Kentucky has landed the top basketball transfer prospect on the market going into the 2021-22 season.
West Virginia center and former five-star prospect Oscar Tshiebwe has committed to Kentucky, choosing the Wildcats over offers and interest from Illinois, Miami (FL) and North Carolina State, among others.
I am grateful for the time I spent at West Virginia, and the lessons that I learned. I’ve spent a lot of time praying to God to help me make the best decision for my future. I am excited for this new chapter of my life. I will continue my career at the University of Kentucky #BBN pic.twitter.com/rm08UwtDBI
— Big O (@Oscartshiebwe34) January 11, 2021
After sitting out the remainder of the 2020-21 season, the newest Wildcat will have three years of eligibility starting in 2021-22.
Tshiebwe, a 6-foot-9, 260-pound center originally out of the Congo, averaged 8.5 points and 7.8 rebounds in ten games as a sophomore before entering the transfer portal last week. The former five-star prospect, who boasts an impressive 7-foot-5 wingspan, led West Virginia in scoring and rebounding with 11.2 points and 9.3 boards per game as a freshman, respectively. It was a first-year campaign that saw him earn All-Big 12 Second Team and All-Freshman Team honors, along with Preseason All-Big 12 Team honors going into the current season. CBS Sports listed the former WVU center as the No. 15 player in college basketball ahead of the 2020-21 season.
Prior to his time in Morgantown, Tshiebwe was ranked as a five-star prospect by 247Sports and Rivals.com, who listed the standout center as the No. 23 and No. 26 overall recruit in the class of 2019, respectively. ESPN had him listed as a four-star prospect and the No. 48 overall recruit in his class.
He was also named a McDonald’s All-American in 2019, a game in which he finished with a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds in 18 minutes.
At the legendary All-American Game, Tshiebwe told KSR that he loved UK head coach John Calipari and what the Kentucky basketball program had to offer.
“It was a hard decision because I like Kentucky and I love Coach Calipari,” Tshiebwe said. “But I ended up at West Virginia because it’s a school I used to think about (growing up). I like the way they play, I like the coach, I like the program. That’s why I ended up going there.”
And had he not signed with the Mountaineers, he was headed to Lexington.
“Coach Calipari was telling me, “I want to coach you! Come play for me! I’m going to coach you and help you become a great player. I’ll help you reach your dreams. … Kentucky was second.”
It may not have been right away, but Tshiebwe ultimately found his way to Lexington two short years later as a transfer.
Check out the newest Wildcat’s highlights:
Welcome home, Mr. Tshiebwe.