Oscar Tshiebwe details how he will use extra year of experience to his advantage
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Kentucky big man Oscar Tshiebwe will have a hard time improving off of his 2021-22 season. Of course, he swept the National Player of the Year honors and was the most prolific rebounder of the last two-and-a-half decades at the power conference level. But don’t tell the Big O that he has a ceiling. Going into his second year in Lexington, Tshiebwe still sees plenty of ways for him to improve.

At a press conference following his trip home to the Congo, Oscar revealed how he plans to parlay last year’s excellent season into even more success for him and the team as a whole. Here were his comments:

“This year is a great year. Especially when we went from the year we had — we had a great year. And that helped me. I did not really take a long break. But I’m back to work on the things that coach told me to work on. And it’s gonna help me a lot. I got a lot more experience how to play in college.”

He also knows he has a target on his back. Tshiebwe may have taken the college basketball world by storm last season, but opposing coaches and players know exactly what sort of force of nature they’re dealing with this time around.

“This year, people are coming at me. They’re coming at me. But I gotta be ready. Can’t just let somebody come and stop you. They can’t stop me, so I’m working on things coach told me to work on. We’re in the gym with the assistant coaches. Coach Orlando [Antigua], Coach Chin [Coleman] and everybody. We’re getting better every day. So we’re going to be waiting for the season. I think this year is going to help [the team] win more than last year.”

2022 was a great season across the board…until March. Really, for Oscar Tshiebwe and Kentucky to have more success, all they have to do is win in March. Easier said than done. But don’t forget: Kentucky was phenomenal in the regular season. They played as well as anyone in the country until backcourt injuries derailed them in February.

With Oscar back, the ‘Cats should have no problem replicating that regular season success. Plus, the failures of this past postseason will help the group be better prepared for adversity in the NCAA Tournament.

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