WVU included as prep big man narrows his choices

MORGANTOWN — Four-star Rivals big man Oscar Tshiebwe, a 2019 top-50 prospect from Hermitage, Pa., narrowed his recruitment list to eight schools July 31, with WVU taking an expected spot among the finalists.

The Mountaineers gave Tshiebwe his first Division I offer, in July 2016, when the 6-foot-9 Congo native was attending Mountain Mission School, in Grundy, Va. Now he’s entering his second year at Kennedy Catholic, the same program that produced current WVU center Sagaba Konate. Tshiebwe is even living with the same host-family legal guardians who housed Konate.

Yet Tshiebwe is not a lock for WVU. His pared-down list also includes Kentucky, Kansas, Virginia, Georgetown, Baylor, Illinois and Ole Miss.

The programs failing to make the cut were Oklahoma State, Virginia Tech, Pitt, Georgia Tech and Penn State.

A college assistant who watched Tshiebwe in several AAU tourneys told The Dominion Post, “He’s just always running. I’ve never seen Oscar get tired. His motor is unbelievable, which is what sets him apart from other players.”

Tshiebwe’s stock jumped even more last week in the adidas Summer Championships, when he produced 24 points and 13 rebounds on 11-of-17 shooting while outplaying Nashville 7-footer James Wiseman, the No. 3 prospect in the country per Rivals.

“Oscar has great athleticism,” the coach said. “Oscar has been very consistent on the (AAU) circuit. Whether he plays against a 6-8 post or a 7-2 post, he’s going to do what he always does, which is score 20 points, grab 10 or 15 rebounds and run the floor after every miss.

“He’s still very raw on the offensive end, but every year he’s gotten better.”

WVU’s 2019 class includes one commitment so far, Cincinnati point guard Miles McBride. While the Mountaineers’ roster includes only one senior, Esa Ahmad, the staff knows Konate could be an early draft entree next spring.

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