(Photo: Jamie Squire / Getty Images)
Kentucky landed the best basketball transfer prospect on the market in the 2021-22 season.
Downtown West Virginia and former 5-star prospective Oscar Shibwe has committed to Kentucky, choosing Wildcats over offers and interest rates from Illinois, Miami (Florida) and North Carolina, among others.
After splitting the rest of the 2020-21 season, the latest Wildcat will be eligible for participation for three years, starting in 2021-22.
Tsiebwe, a 6-foot-9, 260-pound center, originally outside 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 wing span of 7 feet and 5, led West Virginia in scoring and rebounding with 11.2 points and 9.3 boards per game, respectively. It was a first-year campaign that led him to win the All-Big 12 Second Team and All-Freshman Team awards, along with the Preseason All-Big 12 Team awards that enter this season. CBS Sports listed the former WVU center as the No. 15 player in college basketball before the 2020-21 season.
Prior to his time at Morgantown, Tshiebwe was ranked as a five-star potential by 247Sports and Rivals.com, which listed the remarkable center as the 23rd and 26th overall set in the class for 2019, respectively. ESPN had included him on the four-star list and number 48 as a set in its class.
He was also named 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, Tsiebwe told KSR that he loves UK head coach John Calipari and what Kentucky’s basketball program offers.
“It was a difficult decision because I like Kentucky and I love Coach Calipari,” Shibwe said. “But I ended up in West Virginia because it’s a school I thought 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 if he hadn’t signed with the mountaineers, he’d headed for Lexington.
“Coach Calipari was telling me, ‘I want to train you!’ Come play for me! I will train you and help you become a great player. I will help you achieve your dreams. … Kentucky was second. ”
It may not have been immediately, but eventually Tshiebwe found his way to Lexington two short years later as a transfer.
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Welcome home, Mr. Tshiebwe.