The Kentucky Wildcats are looking for a bounce back season after their struggles in 2020-21.
During the offseason, John Calipari knew that changes had to be made and he wasted no time making those changes. Since finishing 9-16, Calipari has made changes to the staff and has changed the type of players he is recruiting.
One piece to the 2021-22 puzzle came last season when Oscar Tshiebwe decided to transfer from West Virginia and join Calipari in Lexington.
Many hope that Tshiebwe will be a walking double-double this season as he will look to be the anchor for the Cats in the post.
The team is spending a couple of weeks away from campus before the school year starts and Matt Babcock of BasketballNews.com had the opportunity to watch Tshiebwe in a recent workout.
The NBA Draft analyst was extremely impressed with Tshiebwe and expects a big season.
On the heels of Babcock watching Tshiebwe, Jack Pilgrim of Kentucky Sports Radio caught up with Babcock to learn more about what he saw.
Before entering college, Babcock believed that Tshiebwe was well on his way to being an NBA prospect.
“The first thing that jumped out to me when evaluating Oscar were his physical tools,” Babcock said. “Considering he’s 6-foot-9, 260 lbs. with a 7-foot-5 wingspan to go along with athleticism and a motor, I thought right off the bat that he was a legitimate NBA prospect.”
After an outstanding freshman season with West Virginia where he averaged 11.2 points and 9.3 rebounds a game, Tshiebwe hit a slump in his short sophomore season when he averaged 8.5 points and 7.8 rebounds in 10 games.
Now that Tshiebwe has made the move to Kentucky, Babcock is hoping he experiences a much-needed fresh start.
“The main thing that I’ve been keeping a pulse on is his development on the offensive end,” Babcock added. “After a solid freshman season at West Virginia, he seemed to have gotten in a rut last season. I think it affected his confidence and subsequently his production and development.”
He continued, “I’m hoping that a fresh start at Kentucky will allow him to get back on track.”
When Babcock watched Tshiebwe in a recent workout, he noticed that not only does he look to be in a better place mentally, but he has made big improvements to his offensive game.
“He seems like he’s in a good place right now,” Babcock said. “He looks incredible physically and he’s shooting the ball extremely well. I think outside shooting is the one area that he has improved in the most.”
Kentucky has a roster loaded is excellent shooters, and Babcock expects Tshiebwe to be put in places to make shots himself.
You can check out everything Babcock had to say about what he expects from Tshiebwe this season here.