COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Oscar Tshiebwe, Drew Timme Top AP Preseason All-America Team

Oct 24, 2022, 11:06 AM

drew-timme-gonzaga-basketball...

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - MARCH 30: Drew Timme #2 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs celebrates after defeating the USC Trojans 85-66 in the Elite Eight round game of the 2021 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 30, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

ASSOCIATED PRESS – Oscar Tschiebwe was the consensus men’s college basketball player of the year last season, an accomplishment usually followed by a jump to the NBA.

Kentucky’s big man decided to take a different route. He’s coming back โ€” and he may be even better this season.

“He’s a better passer. He’s a better dribbler. He has a better feel. He talks,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said. “Offensively he knows the plays better. And he’s authentic.”

Tshiebwe was a unanimous selection along with Gonzaga big man Drew Timme in The Associated Press preseason All-America team released Monday. They were joined by North Carolina forward Armando Bacot, Houston guard Marcus Sasser and Indiana forward Trayce Jackson-Davis on the team selected by a 59-person media panel that votes on the weekly AP Top 25.

Tshiebwe is the ninth AP national player of the year โ€” Bill Walton and Ralph Sampson did it twice โ€” to return for another season, according to Sportradar, and the first since Tyler Hansbrough came back to lead North Carolina to a national title in 2009.

The fourth-ranked Wildcats are hoping Tshiebwe can do the same for them.

The 6-foot-9, 260-pound forward from the Congo led the nation in rebounding at 15.1 per game while averaging 17.4 points. He shot 60% from the field, had 60 steals and 55 blocks, and finished the season with 16 consecutive double-doubles on the way to a school-record 28.

Instead of taking his game to the NBA, Tshiebwe opted to return when projections had him going in the second round of the 2022 draft.

“They (NBA scouts) want my game to expand a little bit,” said Tshiebwe, who started his career at West Virginia. “They want me to be able to make one or two 3-pointers, They want me to catch the ball, drive and finish, and get better in dribbling.”

Timme made a similar decision โ€” two years in a row. The 6-10 senior was one of the nation’s best big men each of the past two seasons, leading the Zags on deep NCAA runs, including a trip to the national title game in 2021. He was a second-team All-American for the second straight season a year ago after averaging 18.4 points and 6.8 rebounds.

Timme still had areas of his game he wanted to work on before heading to the NBA and hoped for one more shot at winning a national title with the second-ranked Zags. The NCAA’s name, image and likeness deals made it an easier decision and, besides, college life is a lot of fun.

“We have a chance to do something special, I wanted to get my degree, there’s things I want to work on, I want to build on,” Timme said. “It was a culmination of a lot of things, but I really enjoy being a college kid.”

Bacot also has a chance to do something special with the Tar Heels.

The 6-11 forward tied the NCAA record with 31 double-doubles last season and became the first to have six in the same NCAA Tournament while leading North Carolina to the national title game. The Tar Heels lost to Kansas, but are No. 1 in the preseason AP Top 25 and among the favorites to win it all with Bacot back.

“I don’t go a day where we’re not like saying, man, we can’t wait to get to that,” Bacot said of winning a national title. “Maybe that’s not the best approach, but I mean, we’re human.”

Sasser was a key cog two years ago during the Cougars’ first Final Four run since the Phi Slama Jama days, averaging 13.7 points while playing menacing defense.

The dynamic 6-2 guard got off to a strong start last season, but was limited to 12 games after breaking a bone in his left foot. He was named the American Athletic Conference preseason player of the year and a big reason the Cougars are ranked No. 3 in the AP preseason poll.

“It puts a target on your back every night, but it also gives me motivation every day in practice to go out there and work harder,” Sasser said.

Jackson-Davis was a preseason All-American last season and led the Hoosiers in scoring (18.3) and rebounding (8.1). The 6-9 forward also helped Indiana reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time in six years, but the run ended with a first round loss to Saint Mary’s.

With Jackson-Davis back, the No. 13 Hoosiers are the favorites to win the Big Ten and, they hope, make a deep March run.

“I think I have kind of set the stone of my individual legacy, being an All-American and doing all of those things, but those don’t really matter if you don’t win something here,” he said. “Winning is a big thing here, so winning a national championship and also winning a Big Ten title, those are my two main goals this year.”

College Basketball

ACC Coach, Big 12 Basketball, Clemson Brad Brownell...

Mitch Harper

ACC Coach Believes Big 12 Teams ‘Manipulated’ The NET Rankings

Did Big 12 basketball teams game the system to improve NET rankings? One coach from the ACC believes they did.

57 minutes ago

issy-palmer-dasia-young-alissa-pili-will-celebrate-senior-day-against-washington-2024...

Michelle Bodkin

Utah Women’s Basketball Preparing To Close Out Pac-12 Regular Season

The Pac-12 regular season comes to a close for Utah women's basketball this weekend against the Washington schools.

4 hours ago

BYU Basketball, Kansas Win, Provo Airport...

Mitch Harper

BYU Fans Greeted Basketball Team At Airport After Kansas Win

Cougar fans showed up to support their team after a memorable victory.

10 hours ago

BYU Basketball, Mark Pope, Kansas Win...

Mitch Harper

BYU’s Upset At Kansas Soars To Top Of Greatest Wins Under Mark Pope

BYU's win over Kansas is an all-timer in Cougar Basketball history.

11 hours ago

Bill Self, Kansas Jayhawks, BYU Basketball...

Mitch Harper

Bill Self Felt Kansas Played ‘Pitifully’ During Loss To BYU

The veteran Kansas head coach wasn't impressed with his team's performance against BYU.

12 hours ago

BYU Basketball, Jaxson Robinson, Kansas Jayhawks...

Mitch Harper

Takeaways From BYU’s Historic Win Over Kansas At Allen Fieldhouse

Takeaways from the win at Kansas inside Allen Fieldhouse.

15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

ksl-sports-newsletter...

KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.

...

KSL Sports

Jazz Notes Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the Jazz Notes newsletter. Get insider analysis, game recaps and opportunities to win tickets!

Follow @kslsports...

The Road Home Mediathon 2023

The KSL Sports Zone and KSLSports.com are proud to support the all-day Mediathon 2023 at the Road Home, an annual tradition to raise money and other essential items for the Road Home, a Homeless Shelter.

3 kids wearing real salt lake jerseys smiling...

Real Salt Lake

6 Reasons You Need to Experience a RSL Matchday

RSL Games are a great way to spend time with your family with fun activities, good food, and traditions you can only experience at the field.

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...

KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.

Jordan-Clarkson-Utah-Jazz...

KSL Digital Sales

Notable Moments From The Utah Jazz Season… So Far

At the beginning of the season, the Utah Jazz were second to last. Now they rank in the top 10 teams in the Western Conference.

Oscar Tshiebwe, Drew Timme Top AP Preseason All-America Team