Announced Wednesday morning, WVU freshman Oscar Tshiebwe and sophomore Derek Culver earned recognition in the Big 12 preseason coaches poll.
The second McDonald’s All-American to come to Morgantown, Tshiebwe was tabbed as the Big 12’s Preseason Freshman of the Year. Culver was listed as an honorable mention for the All-Big 12 team.
As s senior at Kennedy Catholic High School, Tshiebwe averaged 23.2 points per game en route to a 27-3 record and a 6A State Title. Coming out of the same high school as Sagaba Konate, Tshiebwe looks to be Konate’s replacement in WVU’s frontcourt.
During last week’s Gold-Blue game, Tshiebwe played 32 minutes, scoring 15 points on 7-of-11 shooting while pulling down 11 rebounds. WVU coach Bob Huggins said that Tshiebwe’s natural talent is a good foundation for him to improve upon.
“The thing about Oscar is, Oscar wants to be good,” Huggins said following the Gold-Blue game. “Oscar’s not adversed to getting practice tape. He’ll get this tape and he’ll watch this tape and get better from that, without anybody coaching him through it.”
After being suspended for the beginning of the season, Culver came back to lead the team and conference in rebounding. Culver pulled down 258 total rebounds and averaged 9.9 per game.
Culver played 25 minutes in the Gold-Blue game, scoring 15 points on 7-of-13 scoring, but pulled down only three rebounds. After a practice last week, Huggins said that Culver has improved since last season, but needs to play more controlled.
“I think he’s gotten better at everything,” Huggins said. “Obviously he had to cut down on his turnovers and I think, of all the people, he’s probably made the most progress at that. We’ve just got to get him to slow down.”
The Mountaineers open the season with an exhibition game against Duquesne at home on Nov. 1.