SEC Player Racks Up Major Basketball Awards
The SEC pulled in a couple of big college basketball awards during the weekend with Kentucky's Oscar Tshiebwe being named both the 2022 Naismith Player of the Year on Sunday and the AP National Player of the Year on Friday.
The junior big man averaged 17.4 ppg and 15.1 rpg in his first season with Kentucky while leading the Wildcats to 26-8 record and a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. He also had 28 double-doubles on the season, which was a program record, including 16 straight to close the season. Before coming to Kentucky, Tshiebwe played his first two seasons at West Virginia, where he averaged 9.9 ppg and 8.6 rpg during his time there and made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament his sophomore year.
Tshiebwe is just the second Kentucky player to win the Naismith award behind Anthony Davis in 2012, and the third SEC player overall to win it along with Davis and Pete Maravich with LSU in 1970.
Though Kentucky's season went relatively well, a definite improvement from the nine wins they had just a season earlier before Tshiebwe's arrival, the Wildcats were upset in the first round of the NCAA Tournament by No. 15 seed Saint Peter's, which ended up being the start of the Peacocks' historic Elite Eight run. Tshiebwe avoided just about any blame for the tournament loss though, as he put up 30 points and 16 rebounds in the game.
Other major awards Tshiebwe has won this season includes the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Player of the Year award, the Sporting News Player of the Year award and the United States Basketball Writers Association Player of the Year award, totaling his NCAA-recognized National Player of the Year awards at five. He can win a sixth one, the Wooden Award, on Tuesday and become the unanimous selection for National Player of the Year.
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