Huggins assesses early season play of big men Culver, Tshiebwe

WVU Basketball

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia’s star big men appear to be trending in different directions through eight games of the 2020-21 campaign. 

Junior forward Derek Culver logged his fifth double-double of the season in Friday’s win over Iowa State. He’s averaging an impressive 14.4 points and 10.9 rebounds per contest, leading the Mountaineers in boards. 

In an exclusive interview for The Bob Huggins Show, head coach Bob Huggins said Culver has improved in nearly every facet since last season. He’s more dynamic on offense, rebounding better outside his area and, most importantly, he’s a better foul shooter. 

“He’s not making free throws as consistently as he would like or we would like, but it’s getting better and better,” Huggins said. “We just gotta get him to continue to slow down, get his hand under the ball and so far, it’s been pretty good.” 

On the other hand, preseason All-Big 12 selection Oscar Tshiebwe hasn’t been quite as productive early in the season. He averages 8.8 points and 7.3 rebounds per contest, though he has tallied 12 points in each of West Virginia’s last two outings.

Huggins thinks this past offseason was challenging for everybody, including Tshiebwe, who he said didn’t put in as much time in the gym during the pandemic. But, Huggins still hopes his production will continue to trend upward. 

“We’ve just got to get him back to kind of where he was,” Huggins said. “I think at the end of the year, he was making 15 and 16-footers on a very regular basis. He was also shooting free throws pretty well at the end, and we need to get that back.” 

After opening their Big 12 slate with a win, Huggins and the Mountaineers will head to Kansas Tuesday, seeking the program’s first victory at Allen Fieldhouse. 

Watch our exclusive conversation with Huggins at the top of this page. 

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