Even though we are having to slog through a dreadful set of games right now, you have to admit this team has been such a breath of fresh air for Kentucky fans. After several years of disappointing five-star freshmen, seeing TyTy Washington really shine has been encouraging.
But it is the two transfers that I want to highlight a little today. Because Kentucky has been taking transfers for a few years now, with Reid Travis, Nate Sestina, and Olivier Sarr being the most highly-touted. And while all three guys had their moments with Kentucky, none of them were difference makers. But the impact Oscar Tshwiebe and Sahvir Wheeler have had through just five games has been incredible. I would argue they are easily the two most irreplaceable members of the roster. Kentucky has nobody who can do what they can do. This was clear when Oscar went out quickly against Ohio and their big guys whipped Kentucky for a half. Oscar came back in the second half and UK routed Ohio.
While it is very early, both guys are setting torrid paces in rebounds and assists and the modern single-season records could be at risk in both categories. I think I will continue to follow this throughout the year and hopefully we will see some records broken in March.
For the purposes of this post, the “modern era” of UK basketball is the inclusion of a shot clock in 1986.
*Through 5 games
Oscar Tshiewe: 80 rebounds
Julius Randle: 68 rebounds (finished with 417)
Anthony Davis: 37 rebounds (finished with 415)
Demarcus Cousins: 45 rebounds (finished with 375)
Oscar is already out ahead of the pace set by Julius Randle by quite a bit. What is truly crazy is he is 12 ahead of Randle but a whopping 43 rebounds ahead of Anthony Davis through five games. This not only shows just how dominant Oscar has been so far this year but also just how dominant AD became as the 2012 season progressed, that he ended up just two behind Julius Randle. Outside of foul trouble, I think Oscar has a really great shot at beating this record.
*Bill Spivey holds the overall single-season record for rebounds, with 567. Assuming this UK team plays 35 games, that would require Oscar to average 16.2 rebounds per game for the season to reach that number.
*Through 5 games
Sahvir Wheeler: 41 assists
Tyler Ulis: 24 assists (finished with 246)
John Wall: 33 assists (finished with 241)
Roger Harden: 41 assists (finished with 232)
Travis Ford: 38 assists (finished with 193)
Anthony Epps: 24 assists (finished with 193)
Sahvir has more assists through five games in a season than any player in modern history. Roger Harden also had 41. He is already 17 ahead of the pace set by Tyler Ulis from 2016 and 8 ahead of John Wall. I think this record could end up quite close, as Wheeler will probably get significant minutes all year and he has playmakers around him that should keep his assist number high. But Wall and Ulis were both very consistent during their record years and Sahvir can’t have any dip or he can fall behind in pace quickly.
While I think Oscar is probably 60% to break his record, for now, I am putting Sahvir at 40% to break the single-season assists records.
Keep an eye on this post being updated throughout the year.