Morgantown, West Virginia – Bob Huggins is resolute bordering on stubborn in his thoughts and opinions. When asked whether there’s a chance that Oscar Tshiebwe could return to the Mountaineers, he was clear, saying, “No, absolutely not. No return.”
Huggins was clearly ready to move on from Oscar Tshiebwe. “We’ve got guys who have worked their buts off all summer to get an opportunity,” Huggins said. “I am more than confident that they will do a great job for us. So why would we screw that up?”
Oscar Tshiebwe clearly did not work hard during the offseason. He came in to this season overweight, out of shape and his game regressed greatly from his freshman year.
In addition, he allowed people outside of the program to get into his head and to convince him that playing elsewhere would be more beneficial for his professional career. After all, West Virginia doesn’t produce NBA players as often as other big programs around the country.
Jevon Carter is in the NBA and is a shining example of what a player can become through Bob Huggins’ mentoring, but the only other players to sniff the NBA since Huggins arrived at WVU are Joe Alexander, Kevin Jones and Devin Ebanks.
Oscar Tshiebwe has been a very big fish in a very small pond since coming to Morgantown. The pressure that he’s felt to be the savior of a program was likely immeasurable. Combine that with the on-the-court difficulties that he’s face this year, and it’s understandable if he made a bad decision.
Remember, Tshiebwe is a 20 year old young man and has only been in the United States for just over 5 years. This is a all very new and very foreign to him, and he’s an impressionable, easily manipulated individual who needs help.
In Huggins’ statement following the announcement that Tshiebwe has stepped away from the program, he said, “Oscar has our full support, and we certainly wish him the best during this time.”
Oscar Tshiebwe may never want to return to West Virginia University. But I think it’s important that Bob Huggins and his staff reach out to Tshiebwe and try to help him during this obviously very confusing, difficult time for a young man instead of giving up on him because he didn’t work hard during the summer or allowed outside influences into his life.
This doesn’t have to be over yet. Oscar Tshiebwe should be allowed to return home to Morgantown if that’s his desire. He’s clearly made a mistake and needs help.