School: West Virginia
Height/Weight: 6’9, 258 lbs
Oscar Tshiebwe is a very physically gifted young prospect who is an imposing figure on the court. He’s barrel-chested and built like a truck, and simply one of the strongest players in college basketball. He also reportedly has a 7’4 wingspan, making him a nightmare to deal with on both ends of the floor.
Tshiebwe uses his physical tools to be a menace on defense. He gets into the chest of offensive players who try to back him down, and his frame makes him nearly impossible to push around. He is also a really good rebounder thanks to his strength, long arms, and effort.
He has a very high motor, and always boxes out and attacks the glass with enthusiasm. If Tshiebwe is in the area of a missed shot, he’s going to end up with the ball.
Tshiebwe’s frame and long arms give him the potential to be a rim protector at the next level. He’s a good, but not elite shot blocker right now, but he’s able to alter shots in the paint consistently.
He needs to work on his timing and learning not to foul, but he is still relatively new to basketball and those skills should improve with more time and experience. Tshiebwe also has solid feel and awareness defensively, and he’s typically in the right spot when playing help defense. With his physical tools, Tshiebwe can be a force in the paint if he puts it all together.
On the offensive end, Oscar Tshiebwe is still pretty raw but he does have nice touch around the rim. He’s an effective post scorer when he gets good position on the block.
His long arms help him get shots up over defenders and make him nearly impossible to block. Tshiebwe doesn’t have an expansive repertoire of post moves yet, but he can knock down baby hooks over his left shoulder, and has also shown the ability to use drop steps effectively and out-muscle defenders for an easy bucket.
Oscar Tshiebwe has several noticeable flaws in his game, and almost all of them can be traced back to his inexperience. As I mentioned above, Tshiebwe hasn’t been playing basketball all that long, so he’s a very raw talent. He particularly needs to polish his offensive game. The touch around the rim and a few post moves are there, but Tshiebwe has to get better at getting good post position consistently and having the awareness to know which move to use once he gets the ball. He doesn’t always set his post up deep enough, and will catch the ball too far from the hoop to be able to do anything with it.
His awareness still isn’t quite there either, as he tends to put his head down and go to a predetermined move when he catches the ball. This causes him to force up a bad shot or turn into a double team that he doesn’t see coming and turn the ball over.
Another weakness for Tshiebwe is that his offensive game has yet to expand outside the paint. He doesn’t have the ability to handle the ball or create shots for himself outside of the lane. His shooting stroke isn’t bad (on pace to shoot just under 70% from the line), but he can only knock down spot up jumpers off a dish from a teammate, and his range doesn’t expand much further than 15 feet. Few big men can get away with not having a reliable jumper in today’s NBA, but the good news for Tshiebwe is that his stroke is promising, so there is hope he can get there down the road.
While Tshiebwe’s strength and athleticism are a clear plus, his height could potentially hold him back at the next level. Tshiebwe is a true center, so he’ll be at a height disadvantage in most of his match-ups on a nightly basis. His wingspan and build will certainly make up for height differences at times, but he’ll face some taller guys that are just as strong as him some nights, and he’ll likely struggle with that right away while he’s still developing.
Tshiebwe also needs to work on his tendency to be overaggressive on defense, which causes him to get in foul trouble frequently as mentioned. This is an issue a lot of young bigs face in college, and hopefully something Tshiebwe can shake over time, but it’s a concern facing him moving forward.
Oscar Tshiebwe is a clear NBA talent, the question facing him is whether or not he’ll be NBA ready after his freshman year. I think it would benefit Tshiebwe to come back for another season. Being so new to the game, his potential for improvement over the offseason is massive. With an entire summer dedicated to working on his game coupled with the valuable freshman experience he has under his belt, it’s a good bet we’ll see a more polished and consistent Tshiebwe next season, and a higher draft projection this time next year.
Of course there is always the train of thought that he can improve even more as a player with an NBA staff training him this summer, and with his obvious upside it’s probable that a team will take a stab at him in the second round if he decides to come out this year. Tshiebwe will have a very tough decision to make this spring, but no matter what he decides to do, he has a bright future in basketball and could turn into a quality NBA center with a lot of hard work and dedication.