It seems likely that Oscar Tshiebwe has played his final game for the Kentucky Wildcats.
When speaking with reporters Sunday in a subdued UK locker room after the Cats fell to Kansas State 75-69 in the NCAA Tournament round of 32, Tshiebwe often used past tense when referring to his college career.
“My dream was to do something great,” Tshiebwe said of his time at Kentucky. “Two years in a row, it did not happen.”
Kentucky Coach John Calipari told reporters after the loss to KSU that his “guess” was that all six of UK’s seniors — each of whom has an additional season of college eligibility available due to the NCAA’s “free COVID year” which was offered to all athletes who were enrolled in 2020-21 — would leave.
“That’s my guess, but I have not talked to them all,” Calipari said.
For Tshiebwe, the decision on what to do next is more complicated than for most.
College basketball’s unanimous national player of the year in 2021-22 and a consensus Second Team All-America choice in 2022-23, Tshiebwe (16.5 ppg, 13.7 rpg this season) is one of the most-decorated players in men’s college hoops this decade.