Oscar Tshiebwe is NOT Sagaba Konate

Dec 12, 2019; Morgantown, WV, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers forward Oscar Tshiebwe (34) celebrates with fans after defeating the Austin Peay Governors at WVU Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

When Sagaba Konate decided to enter his name into the 2019 NBA Draft after last season, it was clear that it was a bad decision.  As a junior, Konate averaged 13.6 points and 8.0 rebounds per game, but he only played in eight games and was surrounded by question marks.

To begin, Konate’s health was massively questionable.  Lingering knee injuries essentially shut him down for an entire season and he truly never recovered.  In addition to his health, Konate – at 6’7 and 250 pounds – was undersized for his position in the NBA.  Although he was the most talented shot-blocker in West Virginia basketball history, he would not be nearly as successful as a rim protector professionally.

Not only was Konate undersized and had an injury during his final season in Morgantown, he also was very, very limited offensively.  While Bob Huggins attempted to allow him to develop his outside jumpshot by making it a part of the offense, he was simply not a talented perimeter shooter.  Konate, in essence, was an injured, undersized, underdeveloped offensive player and that is why he was not drafted.

Oscar Tshiebwe is not Sagaba Konate.  Although he has similarities to Konate – both foreign players, both lived with the same host family in high school, both attended West Virginia University – Tshiebwe is not the same person as Konate.  While Konate’s decision to leave West Virginia early was shrouded with questions, the only question about Tshiebwe is if he’s ready yet or not.

Tshiebwe will be a successful NBA player.  He is raw, sure, but he’s also a physical specimen, one of the best rebounders in college basketball, has a nonstop motor and there’s absolutely no question that he will be on an NBA roster one day.

With that said, Oscar Tshiebwe is a very smart young man and will make the decision that’s best for his future, as he should.  Going through the NBA Draft process and being evaluated by pro scouts is precisely what he should do at this stage in his life.  Although it makes West Virginia fans nervous, him getting a real evaluation by professional teams will give him an idea of what he needs to improve on when he ultimately decides to return to the Mountaineers next season.

Oscar Tshiebwe will be back in Morgantown next season.  He has no interest in being the 48th pick in the 2nd round of the 2020 NBA Draft; Tshiebwe wants to be a lottery pick in the 2021 Draft.  One more year and a national championship for the Mountaineers will get him there.