a kid from the Congo, as well as my teammates for standing beside me and fighting every day.

“At this time, I feel as though it is best for me to declare for the NBA Draft while maintaining my college eligibility. As I continue down this path, I pray that I can continue to have the amazing love and support of BBN, as you will always be in my heart and prayers. Only God knows what my future holds, but until then, it’s time to get to work”

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Kentucky coach John Calipari agreed with Tshiebwe’s decision to test the waters.

“Oscar fulfilled one dream by being a Kentucky basketball player, but he’s ready to chase this next dream,” Calipari said. “There is no player in that league like Oscar. He’s also an ideal player to have in your locker room because he will truly care about his teammates, the organization and the community. I’m excited for Oscar to go through this process to see if it’s his time to live out his ultimate goal.”

In two seasons with the Wildcats, Tshiebwe averaged 18.9 points and 14.4 rebounds per game in 66 games. He is tied for second on the team’s all-time list for double-doubles with 48, sixth in rebounds (952) and 48th in scoring (1.117) in two full seasons at Kentucky.

During his senior campaign, the West Virginia transfer led the team in scoring (16.5 points) and rebounds with 13.7 boards per game.