Connect with us

Men's Basketball

Oscar Tshiebwe Addresses Transfer Rumors, Says “Kentucky is My Home”

Published

on

Oscar Thsiebwe celebrating with Kentucky basketball fans at Rupp Arena.
© Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

It is mid-May and Kentucky’s basketball roster has yet to be finalized. One reason for that is the wait for Chris Livingston and Oscar Tshiebwe to make their final decisions, as they are currently participating in the NBA Draft combine and awaiting final feedback from teams.

For Livingston, the transfer portal deadline has passed. Therefore, it is either a return to Kentucky or remain in the NBA Draft for him, with the consensus being that he will remain in the draft despite concerns from NBA scouts.

For Tshiebwe, he too has the option to return to Kentucky or remain in the NBA Draft. However, after graduating from Kentucky in early May, Tshiebwe also has the option to transfer as a graduate transfer if he wishes. While the transfer portal closed back on May 11th for undergrad students, graduates can transfer at any time and that has been rumored to be a possibility for Tshiebwe should he decide to return to college.

Advertisement

Ben Roberts of the Lexington Herald-Leader asked Tshiebwe about the possibility, to which he answered, “That is not an option.”

“I will never transfer. Kentucky’s my home. If there’s a chance to go professional, I’ll go pro. If there’s a chance to not go professional, I will go back to Kentucky. I’ve never even thought about going (another) place. Kentucky is my home. It’s a dream place. I can’t leave my home. That’s my place, forever.”

Prior to this week’s NBA Draft combine, Tshiewbe was pretty clearly on the outside looking in, with no outlet projecting him to be selected in their mock drafts. To add, only ESPN had him ranked on their big board, ranking 64th overall.

With that said, Tshiebwe has definitely helped himself at the combine.

Advertisement

On Monday, Tshiebwe was measured and participated in some drills. While his agility circuit numbers weren’t great, which has been a concern, he did impress in one area, three-point shooting. Having shot 0-2 from three for his entire colligate career, it was a pleasant surprise as he shot 12-25 on threes, and then followed it up with an impressive shooting display during his Pro Day on Wednesday.

Also on Wednesday, Tshiebwe opted to play in the 5-on-5 scrimmages and came away as one of the biggest winners. Unsurprisingly, he finished with a 10-point, 16-rebound double-double, and had the most rebounds of any player in the last five Draft Combine scrimmages.

While he helped his stock, there is one reason for optimism of a return, he did not show much outside of what he showed at Kentucky, at least in terms of the scrimmage. While Tshiebwe is an elite rebounder, which does translate to the NBA, he still had some defensive lapses and has not yet showcased any perimeter skills in a game setting. Then again, all it takes is one team to like what they see.

He will have a second scrimmage on Thursday afternoon.

Advertisement

The wait for a decision will not take too much longer as the NBA Draft withdrawal deadline is May 31st. If we have seen the last of Oscar Tshiebwe in a Kentucky uniform, he is grateful for his time in Lexington and what he calls the best time of his life.

“It has meant a lot. I’ve had a great, great time — probably the best time in my life — at Kentucky,” he said. “The people have been great to me. I’ve been good with the fans. I’m just so appreciative for everything the people have done for us. And everything I have accomplished for Kentucky — I’m very grateful for that.”

“And I will continue to be a part of the Big Blue Nation forever.”

Advertisement

Men's Basketball

Tre Mitchell’s Stepfather Gives Injury Update, “Ridiculously Painful”

Published

on

Kentucky Wildcats forward Tre Mitchell injury is still "ridiculously painful"
© Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

Tre Mitchell missed his third-straight game on Saturday, suffering a shoulder injury during the Ole Miss game, while also still trying to recover from a lingering back issue that kept him out two games prior.

His stepfather, Tony Bergeron, was on WPBK-FM on Friday, before Kentucky’s game against Alabama, where he gave an update on Mitchell. “I thought he came back a little too early (against Ole Miss), got hit, and sprained that shoulder like it was a football injury. The problem now is that it is ridiculously painful,” Bergeron said.

On a positive note, this may help Mitchell reach 100 percent. “He needs to just wait until his back is 100 percent,” Bergeron said. It’s clear that Mitchell hadn’t been himself while playing through the back pain, shooting just 35 percent (8-23) over the three games prior to his first DNP.

Advertisement

With compounded injuries, it is best to just rest and recover fully until making a return. Kentucky will need Mitchell at his best for a post-season run.

Continue Reading

Men's Basketball

Kentucky vs. Mississippi State, Round 2: TV/Streaming Info, Keys to the Game, and Predictions

Published

on

After a dominant win over Alabama, the Kentucky Wildcats will take on Mississippi State on the road.
© Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

What a win on Saturday for the Kentucky Wildcats, who put up one of the best offensive performances in college basketball this season on Saturday in a 117-95 win over Alabama. Now they will go back on the road to take on a Mississippi State team in a quad-one opportunity.

With Kentucky coming out on top in the first matchup, back in January, Mississippi State will look to even the season series and defend their home court on Tuesday. The Bulldogs are playing some of their best basketball of the season, riding a five-game winning streak, including a twenty-point road victory over LSU, whom Kentucky just lost to.

Let’s look at the matchup.

Advertisement

Interior Defense

Tolu Smith is arguably the best big man in the SEC. In the first matchup between these two teams, he certainly made his presence felt despite the loss, scoring a season-high 26 points on better than 70 percent shooting.

