Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Arizona’s Tommy Lloyd was named the Associated Press Men’s National Basketball Coach of the Year, while Kentucky forward Oscar Tshiebwe was named AP Men’s Player of the Year.
NCAA March Madness @MarchMadnessMBB
Another honor for Big O 🏆
Kentucky’s Oscar Tshiebwe wins AP Player of the Year 👏 pic.twitter.com/CZpxnJHiWt
After assisting Gonzaga for 20 years, Lloyd led the Wildcats to the Sweet 16 in his first season as head coach. Arizona had an impressive season, finishing with a 33-4 record after not reaching the NCAA Tournament since the 2017-18 season.
Lloyd is one of three coaches to win the AP Coach of the Year award in his first season as head coach, joining Indiana State’s Bill Hodges, who won in 1979, and Keno Davis of Drake, who won in 2008.
Expectations for the Wildcats entering the 2021-22 campaign were low. Arizona was unranked in the AP preseason poll and projected to finish fourth in the Pac-12. The Wildcats finished first in the Pac-12, won the Pac-12 Championship, and finished second in the PA Top 25.
As for Tshiebwe, he is only the second player from Kentucky to win the AP Player of the Year award, joining current Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis, who led the school to a 2012 NCAA title.
“It’s amazing to join someone like Anthony Davis,” Tshiebwe said, according to The Associated Press (h/t ESPN). “And that gives me confidence and gives me more help for my future as well, for what I’m trying to do and what I’m trying to accomplish. I just put God first because God knows what I’m doing. need, and he has big plans for me.”
Tshiebwe had an impressive 2021-22 campaign, averaging 17.4 points, 15.2 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game while shooting 60.6 percent from the floor. His 15.2 rebounds per game were the highest in Division I men’s basketball since 1980.
Tshiebwe now plans to return to Kentucky for another season or declare for the NBA draft.