What Does Oscar Tshiebwe's Decision Mean For Him and WVU?
Wednesday night, West Virginia freshman forward Oscar Tshiebwe announced that he was officially declaring for the 2020 NBA Draft with the possibility of returning to college. Just as Jevon Carter and Sagaba Konate did once this rule was implemented, he has the opportunity to gain feedback from NBA scouts and executives but can still come back to school as long as he does not sign with an agent.
From the player's perspective, someone as talented as Tshiebwe that has clear pro potential is in a very beneficial position doing this. Under current rules, college players cannot have contact with NBA officials unless they declare for the upcoming draft.
Much like Carter and Konate did, he will have the chance to gauge the interest of professional scouts and see what he needs to improve on moving forward in his college career. However, if he were to receive a guarantee of a first round selection, that's something that has to be considered.
Tshiebwe's draft stock is not currently in that position but elite athletes with a dominant skill, in his case rebounding, have risen up draft boards quickly late in the process in recent years. With the current state of sports during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is unknown if the NBA Combine, scheduled for May 21-24, will occur as planned.
Under current rules, athletes have ten days after the combine to decide whether or not to stay in the draft. Due to the status of large gatherings in the United States, this is a process that may be drawn out more than Mountaineer fans are hoping.
On the side of West Virginia, losing its leading scorer and rebounder would be a huge hit in both production and depth. Freshman Isaiah Cottrell would be relied on to play big minutes right away while Derek Culver would be the only player left on the roster with experience at the center position.
Opening up a second scholarship would be an interesting development as it would permit the Mountaineers to bring in both a transfer and an additional big to replace Tshiebwe. The possibility of bringing in high school center Seny Ndiaye while adding an immediate impact transfer may be the best case scenario if he decides to move on.
Obviously, that would completely change the identity and makeup of the Mountaineer roster and Tshiebwe's production is almost irreplaceable without considering the lack of depth in the frontcourt his departure would cause.
Because of the circumstances surrounding COVID-19, the NBA draft process may take considerably longer this year and Oscar Tshiebwe's decision may take some time to come.