“God has told me he’s not done with me yet.” Tshiebwe said during the SportsCenter announcement. “So, I decided. He told me he wanted me to go back to just work, because He’s not done with me in this place yet. I’ll be back again. So I’ll be here next year at Kentucky. I’ll be in the blue in Kentucky next year again.”
The ending to last season was not what anyone wanted to see, and Tshiebwe was one of the players taking the loss the hardest when the final buzzer sounded, as he broke down in tears on the court.
He now gets a chance to end his college career on an infinitely higher note, in more ways than one.
During the announcement, Tshiebwe was asked about the loss to St. Peter’s, and he’s going to use it as motivation during next season.
“That’s not how I wanted it to end, like that but for me, it is the best motivation. Now I know, next time, I’m never going to want to go through the same thing, so I’ll make sure my teammates are ready, everyone is ready.”
What made that loss even more painful was it kept Tshiebwe from getting to play in front of his mother, Kaya, for the first time in his life. Kaya was set to venture from the Congo, where she still lives, to the United States during the NCAA Tournament and watch her son play, but that sadly never happened.
Kaya played a big role in Tshiebwe’s return, and she’ll now get to see her son play for the first time at some point during the upcoming season.
“My mom, she’s my hero right now,” Tshiebwe said. “My daddy, he used to be, but my mom...I can’t do anything without asking my mom. God is first, and my mom is second, because she knows better, and she wants the best for me out of everybody I know.”
Tshiebwe went on to detail how his mother helped him make what was undoubtedly one of the toughest decisions of his life to stay at Kentucky or begin his professional career.
“I spoke to my mom maybe 2-3 times a day every day,” Tshiebwe said. “We just talk about everything. My mom, she’s my everything, and she has helped me a lot. This decision, it was not just me praying about it, but my mom...she was praying about it, and she thinks it is the best decision.”
Obviously, the new landscape of college basketball and NIL played a big role in Tshiebwe’s decision. However, the heartbreaking end of the season could have played a role in his decision to return.
Kentucky will now be a strong contender to open the 2022-23 season as the No. 1 team in the nation and will be one of the favorites to be cutting down the nets in Houston.
But more importantly, Kaya will finally be reunited with her son while getting to watch him play the sport he loves.