Oscar Tshiebwe to the Pacers as an undrafted NBA free agent: UK Wildcats Basketball

Kentucky Wildcats legend Oscar Tshiebwe is now living out the NBA draft.

After not being selected in the 2023 NBA draft, Tshiebwe was signed by the Indiana Pacers to a two-way contract (go here for an explainer on two-way deals).

Athletic’s Shams Charania broke the news first.

While Tshiebwe was certainly hoping to get drafted, it’s still a wonderful sight to see him achieve his NBA dreams!

Before questioning Tshiebwe’s ultimate decision not to return to Lexington, it’s important to understand that he knew his path would not be easy.

Showing what he can offer a team in a summer league game will be a big step in Tshiebwe’s quest to carve out a role on an NBA lab roster. There were flashes of dominance during the NBA Combine, which he will aim to build on this summer.

The former 5-star perspective went into this understanding that it will take courage and purposeful development to make an impact beyond the college level.

It’s hard to imagine a player like Tshiebwe not doing the work necessary to succeed on the basketball court, no matter the level of competition.

Whether in the NBA or another professional league, I expect him to have a long and lucrative career.

Oscar Tshiebwe will be considered one of the best players to ever wear blue and white. His National Player of the Year season was something Kentucky fans may never see replicated in their lifetime.

In his two seasons at Lexington, Tshiebwe has more than kept the statisticians busy. Including his time in West Virginia, the big man pulled off a jaw-dropping 1,317 rebounds, as well as an automatic double-double.

Last season, Tshiebwe led the Cats with 16.5 points and a national record 13.7 boards per game. He’s tied for second in career double-doubles (48), sixth in career all-time rebounds (952) and 48th in scoring (1,117) in program history.

It’s frustrating that Tshiebwe didn’t have much success in the NCAA Tournament, despite playing at a superstar level.

In the loss to Saint Peter’s in 2022, the No. 34 played a grueling 43 minutes, grabbed 16 rebounds and had 30 points.

In the Cats’ most recent loss to Kansas State, Tshiebwe had 25 points and 18 rebounds.

The bottom line is that The Big O will go down as one of the best ever to do so and should only be remembered fondly.

The Big Blue Nation wishes you all the best, Oscar.

Go get them, Big O!

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