Oscar Tshiebwe’s prime rivals for nationwide participant of the 12 months

Kentucky's Oscar Tshiebwe will have plenty of rivals for national player of the year honors this season, including (clockwise from top left) North Carolina's Armando Bacot, Gonzaga's Drew Timme, Arkansas freshman Nick Smith Jr. and Houston's Marcus Sasser.

Kentucky’s Oscar Tshiebwe may have loads of rivals for nationwide participant of the 12 months honors this season, together with (clockwise from prime left) North Carolina’s Armando Bacot, Gonzaga’s Drew Timme, Arkansas freshman Nick Smith Jr. and Houston’s Marcus Sasser.

Employees and wire pictures

It has been 39 years since somebody earned consensus national player of the year honors in consecutive faculty basketball seasons.

might oscar tshiebwe finish that streak?

Kentucky has the reigning nationwide participant of the 12 months again on campus going into the 2022-23 marketing campaign. He is the primary such participant to decide on to return to school since North Carolina’s Tyler Hansbrough swept the most important awards in 2008 and stayed in Chapel Hill for one more season. Hansbrough did not repeat because the nation’s prime participant — Oklahoma freshman Blake Griffin earned all of these honors in 2009 — however the veteran ahead did lead the Tar Heels to a nationwide championship in his return season.

Tshiebwe has acknowledged {that a} nationwide title is his final aim over the subsequent few months, however he also needs to be within the thick of issues for a second wave of participant of the 12 months trophies. virginia massive man Ralph Samson was the final repeat winner of a majority of the highest awards, doing so on the finish of the 1982-83 season. Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing and Sam Perkins have been among the many different prime stars that season, and Tshiebwe may also have loads of proficient rivals this time round.

Here is a take a look at 10 gamers that may give the Kentucky star a run for participant of the 12 months honors.

1. Drew Timme, Gonzaga

There isn’t any doubt that Drew Timme goes into the season as Tshiebwe’s prime competitors. Timme was the one different unanimous option to the Related Press preseason All-America group, and a few publications have even named him their preseason player of the year regardless of Tshiebwe’s return. Timme was additionally a front-runner for prime participant honors going into final season, and he ended up averaging 18.4 factors, 6.8 rebounds and a pair of.8 assists per sport for a Gonzaga group that began and completed the 2021-22 marketing campaign because the nation’s No. 1 -ranked group.

Tshiebwe and Timme will meet in court docket on Nov. 20 in Spokane.

2. Armando Bacot, North Carolina

A McDonald’s All-American out of highschool, Armando Baccot has improved markedly from 12 months to 12 months and he averaged 16.3 factors and 13.1 rebounds as a junior final season, main the Tar Heels on an epic run that ended with a loss to Kansas within the nationwide title sport. Bacot averaged 15.3 factors and 16.5 rebounds within the NCAA Event — topping 20 rebounds in each the Elite Eight and Closing 4 video games — and rolls into this season off that momentum. UNC begins the marketing campaign because the No. 1 group within the AP rankings, and Bacot may have returning starters Caleb Love (a doable nationwide participant of the 12 months candidate himself), RJ Davis and Leaky Black again alongside him for one more run on the title.

3. Marcus Sasser, Houston

Marcus Sasser missed most of final season following surgical procedure on his left foot, however he has proven sufficient up to now to warrant preseason AP All-America honors going into his fourth 12 months of faculty. Earlier than his damage to him, Sasser was averaging 17.7 factors, 2.6 assists and a pair of.1 steals per sport whereas making 43.7 p.c of his three-point photographs and hitting 45 complete threes in simply 12 video games. He is an elite two-way participant and arguably the perfect guard in all of faculty basketball. Houston begins the season No. 3 within the rankings after a run to the Elite Eight — regardless of main accidents — final season and making the Closing 4 in 2021.

4. Trayce Jackson-Davis, Ind.

Like the remainder of the beforehand talked about AP preseason All-People, Trayce Jackson-Davis is a four-year faculty participant. The previous McDonald’s All-American ranks prime 15 all-time in factors, rebounds and blocked photographs for his home-state Hoosiers, who start the season ranked No. 13 nationally within the AP ballot. Jackson-Davis averaged 18.3 factors and eight.1 rebounds per sport final season, blocking 81 photographs. The 6-foot-9 ahead goes into the season as the ultimate decide in ESPN’s NBA mock draft for 2023, the second-oldest participant on that record. (Oscar Tshiebwe is the oldest).

