Oscar Tshiebwe explains reasons for transferring from West Virginia to Kentucky

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Justin Jackson, The Dominion Post, Morgantown, W.Va.
·3 min read
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Apr. 15—MORGANTOWN, W.. Va. — In his first Zoom meeting with the media Wednesday since transferring from West Virginia, Oscar Tshiebwe did his best to answer the question of why.

In the end, the 6-foot-9 former McDonald's All-American said he simply wasn't himself anymore as a member of the Mountaineers.

"I feel like I was not happy anymore and everything was not good, " Tshiebwe said. "I was not laughing. I was not enjoying my time anymore."

Tshiebwe signed with WVU in 2019, after the Mountaineers won a recruiting battle against Kentucky and Baylor.

As a freshman, he led the Mountaineers in scoring and rebounding, but his sophomore season was one of disappointment.

WVU head coach Bob Huggins said previously that Tshiebwe was out of shape for the start of last season.

It showed, as Tshiebwe's production in points and rebounds dipped. While he started the 10 games he played as a sophomore, his playing time decreased.

WVU announced on Jan. 1 that Tshiebwe left the program for personal reasons.

On Jan. 10, Tshiebwe announced he had committed to transferring to Kentucky, which he called his "dream school " on Wednesday.

Prior to making that choice, Tshiebwe said he fielded calls from other schools with much to offer.

"Most people (thought) I was going to ruin my life. That's why I say you cannot listen to what people say. You only listen to what God says in your life, " Tshiebwe said. "After I decided to leave, I had everybody in the country call me and tell me how much they're going to help me and how much they're going to give me and how much they can do."

In an interview with WVU play-by-play announcer Tony Caridi, Huggins said in January that "outside influences " played a part in Tshiebwe deciding to transfer.

"It was 100 % outside influences, " Huggins said. "I think it's the world we live in. It's better to steal than it is to work and earn things. It's take the easy way out. I think there were some people involved who saw where they could benefit and maybe profit and work very diligently at trying to get him out."

Tshiebwe told reporters Wednesday his hopes were to be immediately eligible at Kentucky, "but I couldn't, so I said I can practice, " he said. "So, (I'll) be ready for next year. I am so happy to be here."

As for his time at WVU, Tshiebwe said he had hoped to be a one-and-done player. He did enter his name into the 2020 NBA Draft, but later withdrew and returned to school.

In 2020, most projections had Tshiebwe as a late second-round pick.

"Sometimes you choose a place and you get there and it's not working, " Tshiebwe said. "It's not like you don't like the people, don't like the place. It's just you don't feel like you've got to keep going over there."

Tshiebwe also hinted at WVU's playing style wasn't working with both him and former teammate Derek Culver in the paint together.

He said he was looking forward to playing in a four-out system, which is what the Mountaineers went to once Tshiebwe transferred.

"I did not really get the space. The system that we were playing, it was really clogged up, but it was good, " Tshiebwe said. "Like, we were dominant in it whoever we'd go against.

"As I see Kentucky, the way that we play here is way different than how West Virginia played. They play one in and four out. They give you a lot of opportunities to go one-on-one. They give you a lot of opportunity with a double team and then you kick the ball outside. That is a great system. I feel like I'm in the right place."

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