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#pounditTuesday, July 16, 2024

Kentucky reporter asks big question about Oscar Tshiebwe

Oscar Tsheibwe at a press conference

Mar 16, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Kentucky Wildcats forward Oscar Tshiebwe (34) talks to the media at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Oscar Tshiebwe announced some big news on Friday, which has left some Kentucky reporters and fans asking an interesting question.

Tshiebwe announced via social media that he will enter the NBA Draft but retain his college eligibility.

https://twitter.com/Oscartshiebwe34/status/1644458981119631363

Tshiebwe is likely retaining his eligibility because there is uncertainty over whether he gets drafted.

Some believe there is a strong likelihood that he goes undrafted. If he does get picked, it might only be in the second round. Instead, Tshiebwe can return to Kentucky for a third season and fifth college year overall.

But Kyle Tucker, who covers Kentucky for The Athletic, has asked an interesting question. Tucker asked whether Kentucky even wants Tshiebwe back for another year.

Tucker recognizes Tshiebwe’s strengths as a player and popularity among Wildcats fans, but he believes the big man limits what Kentucky can do both offensively and defensively.

Tshiebwe averaged 16.5 points and 13.7 rebounds last season. He averaged 17.4 points and 15.2 rebounds per game the season before. It seems ludicrous that Kentucky wouldn’t want a player back who won the Sporting News National Player of the Year two seasons ago. Maybe he would have to adjust his game and role, but it seems like he would benefit the program more than harm it.

Tshiebwe also earns over seven figures in NIL deals, so a return to Kentucky likely wouldn’t hurt him in a financial sense. But will it hurt the Wildcats to have him back? That’s an interesting question for a team that went 22-12 and lost in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

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