I was on campus when Oscar Tshiebwe took his official visit to Kentucky in the summer of 2019. He seemed to be having a blast but ultimately chose to go to West Virginia.
Fast forward almost two years, and Tshiebwe is back in Lexington getting the lay of the land. While he is not eligible to play, he can participate in practice and it seems that he is already helping the team by pushing them in workouts.
“He gives you a presence,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said during his weekly call-in show on Monday.” And here’s the other thing I’m doing. Now we have a unit. We’ll have seven guys on one team getting those minutes, but that other group now becomes Big Oscar, where you’ve got size. You’ve got Cam Fletcher. You still have Dontaie (Allen) shooting balls. Still have Lance (Ware) being physical and doing his thing.”
While a few of those guys still get minutes, it sounds like the second string is getting some great work in during practice. And with Big Oscar banging underneath, it causes the starters to have to bring their best day-in and day-out.
“All of a sudden, that group gets great work because they’re playing against those seven,” Cal stated. “I’ve done that at times, but I’ve never had enough guys to really do that. Normally it’s just the first five and the second five. This has been good and he has been a great addition.”
Tshiebwe had a lot of momentum coming out of high school and had a great freshman year at West Virginia. Despite struggling early this season before transferring, hopefully a change of scenery will bring out his best for the 2021-2022 season.