Kentucky senior Oscar Tshiebwe was named to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame’s preseason watch list for the 2023 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award on Friday. Named after the Naismith Hall of Famer and NBA all-time scoring leader, the award is in its ninth year.
Tshiebwe, the reigning unanimous National Player of the Year, averaged a team-high 17.4 points to go along with a nation’s best 15.1 rebounds per contest a year ago. Selected as the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award winner and Southeastern Conference Player of the Year, Tshiebwe set a Kentucky single-season record with 28 double-doubles while becoming the first major conference player to average 15 points and 15 rebounds since UCLA’s Bill Walton in 1972-73. Tshiebwe is a unanimous Associated Press Preseason All-American and SEC Preseason Player of the Year.
The senior is one of 20 candidates on the list for the best center in college basketball. Kentucky is one of three schools with five total players on the Naismith positional watch lists after Sahvir Wheeler was named to the Bob Cousy Award watch list, Antonio Reeves and Cason Wallace were selected to the Jerry West Award watch list and Chris Livingston earned a spot on the Julius Erving Award watch list earlier this week. The two other SEC candidates on the Abdul-Jabbar Award watch list are Alabama’s Charles Bediako and Florida’s Colin Castleton.
Fans are encouraged to participate in voting in each of the three rounds for the Naismith awards. In late January, all of the lists will be narrowed down to 10 players and five in February. Winners will be announced at a to be determined date.
The Cats will play exhibition contests against Missouri Western State on Oct. 30 and Kentucky State on Nov. 3 at Rupp Arena. Kentucky’s home-opener against Howard is set for 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 7.