Jethro Tshisumpa claimed more benefit from camp than nearly any other player. Regarded as a lower major conference prospect prior to the event, he emerged from Charlottesville as an established defensive force and someone who will draw extensive looks from college coaches next month.
For perspective, consider that he averaged 2.6 blocks per game to lead all players at camp; No. 2 finished with just 1.9 swats per outing. For even more perspective, consider that Tshisumpa’s camp peers included such luminaries as DeAndre Ayton, Marques Bolden, Thon Maker and Mohamed Bamba. For him to post such vastly superior numbers illustrates the immense impact he made during the four days of action.
Tshisumpa attends Mountain Mission school in Virginia, which specializes in nurturing non-native Americans as they progress through the cultural and basketball acclimation challenges on U.S. soil. As such, the soft-spoken, yet very friendly big man remains in search of a full comfort level off the court.
But on the hardwood, his personality shines through. Tshisumpa not only blocked shots as a prolific clip, he engaged with his teammates and opponents seemingly after each one. His joy for defense is obvious, and he happily regards his role on the team as a specialist.
”If somebody can shoot three-pointers, someone else can block shots,” Tshisumpa said with a smile. “If I can block shots, that’s the thing I can do best.”
As one would expect, the long-armed center — whose offense very much remains a work in progress — is just beginning to engage with his recruitment. He’s also leaning on some key allies to assist him in the process and has set up his July plans.
”I’m going to play in the AAU tournaments with Urban DFW,” he said. “My AAU coach and high school coach are helping me (with recruiting).”
While he relishes his role as a defender, he also understands that his career goals ultimately will require more offensive polish as well.
”I’m working on post moves, shooting from 15 feet and going to get better and work on all that this summer,” he said. “I want to get a good education and improve on my basketball.”