7-footer Onyenso Glad to be at Kentucky and “Having Fun”


Ugonna Kingsley Onyenso didn’t come to Kentucky because of All-American center Oscar Tshiebwe, but the 17-year-old defensive standout from Nigeria  is glad to have Tshiebwe on his team.

He reclassified to the class of 2022 and said it has already been “fun” being at Kentucky.

“I am glad he (Tshiebwe) is here. That will help me but he is not the reason I am here,” he told WLEX-TV’s Keith Farmer on BBN Tonight. “The reason I am here is because I wanted to be here and someone like coach (John) Calipari is going to help me improve my game. Oscar is just an addition to it.”

Tshiebwe came to the United States from the Congo and the 7-foot Kingsley — who speaks 2 1/2 languages with French being one he is not totally mastered — says that gives them a natural connection.

He did not get to make the trip to the Bahamas with Kentucky but told Farmer the team was “amazing” and he loves the “speed” the team plays with.

“It is fun playing with them. The first time I was a little bit shaky,” he said on BBN Tonight. “I was not really playing like I was supposed to. I was pressing.”

Onyenso grew up playing soccer but at age 12 stopped to watch a basketball team practice on his way home because others had told him with his size that he should try basketball. At age 14, he was invited to the NBA Academy Africa, an elite training center.

“I had been playing basketball for three years when I went. It was a big adjustment at age 14,” Kingsley said. “Them telling me I had great potential pushed me.”

He told Farmer he decided to reclassify to the 2022 recruiting class late because he played so well “against U.S. kids” after he got to this country he decided he was ready for college.

“Why play one more year of high school? I am trying to get ready for the league, so I got to play (at Kentucky),” Onyenso said.