Kentucky’s Tshiebwe Gives Glory To God, Wins AP Men’s College Player of Year

Photo from Oscar Tshiebwe’s Instagram

Kentucky’s Tshiebwe Gives Glory To God, Wins AP Men’s College Player of Year

By Movieguide® Staff

The Kentucky Wildcats’ season came to an end after they were upset by the 15th ranked St. Peters on March 17.  

Despite the loss, Kentucky’s Oscar Tshiebwe earned The Associated Press men’s college basketball national player of the year.

The 6-foot-9 forward won 46 of 60 votes from AP Top 25 voters for his elite rebounding numbers in his first season with the Wildcats. 

The Democratic Republic of the Congo native grabbed the most rebounds of any Kentucky Wildcat player in history at their home court, Rupp Arena. Tshiebwe became one of two Wildcat players to earn the award, the first being NBA all-star Anthony Davis. 

“It is amazing to be join somebody like Anthony Davis,” Tshiebwe said. “And that gives me confidence and gives me more help for my future, too, for what I’m trying to do and what I’m trying to accomplish. I’m just putting God first because God knows what I need, and he has great plans for me.”

Tshiebwe said that rebounding became a focus when he came to the states to play basketball, and in the 2021-2022 season, he averaged 15.1 a game. 

“First of all, it’s the position,” Tshiebwe explained. “You have to place yourself where you don’t need to work too hard for the basketball just to come in your hands. You’ve got to read it. … If somebody’s shooting this angle, probably 75% it’s going that way because the ball’s coming in this way, 25% it’s coming this way. You have to know that.”

Tshiebwe also won the SEC Conference Player of the Year Award and The Naismith Trophy for his performance this year.

After his breakout season with Kentucky, Tshiebwe is a top prospect for the NBA draft. However, whether he stays another year in college or enters the draft, Tshiebwe trusts God’s plan for his life. 

Movieguide® previously reported

Tshiebwe’s faith not only helped him to trust God with his career, but also supported him through the great tragedy of losing his father.

In 2012, Tshiebwe learned that his father had been murdered.

“I was mad at God. I asked God, ‘Why this has to happen?’ I said, ‘If God, He really want good people to help each other. So why you taking my dad so fast?’ because my daddy was helping a lot of people that did not have enough,” he said. “I was mad, but the more I spent time with God, asking God questions, He revealed, like He told me why He always taking good people and He always let bad people to live longer.”

He continued: “I said, ‘No, maybe I need to give my heart to God. Maybe I need to pay attention,’ because my daddy always told me, ‘No matter what happens in your life, don’t let that thing affect your relationship with God, because God has great plans for your life and your dream,’ because he use to tell me, ‘His purpose for your life is to give you hope and good future.'”

Ever since his conversion, Tshiebwe held onto the words of his earthly father and the words from his heavenly father.

“I say, ‘What is the – why the Bible say, anything is possible, but everybody here told me it’s impossible for me to get there?’ I say, ‘I will stick with the Word of God. I don’t care what people say. I’m going to stick with the Word of God. If I’m going to fail, I’m going to fail with the Word of God,'” he said when people told him he would never make Kentucky’s team.

“When I stuck with the Word of God about everything is possible to those who spend the time, work harder, and believe in God, I’m in Kentucky right now,” he added. “That’s why I know I can do more things with God because everything God has given us is possible.”

As Tshiebwe seeks to succeed in this year’s NCAA Tournament and eventually the NBA, he said that he wants to honor God above all else.

“Beside playing in NBA, doing everything like -I want to be a speaker. I want to speak for God,” he said. “I want to stand and like, help a lot of different people. I want to go back home and help. Help. I want to be the example of what my daddy did. My daddy did from not having a lot of money, but if I have money, I think I can do better. I can do better. I’m going to help somebody else. I’m going to – I’m going to try to change the world.”

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