Report: Oscar Tshiebwe Set to Make Kentucky Season Debut vs. Michigan State

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVNovember 15, 2022

LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY - NOVEMBER 11:  Oscar Tshiebwe #34 of the Kentucky Wildcats cheers from the bench during the game against the Duquesne Dukes at Rupp Arena on November 11, 2022 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Reigning National Player of the Year Oscar Tshiebwe will reportedly make his season debut for Kentucky against Michigan State on Tuesday.

Per Jeff Goodman of Stadium, it has not been determined whether Tshiebwe will start or come off the bench as he continues to recover from a procedure on his right knee.

Jeff Goodman @GoodmanHoops

Barring a last-minute change, Kentucky big man and last year’s National Player of the Year Oscar Tshiebwe expected to make his season debut tonight against Michigan State at the Champions Classic, source told <a href="https://twitter.com/Stadium?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Stadium</a>. Decision hasn’t been made yet whether he will start or not.

Wildcats coach John Calipari told reporters Monday that Tshiebwe would play if he made it through practice without swelling:

"He's supposed to practice today so we'll have a better idea. He's been doing the conditioning stuff, he just hasn't been on that court and that's totally different. My guess will be he plays three or four minutes at a stretch if he plays.

"He's going to have to get through [practice] and make sure there's no swelling. From what I'm hearing he doesn't have the lift yet but knowing him, he wants to play but I can't tell you right now."

It would seem Tshiebwe made it through Monday's session well enough to get some playing time, though it's unlikely he's on the floor for 30-plus minutes. No. 4 Kentucky has gotten off to a 2-0 start to the 2022-23 campaign with wins over Howard and Duquesne by a combined 57 points.

Kentucky plays Michigan State on Tuesday as part of the State Farm Champions Classic in Indianapolis. The unranked Spartans are 1-1 to start the season and lost by one point to second-ranked Gonzaga.

Tshiebwe averaged 17.4 points and 15.1 rebounds last season on his way to sweeping National Player of the Year awards and becoming a consensus first-team All-America selection. His presence will help fortify the middle of Kentucky's defense, which has been anchored by senior Jacob Toppin.