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John Calipari discusses Oscar Tshiebwe’s path to increase NBA stock

Tshiebwe could’ve turned pro, but he’ll return to Lexington. He now knows what he must do to be a first-round pick.

Oscar Tshiebwe Isamu Haynes-Sunayama - Sea of Blue

Oscar Tshiebwe has an interesting set of skills, especially when looking at what his outlook at basketball’s highest level is. As we watched last season, Tshiebwe is just a different beast on the boards and that’s something of value in the NBA.

However, there’s a chance he could improve even further and become a first-round pick. The National Player of the Year was not commonly mocked in the top-30 selection this time around, and instead of testing his luck, he opted to return for his senior season.

How John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats coaching staff get Tshiebwe to the next level is going to be important not just for Tshiebwe but for how they showcase the development of stars in Lexington.

The plan is in place though, and Tshiebwe has an idea of what it will take to impress scouts enough to improve his potential, one key point of focus when considering the star center’s ability to thrive at the highest level.

In an interview with Cats Pause, John Calipari offered up the following on how Oscar can keep improving.

“Go get every ball, run the court, make the short shots that he can. He’s got a lot of things where he can elevate his game,” Calipari said. “Some people are saying, ‘He can’t do anything more.’ I told him, ‘If you don’t think you can improve in these areas, you should go and be a second-round pick.’”

“We’ve got to get him to catch it in the middle of the court, the foul line and elbow area, and make basketball plays. Because that’s where the game is going. That’s where it is for him,” Calipari added.

The 6-foot-9 Tshiebwe was originally a transfer from West Virginia before exploding as the best rebounder in the nation. He averaged 17.4 points and 15.2 rebounds per game this past season.

He didn’t shoot a single three which could be an area we see improvement in this coming season. Tshiebwe doesn’t have to be a high-volume specialist, but if he can be respectful from deep, it will help a Kentucky roster that could again be void of shooting.

There are improvements he could make, and with NIL potential, it made sense to come back to Ketncuky. Now, he must take his game to a new level, and that should excite every Wildcats fan.

Be sure to read the full Cats Pause interview.