In an article released by Kyle Tucker of The Athletic on Friday morning, former West Virginia forward, and current Kentucky forward Oscar Tshiebwe said Huggins tried to “ruin his life.” This morning, Huggins responded saying, “I didn’t have any kind of reaction.”
Tshiebwe left West Virginia after playing a season and a half for the Mountaineers. Through ten games his sophomore season last year, Tshiebwe was averaging 8.5 points, and 7.8 rebounds per game. At the time of his departure in January, Huggins said it did not come as a surprise.
“Did it catch me by surprise? No,” Huggins said back in January right after Tshiebwe’s departure.
Currently, Tshiebwe is having a good year for the Wildcats. He is averaging 16.3 points, and 14.4 rebounds through nine games. Tshiebwe claimed when he left West Virginia he cried for days and that Huggins tried to prevent him from going to Kentucky and threatened to make him look bad to NBA executives.
“I did not want to put that (West Virginia) jersey on,” Tshiebwe said. “People say, ‘You’re ruining your life.’ People say, ‘If you make that decision, you’re done.’ Coach (Bob Huggins) told me he was going to ruin my life if I did that. He was going to say all these different things to NBA GMs so nobody would ever want me. He said a lot of negative things about me to Coach (John) Calipari. He said I got caught smoking weed. He said I got caught with a lot of different women. Crazy stuff I didn’t know about. I told Coach Calipari, ‘If you believe those things, that means I cannot be at Kentucky. But you know me, you recruited me since high school, and I’ve been a faithful kid. I respect every human being.’”
In the article, Huggins responded saying Tshiebwe’s statement is false and far from the truth.
“That’s absolutely not the truth,” Huggins said. “Some people came and got him and took him to Lexington, and to this day I don’t know who they are. I don’t really care who they are. But I never said any of that to Oscar. I’d never say anything even remotely like that. The kid’s having a great year. Obviously, he and Cal are hitting it off. It’s all good. So I don’t know why Oscar would ever bring up something that didn’t happen. Because the truth of the matter is there’s a whole lot of people who could get drug through the mud. He got what he wanted. I never tried to stop him. I never called him and said, ‘Hey, man, you’re making a mistake.’ None of that. Absolutely none of that. I did not speak to the kid. I can take a lie detector.”
On Friday, Huggins’ response to the article was that Tshiebwe left and Huggins never heard from him again.
“He left,” Huggins said in his Friday press conference. “I didn’t have any kind of reaction. Everybody here knows that’s not me. We played a game, the game was over, Oscar left and I never saw him again. I couldn’t possibly have said anything. When I went in I didn’t see him. He left, he just left.”
Huggins later added he knows the full truth of what happened and he trust the people in the West Virginia program know what happened too.
“I know what happened, everybody here knows what happened. Let’s all move on with our lives.”