West Virginia men’s basketball’s prized big men are expected to come back for another run at it next season, a source has confirmed.
The Mountaineers are expected to keep their frontcourt of Oscar Tshiebwe and Derek Culver intact heading into next season for their respective sophomore and junior seasons in Morgantown. The duo were two of the top five rebounders in the Big 12 last season, combining for an average of 17.87 boards every game. They also combined for a 21.6 points per game.
If the report proves true come next season’s tip-off, the Mountaineers will return four of their five starters from 2019-2020. The only hole in the roster would come in the backcourt after the loss of senior guard Jermaine Haley.
Tshiebwe especially made a big impression in his first season, and is still reeling in honors at both the conference and national levels, including a All-Big 12 Second Team nod. He still has room for improvement, but many analysts are excited to see where he could go from where he started.
“I think [the thing Oscar needs to work on is] consistency,” said WVI analyst Warren Baker. “Oscar gave us some great games at times, and other games he would kind of disappear. So I think [WVU coach Bob Huggins] will be looking for more consistency out of him…but there is no ceiling for as good as Oscar can be.”
Culver reprised his breakout freshman year, nearly averaging a double-double like his freshman counterpart.
Now with an extra-long offseason to work on their respective games, Baker says if they make the necessary improvements, West Virginia will be a difficult team to beat.
“I’m sure [assistant coach] Erik Martin met with the bigs, and Huggs, and [assistant coach] Larry [Harrison] and all those guys,” Baker said. “They’ll all tell them what they need to work on over the summer, and hopefully those guys will go back, take that to heart and really work on it, and I think if they come back and play like they did this year, they’ll be really, really tough.”
The Mountaineers tip their 2020-2021 slate off on Nov. 10 against Fairleigh Dickinson at the WVU Coliseum.