John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats hit the transfer market this season to rebuild their roster for the 2021-22 season. One of the biggest names Calipari landed was West Virginia transfer Oscar Tshiebwe who is now considered one of the best players in college basketball.
Now that we are less than a week away from the start of the regular season, ESPN released their yearly list of the top 25 players in college basketball. Tshiebwe was the only Wildcat to make the list coming in at No. 16.
“Against the backdrop of a long-term decline in offensive rebound rates across Division I, the number of head coaches who still green-light second chances is always dwindling,” John Gasaway writes. “Give Tshiebwe credit, then, for choosing his transfer destination wisely. In John Calipari the 6-9 junior has located one of the few figures nationally who still values offensive boards as highly as Tshiebwe’s previous coach, Bob Huggins. Don’t be surprised if UK’s new arrival leads the nation in offensive rebound rate or comes very close.”
So far in the preseason, Tshiebwe has been living up to the high expectations. During the Blue-White game, he poured in 25 points and came down with 21 total rebounds with 14 of those being offensive rebounds.
In Kentucky’s first exhibition game against Kentucky Wesleyan, Tshiebwe only played 17 minutes due to a minor hip injury, but he still recorded a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Tshiebwe’s first true test will come next Tuesday night when the Cats face off against the Duke Blue Devils and big man Paolo Banchero who is ranked as the No. 5 player in college basketball.
You can check out ESPN’s complete list of the top 25 players in college basketball here.