Illinois will host top 40 national 2019 Oscar Tshiebwe September 7th-9th
The Illinois men’s basketball Coaching staff is looking to land it’s first commitment for the class of 2019. They have several high profile visits lined up already and are working for more. In my opinion, none more important than 6’9 230 pound Oscar Tshiebwe from Kennedy Catholic (Pa) HS. His stock has soared higher than any player in the class 2019 after dominant performances over elite front line players James Wiseman and Kofi Cockburn over the summer AAU circuit as well as his NBA top 100 camp where he lead in rebounding and averaged a double-double.
Illinois Assistant coach Orlando Antigua loves everything about Oscar’s game and was on hand to see his dominance against Cockburn. Oscar has a natural shot blocking ability and rebounding instincts so impressive that he has been called the best rebounder out of high school since Moses Malone. His motor is relentless and has very good athleticism and quickness off the floor. A lot has changed since I last spoke to Oscar but he was kind enough to discuss why he kept Illinois in his top 4 and when he plans to make a decision.
Oscar looking to see if Illinois is a fit
Why Illinois? That’s what I asked Oscar after booting Kansas from his top schools list.
He told me “Illinois is a good school, basketball tradition and academcially. I watched them a couple times last year and I really liked how they played. I have a good relationship with coach Antigua, it’s genuine. I want to feel a good connection with the coaches and trust them to develop me where I want to go.”
I asked him if he has anyone ahead of the others at this time. Many speculate West Virginia is leading and will land him for various factors.
Oscar said “No one is a favorite in my mind, yes I have already seen West Virginia and the staff has talked to me the longest but I want to see what else is out there. I wanna see what each school can offer me to help me improve and see how good there business programs are. That’s going to be my major. Every school is on the same level with me. People can have their opinions, I am excited to see Illinois, Baylor and Kentucky.”
Oscar has developed at a rapid pace over the last year. I asked him what area’s he will focus on heading into his senior season. Oscar is still raw to an extent offensively but gets easy baskets with his savvy rebounding and body position. Nearly unstoppable around the basket
Oscar told me “I am working on my jump shot and getting better handling the ball. I want to be a threat in every aspect. Down low I am developing a jump hook and have worked on using my left hand as well. By this time next season, I plan on shooting 3’s effectively. I want to get better and am motivated.”
My last question was about a decision timeline. Could he committ after a visit?
He said ” I plan on taking all of my visits and deciding sometime in October. I want to find the best place for me, where I feel at home. Every school in my top 4 is a place I needed to see for myself, so I can make the best choice. I will sign in November.”
How can Illinois make strong Impression?
I have talked with Oscar three times for a nice length of time, you can get a feel for who he is. He is a soft spoken and genuine young man. This isn’t about blue blood or one and done. He wants to feel real connection and know he will be developed as a post player. He told me he does not want to play center or the “5”. He is a power forward, who can guard the 5 and be a mismatch offensively against both.
Illinois can show him how he will fit as a 4, who will get a lot of minutes as a freshman. They can show him the necessity for his skillset and how Orlando Antigua has developed and did develop several players at Kentucky and the progression Leron Black and Michael Finke had as frontcourt players.
Illinois having a better business program than the other schools in his top 4 won’t hurt either. This kid has a drive to succeed and get better at a high level, whoever lands Oscar Tshiebwe is getting one heck of a player and person. Illinois gets their shot starting September 7th