Morgantown, West Virginia – If you, the reader, were an incredibly gifted athlete with real aspirations to play basketball professionally, you would likely put yourself in the very best position possible to do so.
The bottom line is that Bob Huggins has put 3 players – Kevin Jones, Joe Alexander and Jevon Carter – in the NBA in his thirteen years at West Virginia. Da’Sean Butler was selected by the Miami Heat with the 42nd pick in the 2nd round of the 2010 NBA Draft, but never made an NBA roster.
Alexander only played for Huggins in his junior year before entering the NBA Draft and was more of a John Beilein player. Kevin Jones played 32 games for the Cleveland Cavaliers in his NBA career and Jevon Carter has been the shining example of what a Huggins’ player can accomplish with hard work and dedication.
In his ten seasons with the Kentucky Wildcats, John Calipari has had 38 players selected in the NBA Draft, the most of any school in the country by a wide margin.
There’s almost no question that there were outside influences in Oscar Tshiebwe’s ear, and it’s very possible that they were unfortunately right in their assessment of the situation. While he regressed this season after a year with the Mountaineers, a factory for producing NBA players like Kentucky is off to a slow start this season and could use a supremely gifted talent like Tshiebwe.
What would you do?
Oscar Tshiebwe isn’t a quitter, like so many West Virginia fans have suggested since he left Morgantown during Christmas break. He’s a young man from a very poor country that wants to do everything he can to live his dream of making money playing basketball, and you just can’t blame him for that.
While it’s difficult to see him in a Kentucky uniform and even more challenging to know that he no longer wanted to be a part of the West Virginia basketball program, Oscar Tshiebwe made the right decision for himself.
This isn’t the same as Sagaba Konate, who threw away his career for a very small chance at being drafted in the NBA. Oscar Tshiebwe put himself in the best position possible to play professionally and help his family back in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Who could blame him?
West Virginia will certainly miss him, but Oscar Tshiebwe’s decision to play for Kentucky is not only understandable, it makes perfect sense.