The college basketball regular season is coming to a close, and the madness is about to begin.
For the Kentucky Wildcats, they are headed into March as one of the best teams in the country and are a serious threat to win the championship this season.
The offseason is closer than many may realize, however, and there are two important pieces to next season's roster that are still up in the air. We are about to start asking the question: Who stays or and who goes?
The two biggest question marks are Shaedon Sharpe and Oscar Tshiebwe.
Ben Roberts of The Herald-Leader gave a quick preview of what next season's roster could look like for the 2022-23 season, and he gave a few quick updates on both players.
Let's start with Sharpe.
A mid-year enrollee this season, John Calipari and those close to Sharpe have repeatedly stated that the freshman will be playing for Kentucky next season. However, many outside of that circle have been skeptical this would happen, and it seems more likely that Sharpe leaves before ever playing a minute in a Kentucky uniform.
Speaking about those statements made of Sharpe possibly returning, here is what Roberts said on the debate.
“Those remarks have been met with skepticism by many basketball analysts, and there seems to be a growing sense from within the program that Sharpe — projected as a top-10 pick in this year’s NBA Draft — is more than likely gone after this season.”
While the thought of losing Sharpe is definitely a gut punch, things seem to be trending in the right direction for Oscar.
Tshiebwe has become a beloved hero among the fanbase, and after finally becoming eligible to benefit from NIL, the star center has a plethora of options when it comes to potential deals.
That news is not only great news for a great young man, but it seems it is helping the idea of a second year of Oscar.
“The speculation both from within the program and from some college basketball insiders the Herald-Leader has spoken to in recent days suggests that Tshiebwe is indeed leaning toward a return to UK for another season, assuming there are no hitches with his NIL status,” Roberts said. “The native of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is genuinely enjoying his time in Lexington and could actually make more in NIL money next season at UK than his potential pro salary, even if he slipped into the first round of the NBA Draft.”
Currently, Oscar has been listed as high as No. 43 in NBA mock drafts, and all indications seem to point to his stock continuing to rise as long as he continues to produce.
It’s still far from a sure thing, but it is good news to hear that the favorite for National Player of the Year might give it another go in Lexington.