Oscar Tshiebwe on his rookie season, being selected to G League Up Next Games at Indy's All-Star Weekend | VIDEO
Indiana Mad Ants head coach Tom Hankins and staff will coach one of the teams.
Rookie center Oscar Tshiebwe has been selected to play in the NBA G League’s Up Next Game at NBA All-Star weekend next month in Indianapolis.
On a two-way contract with the Pacers, Tshiebwe is averaging 14.6 points and 14.2 rebounds per game during the G League regular season.
“He’s so strong and quick to the ball,” Indiana Mad Ants coach Tom Hankins said earlier this season. “A lot of times our best offense is just to shoot it and let him go get it. He has a great knack for getting rebounds.”
Earlier this season, he pulled down 28 rebounds in a win over Motor City.
“It is an amazing thing,” he said after finishing with 11 points and 11 rebounds. “When I heard them tell me that, I was like, ‘Glory Be to God’ because I always pray and say if I can be in it, I’ll thank God. I appreciate the organization and everybody giving me an opportunity. So the reaction was big, it was real big. I was like, ‘Wow.’ I went home, prayed and told my mom.
“I’m still happy and I can’t wait for that day.”
Tshiebwe is kind and grateful, but his word on the court is “dominate.” If he does, it helps the Mad Ants stack wins like they have. He’s recorded six double-doubles in 10 regular-season games.
Throughout the year, Tshiebwe and the other two players on two-way deals (Kendall Brown and Isaiah Wong) have split time between the teams. He’s always one of the last players off the court because he signs so many autographs for fans.
“It’s great because I’m learning a new experience,” Tshiebwe said of his first year. “I learned that the life of two-ways is not easy. But, you just got to make sure you get a good night sleep, you mediate, you calm yourself and always be ready to go. This rookie year has brought a lot.”
Watch my full interview with Tshiebwe below following their 116-110 win on Monday over the Westchester Knicks.
Two G League semifinal games will be played on Sunday, Feb. 18 at 1:30 p.m ET All-Star Weekend, followed by a championship game. Tickets are available for $35 and the games, held at the Indiana Convention Center, will be streamed online for free.
The Mad Ants were guaranteed to have at least one player in the game since it’ll be played in Indianapolis. I was surprised sharpshooter Kyle Mangas — a native of Warsaw, Ind. — wasn’t chosen as well. He’s averaging 16.6 points per game while shooting 41% from distance.
And he’s been on a tear lately, averaging 24.4 points per game over the last five games. Then he led the team with 29 points Monday night.
“Kyle has played so well,” Hankins said.
Hankins and his coaching staff have been selected to coach one of the teams as well. So the franchise will have more representation in All-Star weekend, which will be highlighted by Tyrese Haliburton becoming the fourth Pacer in franchise history to start in the All-Star game.
The 28 players selected for the Up Next Game will be drafted to one of four teams. The lineup includes former Pacers/Mad Ants Trevelin Queen and Jermaine Samuels.