Kentucky’s Oscar Tshiebwe’s historic rebounding performance vs. Western Kentucky earned the junior forward Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week honors from the U.S. Basketball Writers Association on Tuesday.
Tshiebwe is the seventh UK player to win the Oscar Robertson Player of the Week award since its inception during the 2009-10 season. He is the first since Nick Richards claimed the honor on Dec. 31, 2019. Other UK honorees include PJ Washington (2018-19), Kevin Knox (2017-18), Malik Monk (2016-17), Julius Randle (2013-14) and Doron Lamb (2010-11). Anthony Davis won the Oscar Robertson National Player of the Year honor in 2012.
He was also recognized as the National Player of the Week by March Madness’ Andy Katz and ESPN’s Jay Bilas. Tshiebwe was also tabbed the Southeastern Conference’s Co-Player of the Week on Monday.
Tshiebwe is coming off one of the all-time greatest rebounding performances in school history. The West Virginia transfer set a Rupp Arena record with 28 rebounds, breaking the previous mark of 21 set by Shaquille O’Neal (Feb. 15, 1990).
It tied for the sixth-most rebounds in UK history and the most in more than 45 years, when Mike Phillips corralled 28 caroms in an overtime game vs. Tennessee on Jan. 10, 1976. The 28 rebounds were also the most for a Wildcat in a regulation-length game in more than 52 years, when Dan Issel grabbed 29 rebounds vs. LSU on Feb. 22, 1969.
According to STATS, Tshiebwe’s 28 rebounds are the most in Division I college basketball since Kendall Gray from Delaware State recorded 30 at Coppin State on March 5, 2015, and it tied for the fourth-most rebounds in Division I college basketball dating back to the 1996-97 season.
Tshiebwe – who leads the country in rebounding – had more rebounds than Western Kentucky’s entire team (27). He also added 14 points to notch his ninth double-double of 2021-22.
The Oscar Robertson Player of the Week honor culminates with the Oscar Robertson Trophy, awarded to the national player of the Year by the USBWA at the end of the season. It bears the name and image of Cincinnati Hall of Famer and two-time USBWA Player of the Year Oscar Robertson. It is the nation’s oldest player of the year award and the only one named after a former player. Robertson was the first NBA player to average a triple-double, was an NBA champion (1971) and NBA MVP (1964) and was a two-time USBWA College Player of the Year selection (1959, 1960).
As the USBWA noted, Tshiebwe is the first Oscar Robertson Trophy weekly award winner to be named Oscar.
Tshiebwe is currently leading the Wildcats in points per game (16.1), rebounds per game (15.5), blocks per game (1.6) and field-goal percentage (64.9%). Since the 1978-79 season, only four Wildcats have led the team in those four categories (minimum 130 field-goal attempts) in a single season (Kenny Walker in 1984-85 and 1985-86, Jamaal Magloire in 1999-2000, Randolph Morris in 2006-07, and Anthony Davis in 2011-12).