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Oscar Tshiebwe wins G-League Rookie of the Year

On3 imageby:Sam Gillenwater04/02/24


Oscar Tshiebwe
Rob Gray | USA TODAY Sports

Oscar Tshiebwe became a dominant force in college basketball, specifically over his two seasons at Kentucky. Now, in his first year as a professional, it has translated to him winning a significant award as a rookie.

The NBA G-League announced on Tuesday that Tshiebwe, who plays for the Indiana Mad Ants, won Rookie of the Year. He took home the award with averages of 16.4 points and 16.1 rebounds on 55.9% shooting in his 23 games with the team this season.

“The award, voted on by the league’s head coaches and general managers, recognizes the first-year professional who most significantly contributed to his team’s success during the regular season,” wrote NBA Communications. “LA Clippers two-way guard Jordan Miller (Ontario Clippers) and Philadelphia 76ers two-way guard Ricky Council IV (Delaware Blue Coats) finished second and third in voting, respectively.”

As noted in the announcement, Tshiebwe had four games this season with 20-plus points and 20-plus rebounds. That included a recent outing of 26 boards. It also featured another of 28 rebounds, which was a Mad Ants record and the third-most in G-League history. Those massive double-doubles are exactly what he did while in college and that tenaciousness remains present as a pro.

These efforts also earned him a spot in the Rising Stars Game at All-Star Weekend and in the Up-Next Game in the G-League.

Tshiebwe has also appeared in eight games for the Indiana Pacers, which the Mad Ants are the affiliate of. In his minutes with the Pacers, he has averaged 3.3 points and two rebounds while shooting 50% from the field.

This comes after four seasons with West Virginia and, more notably, Kentucky. Tshiebwe played in 66 games as a Wildcat after transferring from Morgantown. In those appearances, he averaged 16.9 points, 14.4 rebounds, 1.7 steals, and 1.3 blocks per game while shooting 58.4%. His numbers in his first year of 17.1 points, 15.1 rebounds, 1.8 steals, 1.6 blocks, and a field-goal percentage of 60.6% were enough to earn him the honor as the unanimous National Player of the Year.

After his time in the bluegrass, Tshiebwe entered the 2023 NBA Draft but ended up undrafted. Indiana signed him soon after the draft, though, to a two-way deal. He has gone back and forth between the Pacers and Mad Ants ever since.

The Mad Ants posted a record of 21-13 this season. That was good for the No. 3 seed in the East and ties for the third-best record in the league. They’ll now open the postseason later today against the Delaware Blue Coats inside Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

Some were unsure of how Tshiebwe’s game would translate to the pros. It clearly hasn’t been too much of an adjustment, though, with now yet another accolade to add to his collection after his rookie season.