Oscar Tshiebwe named the SEC Player of the Week
Oscar averaged 22.5 points and 16.5 rebounds last week.
LEXINGTON, Ky.(UK Athletics) – After averaging 22.5 points and 16.5 rebounds per game in a pair of victories last week, Kentucky junior Oscar Tshiebwe was named Co-Southeastern Conference Player of the Week. It is the second time this season he has been recognized by the league office as the league’s top-performing player.
Tshiebwe also was recognized as the National Player of the Week by March Madness’ Andy Katz. It’s the second time this season Katz has honored Tshiebwe as the overall player of the week.
Tshiebwe, a National Player of the Year candidate, was instrumental in victories at South Carolina and at home against Florida.
He opened the week with 18 points and 14 rebounds at South Carolina. He pulled in 12 rebounds and scored 12 points after halftime as the Gamecocks used an early second-half surge to test the Wildcats.
Against the Gators, Tshiebwe had 27 points and 19 rebounds with 10 of those rebounds coming on the offensive end. It was his team-leading eighth 20-point scoring effort of the season. Twice in the game – one in each half – he blunted Gator rallies with six-point spurts of his own. Tshiebwe with five 20-point, 15-rebound games are the most for a UK player since Kenny Walker also had five such outings in 1984-85.
Tshiebwe has corralled 15 or more rebounds in a nation-leading 12 games this season, and with 382 rebounds on the year he has snared 67 more than the next closest player in college basketball this season.
The Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, native has 12 straight games with double-digit rebounding, the longest for any SEC player since at least 1996-97. It matches the longest known streak in UK history. Dan Issel had two stretches of 12 or more rebounds, but game-by-game rebounding records only date back to the 1967-68 season.
Tshiebwe isn’t just a force around the basket, he’s an underrated defender. He is the only major-conference player to average at least 1.4 blocks and at least 1.4 steals per game. Tshiebwe actually averages 2.0 steals per game and has multiple swipes in nine consecutive games.
He is currently leading the Wildcats in points per game (16.4), rebounds per game (15.3), steals per game (2.0), blocks per game (1.4) and field-goal percentage with a minimum of 100 attempts (60.2%). Since the 1978-79 season, only one Wildcat has led the team in those five categories (minimum 130 field-goal attempts) – Anthony Davis.
Tshiebwe is looking to become the first Division I player to average at least 15.0 points and at least 15.0 rebounds per game since Drake’s Lewis Lloyd and Alcorn State’s Larry Smith each did during the 1979-80 season, and the first Wildcat to do it since Bob Burrow tallied 19.1 points and 17.7 rebounds per game in 1954-55.
He has seven consecutive double-doubles and 19 for the season. It is the longest streak of double-doubles for a UK player since Julius Randle had seven straight to begin his collegiate career in 2013.
The Wildcats have now earned nine SEC weekly awards this season. Sahvir Wheeler and Keion Brooks Jr. have each won SEC Player of the Week once and TyTy Washington Jr. has claimed five SEC Freshman of the Week honors.
Kentucky has dominated the weekly SEC awards with John Calipari at the helm. UK has won more weekly SEC honors (119) than any other school during the Calipari era, including 90 SEC Freshman of the Week awards and 29 SEC Player of the Week honors.