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Oscar Tshiebwe enters NBA Draft while maintaining college eligibility

Tshiebwe’s historical career at Kentucky may be coming to an end, but a return is still possible.

NCAA Basketball: Vanderbilt at Kentucky Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

Oscar Tshiebwe’s dream was to play basketball for the University of Kentucky, and he did so at an elite level for two seasons.

On Friday, Tshiebwe announced that he will put his name in the NBA Draft while maintaining his college eligibility. He made the announcement on Instagram.

This comes as recent buzz has suggested a return to Kentucky is possible, but for now, Tshiebwe is seeing what the NBA thinks of him.

Following a heartbreaking loss to Kansas State, Oscar Tshiebwe looked at his locker, full of emotion, disappointed that he could not accomplish his goal of winning a national championship at Kentucky. However, that will not change what he accomplished in his two years in Lexington if that really was the last we see of him in a Kentucky jersey.

Becoming arguably the greatest rebounder in modern college basketball, Tshiebwe rewrote the records books. In just two seasons, Tshiebwe recorded 952 rebounds, just 126 short of Kentucky’s all-time record, and in doing so, putting up numbers not seen since the 1960s. His long list of accomplishments is headlined by being the only unanimous National Player of the Year in program history.

As much as Tshiebwe impacted the game and the Kentucky Wildcats on the court, he may be even more so remembered for the person he is off the court.

Of the many memories and stories that Tshiebwe has created for people, one such story happened at Vanderbilt’s Memorial Gymnasium. Two fathers brought their sons to a game this past January. When they got close to the floor, they cheered “Oscar!” with no expectation of seeing him. Tshiebwe responded by running over with a smile on his face and picking the two kids up onto the elevated court to take a photo.

Big O has even stated that Lexington is his home and that he wants to own a horse farm one day.

Oscar Tshiebwe will go down as one of the greatest Wildcats to ever play at Kentucky and a fan favorite for his love of the Big Blue Nation. It is only a matter of time before his jersey is raised into the rafters.

Is this truly the end of Tshiebwe’s journey in Lexington? Recent buzz has suggested a return is possible, but we should still expect him to be heading out of town until he says otherwise.

Best of luck to Big O as he begins the NBA Draft process!