Kentucky junior forward Oscar Tshiebwe has been named the Naismith Trophy Player of the Week after he averaged 19.0 points and 18.0 rebounds per game in wins over Mississippi State and at No. 5 Kansas.
This is the second national honor of the season for Tshiebwe who was tabbed the Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association in late December. Tshiebwe was also recognized as ESPN’s Dick Vitale’s National Player of the Week on Sunday.
Tshiebwe continues to rewrite the record books for the Wildcats, and it began with a 21-point, 22-rebound performance in overtime against Mississippi State on Tuesday. He became the first UK player to have a 20-20 performance since Mike Phillips had two such games in 1976.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo native then followed that performance with 17 points and 14 rebounds at Kansas as the Wildcats dominated from start to finish.
It marked UK’s first win over a top-five AP ranked squad since defeating No. 1 Michigan State, 69-62, on Nov. 5, 2019. The last win over a top-five team in a true road game came on Dec. 27, 2014, when the Wildcats won at No. 4 Louisville, 58-50.
Kentucky’s 18-point victory marked the largest margin of victory in program history on the road against a top-five team and it was just the 16th loss in Allen Fieldhouse for the Jayhawks in 302 games under Bill Self.
Tshiebwe leads the country in rebounds per game (15.1), offensive rebounds per game (5.1), offensive rebounding percentage (20.1%) and defensive rebound percentage (36.5%). He has amassed 317 total rebounds on the season, 46 more than the next closest player this season.
The 255-pound forward has five 20 or more rebounding efforts, tying Blake Griffin and Tim Duncan for the most by a major-conference player since 1996-97. Only one other player has at least two such games.
Averaging 16.3 points per game, Tshiebwe is looking to become the first Division I player to average at least 15.0 points per game 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.
He’s a force offensively as well for the Wildcats, as he has scored 20 or more points a team-high seven times, including a career-high 30 points at Vanderbilt. He was the first UK player to tally a 30-point, 10-rebound game since Patrick Patterson had 33 points and 11 rebounds against Tennessee State on Dec. 22, 2008. Tshiebwe is also the first Wildcat to score at least 29 points in consecutive Southeastern Conference games since Kenny Walker in February 1985.