MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Forces outside the WVU men’s basketball program contributed to sophomore forward Oscar Tshiebwe’s departure from the team, according to head coach Bob Huggins. 

On the latest edition of The Bob Huggins Show, the Mountaineer coach said “outside influences” dictated Tshiebwe’s decision to exit the program.

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

Huggins announced that Tshiebwe had left the program on Jan. 1. An official statement from the team that day noted that Tshiebwe was stepping away due to personal reasons.

Huggins did not specify why the forward is no longer with the team, but he said he saw Tshiebwe’s departure coming. 

“I think everybody could,” Huggins said. 

The head coach, who is in his 14th year at WVU and ranks sixth all-time in wins among Division I men’s basketball coaches, added that he hasn’t had any communication with Tshiebwe since his departure and doesn’t know what lies ahead for the forward. 

“He’s a good kid,” Huggins said. “Hopefully he made the right decision. We could dispute whether it’s the right decision or not, but it’s done. You know, I learned a long time ago, sitting and worrying about it doesn’t do any good. Let’s get these other guys better, let’s get them a little more up to speed. Let’s make sure they play harder, and we’ll be fine.” 

West Virginia is 1-2 in three games since Tshiebwe’s departure. The Mountaineers are slated for a matchup at No. 2 Baylor Tuesday. 

In the meantime, Tshiebwe is officially in the NCAA transfer portal and is reportedly close to making a decision on his next stop. The Kennedy Catholic product has reportedly discussed his future with Kentucky and Miami, among other teams: 

And according to a tweet Saturday from Stadium’s Jeff Goodman, a frontrunner may have emerged from the pack:

Tshiebwe appeared in 10 games for WVU during the 2020-21 campaign, averaging 8.5 points and 7.8 rebounds per contest. He was named a preseason All-Big 12 honoree and is a former McDonald’s All-American.