Development Process Continuing For Tshiebwe, WVU

Development Process Continuing For Tshiebwe, WVU

MORGANTOWN, W.Va — If there has been any lesson to be learned from the 7-1 start West Virginia’s men’s basketball team has gotten off to, it is that you can’t be great without talent but just having talent doesn’t give you a one-way ticket to the Hall of Fame, either.

Case in point: Oscar Tshiebwe.

Every other game, or so it seems, Tshiebwe displays his jaw-dropping talent, but in the other games he displays just how crude his game can be.

West Virginia forward Oscar Tshiebwe sends a jump hook over Rhode Island's Cyril Langevine (10)
West Virginia forward Oscar Tshiebwe sends a jump hook over Rhode Island’s Cyril Langevine (10)

Here is his scoring log for the year, game by game: 5-20-4-21-6-19-11-8

And here is his rebounding log for the year, game by game: 4-17-7-10-2-18-9-6.

From four to 21 points, from two to 18 rebounds … he is a flower about to bloom but one who has not yet been watered enough or given enough time to grow.

And, on this young team, he has a lot of company who are talented but still trying to find their way through the minefield that is big time college basketball.

Just as head coach Bob Huggins was nurturing Derek Culver through his freshman season a year ago, he now is doing the same with Tshiebwe and guard Miles “Deuce” McBride, among others. Certainly the greatest emphasis is on getting the five-star recruit Tshiebwe to play at a consistently high level.

“He’s had two years of organized basketball, really,” Huggins said recently. “Quite frankly, he’s been bigger, stronger and better than everybody he has played against. This is all new to him. He hasn’t played against a guy like Derek, who plays against in practice every day, or like Logan Routt. He’s been the guy. He has picked up some bad habits because he was so much better than everyone he played.”

The good news in trying to get to Tshiebwe is that he is well aware of this and is willing to spend time working on the new things he learns, such as shooting a bank shot.

“In high school I really didn’t have a bank shot. If I caught the ball in the low post I always had a littler guy on me,” Tshiebwe admits.

But Huggins, through Coach Erik Martin, has emphasized that he needs to expand his game and add the banker, something he used at key moment against Rhode Island.

“This bank shot comes from Coach Erik Martin, every single time he say ‘Bank shot, bank shot,’” Tshiebwe said.

And so he has attacked it like a man possessed.

“They say the more you practice, you get muscle memory. I practice in the gym and believe me, I have spent a lot of time on the bank shot,” Tshiebwe said. “I shoot like a thousand every day. I’ll go to sleep, my arm and shoulder is really tired. That’s how hard it is. The more you shoot, you don’t have to look at your hands. As soon as you see the square, you know where the ball is going.”

Adding that to the game allows him to be force from different spots on the floor, to move out a bit which opens up the inside for a guard or forward to drive.

“I feel like the bank shot is the shot for me. I love it and I feel like 95% is going in, 5% you will miss. Every time you get the ball in the square, it will go in,” Tshiebwe said.

“Oscar’s come a long, long way,” Huggins said after that Rhode Island game. “Go back and remember when we first started and Oscar was banging the ball off the backboard before it hit the rim from the free-throw like. He’s not doing that any more. He’ll put the time in.”

What’s made it easier for Huggins is that even though he has two budding stars in the post in Tshiebwe and Culver, they are working with each other and committed to the team.

“I try to show him the ropes just like I wish somebody had kind of helped me last year,” Culver said.

“He is not about the individual,” Tshiebwe said of Culver. “He is about the team. The last time we played at home he was on fire. Our team is not selfish. Our team is really good about giving the ball to the person who is producing.

“Next time it might be me and I’m getting the ball and scoring all the time. If I’m doing that they will get me the ball all the time.”

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    Development Process Continuing For Tshiebwe, WVU MORGANTOWN, W.Va — If there has been any lesson to be learned from the 7-1 start West Virginia’s men’
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    Good article…that is one of the things I like about Oscar’s game…the bank shot, and he bank’s it high off the glass
    as well as low. Mathews is good at it and so is Haley. Now if we could get Derek to bank !!!!


    Nice article Bob. This explains a lot about our bigs and their shooting 5 ft and in. There have been threads about these guys not able to dunk the ball. Welp….. Blame that on Eric Martin. He’s forcing them to use the backboard to expand their game. That explains it. There was a short stint in the last game where DC dunked twice in a row and Emmitt once. My first reaction was …. Where did this come from? ……. That just never happened before. So, this article explains it.


    The bank shot is valuable. So is a dunk. Some WVU players still have not mastered the art of going up high and strong while not exposing the basketball to steals in mid-air or easily blocked shots. The higher you are in the air before you release the ball the less it will be blocked or stolen. It’s a difficult technique. Not everyone is LeBron James. But I like this young team and I see the regular season as spring training for March Madness. As Neal Brown said about his football team: They won’t be freshmen when March Madness comes.


    The backboard is there for reason and the reason and a good bank shot is great weapon. I think the dunk has hurt the bank shot. I was taught to use the backboard on layups.


    Tim Duncan and Scottie Pippen made very nice livings with the bank shot.


    Inconsistency is the only thing holding this young team back. Hopefully, as they mature through the season, that problem will decrease by March Madness time. All the elements of talent are there. It’s just shining up the diamonds, which Huggins is good at, are needed to make WVU a formidable force.

    Baylor, Kansas and Texas Tech will make the Big 12 no cakewalk either. But that should, hopefully, only harden WVU for March Madness success.

    It’s a long way till March. I will enjoy seeing what progress is made. And how consistent each player is.


    Yes, the backboard serves it’s purpose. BUT …… On a break away a thundering dunk vs a finger roll bank ….. on an O rebound going up strong with both hands and slamming it thru vs laying it against the square ….. a lob pass and jam that shakes the backboard vs a tip to the basket …..
    an IN YOUR FACE DUNK vs a tip in off the board ….. ALL of the first will excite the crowd and our players and could have a negative effect on the opponent.


    making foul shots…making any shot…wining the game with solid play. I would hope should
    excite the crowd and players. The should NOT be worried about crowd…right !!!

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