LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky men’s basketball forward Oscar Tshiebwe, who was named The Associated Press' top player on the way to sweeping all six national awards last spring, has been voted the Lexington Herald-Leader’s Kentucky Sports Figure of the Year.
Tshiebwe is the first Wildcats player selected since Anthony Davis in 2012. He led four Kentucky athletes in the top five in voting by 143 media members statewide.
Track and field star Abby Steiner, a three-time NCAA champion who also won the U.S. 200-meter title and two relay gold medals for Team USA at the World Championships, was second. Next were women’s basketball star Rhyne Howard, who became WNBA rookie of the year after leading Kentucky to its first Southeastern Conference tournament title in 40 years; 400-meter hurdles world record holder Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone; and champion colt Flightline, who dominated the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland.
Tsheibwe's breakout junior season swept honors as the nation's top player and included the Naismith Trophy and Wooden Award. The 6-foot-9 native of the Democratic Republic of the Congo led the nation with 15.2 rebounds and averaged 17.4 points per game last season and set school records for games with double figures scoring and rebounding.