This time around will be a good test to see how an improved Kentucky defense handles a physical interior player. While improving and reportedly back at practice, Tre Mitchell is unlikely to play on Tuesday, so it will be up to the seven-footers.

Ugonna Onyenso is Kentucky’s most physical big, but Zvonimir Ivisic who just scored a season-high 18 points, gives Kentucky a higher offensive ceiling.

Rebounding Battle

Similar to the stereotypical SEC team, Mississippi State is a physical team that does well on the boards, ranking toward the top of the country in total rebounds, offensive rebounds, and rebound margin. In the first matchup, Kentucky outrebounded the Bulldogs 30-29, that effort will need to be there again Tuesday.

Advertisement

Josh Hubbard

Mississippi State’s equivalent to Rob Dillingham is Josh Hubbard. The sub-six-foot electric guard is a similar microwave-type player who just won his fifth SEC Freshman of the Week honor this season after scoring 32 points against LSU.

Scoring just three points on 1-11 shooting against Kentucky back in January, Hubbard is motivated to have a better performance. The priority in defending Hubbard is chasing him off the three-point line or pushing him back as more than 64 percent of his shots have been taken from deep. Similar to what Kentucky did to Alabama, make him finish at the rim.

Opposing Players to Watch

F Tolu Smith 6-11, 245 lbs

  • 16.8 PPG (9th in SEC)
  • 8.1 RPG (3rd in SEC)
  • 59.7% FG (1st in SEC)

G Josh Hubbard 5-10, 185 lbs

  • 15.3 PPG (10th in SEC)
  • 76 3PM (1st in SEC)
  • 7.9 3PA per game

G Dashawn Davis 6-1, 190 lbs

  • 6.2 PPG
  • 3.0 APG (17th in SEC)

Kentucky Basketball vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs

  • Time: 7 PM ET on February 27th
  • TV Channel: ESPN
  • Announcers: To be announced.
  • Location: Humphrey Coliseum in Starkville, Mississippi.
  • Online Stream: WatchESPN and ESPN app
  • Radio: Tom Leach and Jack Givens have the UK radio call on the UK Sports Radio Network.
  • Replay: WatchESPN and the SEC Network (check local listings).
  • Rosters: UK | MISS ST
  • Stats to Know: UK | MISS ST
  • KenPom: UK | MISS ST
  • Team Sheets: UK | MISS ST
  • Odds: DraftKings has yet to release the odds for the game, but check back on Monday evening. Despite a convincing win over Alabama, the projections are not in Kentucky’s favor. ESPN’s matchup predictor gives the Cats just a 40.9% chance at victory, with Bart Torvik right in line at 41%. EvanMiya and KenPom give Kentucky a slightly higher chance at the win, at 46% and 45% respectively.
  • Predictions: The projections have the game coming down to the wire. Bart Torvik and KenPom have Mississippi State winning by two points, 80-78 and 79-77. Haslametrics and EvanMiya have the Cats winning by just one point, 77-76.

Also published on A Sea of Blue.

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Men's Basketball

Recap and Takeaways From Kentucky’s Dominating Win Over Alabama

Published

on

The Kentucky Wildcats dominated Alabama in a 117-95 win.
© Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

Rupp Arena was rocking on Saturday when Kentucky faced no. 13 Alabama, and the Wildcats matched that same energy in a fun one. The Cats absolutely demolished the Crimson Tide by a score of 117-95, one of the best offensive performances ever.

Justin Edwards had his breakout game, finishing with 28 points on a perfect 10-10 shooting, and 4-4 from deep. Antonio Reeves added 24 points, Zvonimir Ivisic had 18, and Rob Dillingham poured in 16 to lead Kentucky in scoring to go along with an impressive 63% from the field and 54% from three-point range.

Let’s take a look at how the domination happened.

Advertisement

Justin Edwards Has His Breakout Game

Saturday’s game against Alabama will be known as the Justin Edwards Game. After having a rough season so far going through many mental battles, Edwards finally had his breakout game, and BBN and his teammates were so happy for him. Finishing with a career-high and team-high 28 points, he added 5 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals.

Edwards went a perfect 10-10 from the field, and shot 4-4 from deep. That makes Edwards only one of three players in UK history with at least 10 field goal attempts with no miss.

Kentucky Shows Historic Offensive Performance

The offensive performance on Saturday was one for the ages. Kentucky’s 117 points were the most scored against an AP Top 25 opponent in UK history. Shooting 63% from the field, it was one of the more impressive performances, while also shooting 54% from three-point range.

Kentucky had 5 players in double figures. The assist-to-turnover ratio was top notch, with a 24:10 ratio. It was a performance that will be remembered for a long time

Advertisement

Three-Point Defense Improves

Kentucky’s defense as a whole wasn’t the best, with allowing 95 points, but the Cats forced 16 turnovers and had 29 points off of them, while also having 7 blocks and 11 steals. The three-point defense was really impressive. Holding a team that attempts nearly 30 three-point attempts per game to just 17 attempts, it was certainly running Alabama off the three-point line. Alabama only made 6 threes on those 17 attempts, shooting 35%.

Making Alabama score in other ways besides three-pointers seemed to be an emphasis for Kentucky. They definitely succeeded at that on Saturday.

Kentucky had their best offensive performance of the season, and one that was against a top-15 opponent, and much needed in the final stretch of the season. Next, Kentucky will head to Mississippi State on Tuesday. Tip-off will be at 7 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN.

Check out the box score and highlight’s from Saturday’s win.

Advertisement

Box Score

Highlights

Continue Reading

Trending