5. Nick Smith Jr., Arkansas

Solely as soon as up to now 10 seasons has a freshman earned consensus nationwide participant of the 12 months honors. Duke’s Zion Williamson did it after the 2018-19 season. Kentucky’s Anthony Davis was the final newcomer to do it earlier than that. mighty Nick Smith Jr. be subsequent? If any freshman goes to do it, Smith is the most probably selection going into the season. He is a 6-5 guard who can warmth up in a rush offensively, and he’ll be taking part in in an Arkansas system that ought to each completely go well with his fashion and make him a featured participant. The Razorbacks will boast loads of expertise round Smith this season, however he has the flexibility to achieve celebrity standing on a group that’s ranked No. 10 nationally and — in response to the Southeastern Convention media preseason ballot — shall be Kentucky’s prime competitors within the league . 247Sports ranked him because the No. 1 recruit in the 2022 classand ESPN initiatives him because the No. 4 decide within the 2023 draft.

6. Jaime Jaquez Jr., UCLA

Jaime Jaquez Jr. has began 89 video games over his three-year UCLA profession, serving to the Bruins make an inconceivable run to the Closing 4 as an 11 seed in 2021. Final season, the 6-7 wing averaged 13.9 factors, a team-high 5.7 rebounds and a pair of.3 assists per sport, and he already ranks within the prime 50 on UCLA’s star-studded all-time scoring record. He is additionally earned Pac-12 all-defensive group honors the previous two seasons. Jaquez will as soon as once more have a ton of expertise round him — together with returning guard Tyger Campbell and star recruits Amari Bailey and Adem Bona — however one other massive step in his sport might vault him into the participant of the 12 months dialog. UCLA is ranked No. 8 within the preseason AP ballot.

7. Kendric Davis, Memphis

Maybe the nation’s most-coveted switch this offseason, Kendrick Davis ended up staying within the American Athletic Convention, leaping from SMU to Memphis. Final season, the 5-11 guard averaged 19.4 factors, 3.4 rebounds and 4.4 assists per sport for the Mustangs, incomes AAC participant of the 12 months honors and ending up on the top of the transfer rankings when he put his title within the portal. He averaged 19.0 factors and seven.6 assists per sport the season earlier than that. Now, he’ll be the featured participant for Penny Hardaway, who is anticipated to show Davis free on the level guard place. Memphis just isn’t ranked within the preseason, however the Tigers’ newcomer might put up some higher numbers in his fifth season of faculty basketball.

8. Hunter Dickinson, Michigan

Michigan simply missed the Closing 4 two seasons in the past and took a step again — however nonetheless sneaked into the NCAA Event and made it to the Candy Sixteen — in 2022. The Wolverines begin this season ranked No. 22 within the AP ballot, and Hunter Dickinson must be the star of a group with loads of upside. The 7-1 heart averaged 18.6 factors and eight.6 rebounds per sport as a sophomore. He’ll be the Large Ten’s returning chief in each of these classes. He’ll additionally get a matchup with Oscar Tshiebwe on a global stage. Kentucky performs Michigan in London on Dec. 4.

9. Zach Edey, Purdue

Sticking with Large Ten giants, zach edey is a 7-4, 290-pound heart who put up massive numbers for Purdue final season — 14.4 factors and seven.7 rebounds — regardless of taking part in simply 18.9 minutes per sport as he shared the frontcourt with fellow star Trevion Williams, who’s now off to the professionals That departure ought to give much more of the highlight to Edey, who has the potential to extend his numbers with added taking part in time and expertise. Purdue is simply outdoors of the top-25 rankings to start the season, however it would not be a shock to see the Boilermakers work their approach onto the record within the early going. In response to Purdue, he’s the one participant within the final 30 years to common 14.0 factors, 7.0 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 1.0 blocks in beneath 20.0 minutes per sport.

10. Baylor Scheierman, Creighton

It is a little bit of a wild-card decide, however Baylor-Scheierman was maybe the most-buzzed-about participant to hit the switch portal over the offseason. The 6-7 guard — or level ahead, or no matter positional designation you need to place on him — was the Summit League participant of the 12 months at South Dakota State final season, averaging 16.2 factors, 7.8 rebounds and 4.5 assists per sport. He additionally shot 46.9 p.c from three-point vary. He was the one participant in Division I basketball to steer his convention in rebounds and assists, and he’ll now play for a Creighton group ranked No. 9 within the AP preseason ballot and seen as a reputable Closing 4 risk. Scheierman won’t even be the perfect participant on this Bluejays squad, and the Large East will carry a completely new problem. However, if he lives as much as the hype and performs as much as his new competitors degree, he might be a featured all-around participant on probably the greatest groups within the nation.

Ben Roberts is the College of Kentucky males’s basketball beat author for the Lexington Herald-Chief. He has beforehand specialised in UK basketball recruiting protection and created and maintained the Subsequent Cats weblog. He’s a Franklin County native and first joined the Herald-Chief in 2006.
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