Oscar Tshiebwe’s Return Boosts WVU Benefits For 2020-21 Season
Oscar Tshiebwe himself admitted that everything pointed to him returning to West Virginia University for his sophomore season of basketball, but now that he has confirmed it, the Mountaineers will benefit in several ways.
This is my next chapter and I leave everything in God’s hands🙏🏾 I do this for the mountaineers💙💛 pic.twitter.com/Py5YHHZvXD
— Big O (@Oscartshiebwe34) April 26, 2020
First, WVU’s current roster is obviously solidified and strengthened. With Tshiebwe and Derek Culver, WVU will again feature one of the strongest frontcourts in the Big 12, and the arrival of six foot, nine inch freshman Isaiah Cottrell will give the Mountaineers even more choices in the rotation. Tshiebwe’s return will also lessen pressure on Cottrell to produce early on, and help him ease into his role.
Second, Tshiebwe’s return gives head coach Bob Huggins the flexibility to hold the final scholarship that he has open for next year. While Huggins will add a player if the right one is available, he doesn’t have to worry about depth at a current position or feel pressured to fill a hole that now does not exist. That’s a powerful ace that Huggins holds, and he can now play it as he sees fit.
Finally, the choice shows the trust that exists between Huggins, the rest of the coaching staff and Tshiebwe, and that could have some intangible benefits now and in the future. Tshiebwe, acknowledging that the staff has his best interests first and foremost, sends a strong message to his teammates, incoming recruits and those being courted for future classes — West Virginia is a place where a top-tier talent can go and develop, and that players won’t be held back or discouraged when the time is right to move on to the next level.
Tshiebwe, a native of Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, started all 31 games as a freshman, averaging 11.2 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. He was named to the All-Big 12 Second Team and was a unanimous selection to the All-Big 12 Freshman Team.
“Oscar went through the process in a systematic and professional manner by exploring his options,” WVU men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins said. “He was able to gain feedback from the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee that will help him in the future. We’re pleased that he will be a Mountaineer next season.”