Dear Oscar

Dear Oscar,

This is your life and you should ultimately make the decisions that you want to make.  You’re a young man and making mistakes is part of learning.  It’s a critical, necessary part of growing up.  My concern for you is that this is a really, really big mistake.  Making huge, life-altering mistakes can negatively affect the rest of your life.

The West Virginia Mountaineers are 8-2 and ranked #9 in the country with a real opportunity to compete for a national championship this season.  You were the starting power forward on the team and have been given every chance in the world to be successful while in Morgantown, even this season when you have struggled and not played to your potential.

It’s clear from everything you’ve said in the past that your ultimate goal is to play professionally in the National Basketball Association.  Leaving West Virginia in the middle of the season does not look great in the eyes of NBA scouts and general managers, who are trying desperately to find weaknesses in your game or character.

Quitting on your coaches and teammates looks terrible.  Unless there’s something that we don’t quite know yet, it appears to be a very selfish act from a really amazing, wonderful young man.

You’re a spectacular person, Oscar.  You came to West Virginia and were a shining example of how a young man could come from nothing and become one of the best young players in the world through hard work.

Along the line, nefarious characters have clearly gotten into your head and you’ve clearly started to listen to them.  However, their promises of money and fame are fueled only be their own greed.

Your removal of your social media accounts reveals that you know that this is a mistake and that you don’t want anyone to try to change your mind.

With that said, I will always be a huge Oscar Tshiebwe fan.  I’ve spoken to you many times and you were one of the finest young men that I’ve ever had the pleasure of dealing with in this line of work.  You’ve given Mountaineer fans many, many amazing memories and we will always appreciate that.

I won’t remember how you left the team.  I’ll remember your incredible hustle, your insane effort, your seemingly naive love of the game, your big smile and the hope that you brought Mountaineers for two years with the team.

I want nothing but big success for you, Oscar.  I hope that you’ve made the right decision for your future.  Good luck and Once a Mountaineer, Always a Mountaineer.  

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Brad Smith
Brad Smith, "The Voice of Morgantown", is the most trusted, accomplished name in West Virginia sports journalism. Smith is the foremost, preeminent authority on West Virginia athletics and a lifelong fan of the Mountaineers. Smith, a proud graduate of West Virginia University, resides in Morgantown most of the year, but has a home in Jacksonville, Florida, where he lives during the winter.