Kentucky Wildcats forward Oscar Tshiebwe (34) throws down a dunk against Florida in the Wildcats’ win over the Gators on March 5, 2022, in Gainesville, Fla. Photo courtesy of UK Athletics
April 5 (UPI) — Kentucky Wildcats forward Oscar Tshiebwe captured the 2022 John R. Wooden Award on Tuesday, it was announced.
Tshiebwe is the first Kentucky player to win the award — given annually to the nation’s best player — since Anthony Davis in 2012. The two Wildcats big men are the only Kentucky players to earn the award since its inception in 1977.
The Wooden Award is the latest honor for Tshiebwe, who also won Naismith Player of the Year, NABC National Player of the Year, Pete Newell Big Man of the Year and SEC Player of the Year.
In addition, Tshiebwe was a consensus first-team All-American selection this season.
“The things that he’s done haven’t been done for 50 years,” Kentucky men’s head coach John Calipari said earlier this month. “Let me say this again, the things that he’s done haven’t been done for 50 years.
“He plays his heart out and finds ways to impact every game. I’m proud of him, and it’s not only on the court. He’s so thankful and faith-based and he’s a joy to coach.”
Tshiebwe, a 6-foot-9 Congo native, transferred to Kentucky halfway through the 2020-21 campaign after a short stint at West Virginia. He averaged 17.4 points, 15.1 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game this season for the Wildcats.
The 22-year-old Tshiebwe finished with 28 double-doubles, including 16 straight to end the season.
The men’s Wooden Award has been handed out every year since 1977, starting with former UCLA star Marques Johnson. Iowa Hawkeyes center Luka Garza won the award last year.
The women’s Wooden Award began in 2004 with Duke’s Alana Beard. South Carolina’s Aliyah Boston was named the 2022 winner Monday, just one day after the Gamecocks won the national championship.