Kentucky Wildcats star Oscar Tshiebwe has been named a finalist for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award, it was announced Friday.
Tshiebwe joins the likes of Walker Kessler (Auburn), Adam Sanogo (Connecticut), Drew Timme (Gonzaga) and Kofi Cockburn (Illinois) as the five finalists for the award, which honors the nation’s best center.
Currently the favorite for National Player of the Year honors, Tshiebwe is on track to become the first Division I player to average at least 15.0 points and at least 15.0 rebounds per game since Drake’s Lewis Lloyd and Alcorn State’s Larry Smith each did so in 1979-80.
Basketball Hall of Fame Announces Five Finalists for 2022 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center Award. #KareemAward@hoophallu | @DellTech— Basketball HOF (@Hoophall) March 4, 2022
Kofi Cockburn @IlliniMBB
Adama Sanogo @UConnMBB
@Oscartshiebwe34 @KentuckyMBB pic.twitter.com/B8Rsd6gLMG
The Democratic Republic of the Congo native leads the Wildcats in points per game (16.9), rebounds per game (15.3), steals per game (1.8), blocks per game (1.5) and field-goal percentage with a minimum of 100 attempts (60.2%).
Since the 1978-79 season, only one Wildcat has led the team in those five categories (minimum 130 field-goal attempts) in a single season. That was Anthony Davis in 2011-12, who also won National Player of the Year that season.
This month, the finalists will be presented to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and the Hall of Fame’s selection committee. The winner will be determined by a combination of fan votes and input from the Basketball Hall of Fame’s selection committee. Naismith Starting Five Fan Voting will go live on, March 4 on hoophallawards.com.
The winner of the 2022 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award will be presented on date yet to be determined.