Sioux Falls, South Dakota – After re-watching yesterday’s season-opening game for West Virginia, one player stood out as particularly effective in his role for the Mountaineers. Senior forward Gabe Osabuohien just does everything right on the court and makes his team so much better when he’s in.
Osabuohien, who finished with 3 points and 8 rebounds in 20 minutes of play, doesn’t necessarily impress in the box score, but he’s exceptional in non-box score intangibles. Osabuohien is the do-it-all energy guy off the bench who also plays lockdown defense and has an underrated perimeter game.
While the experiment of playing Oscar Tshiebwe and Derek Culver at the same time continues to be ineffective, playing Osabuohien next to one of them in the starting lineup makes almost too much sense.
Osabuohien doesn’t need the ball in the post, or anywhere for that matter. He’s happy to hang around the basket, collecting rebounds and getting putbacks in for easy scores. He’s the ultimate garbage man, and in the game of basketball, having a player that does all the dirty work is absolutely necessary for a successful team.
Not only does Osabuohien do all of the unheralded things on the court, Bob Huggins believes he can contribute in a variety of ways for the Mountaineers this season: “I think in a lot of ways he’s our best passing big guy. You play pick-and-roll situations, and a lot of times he’s going to be the passer. The other thing he can do is put pressure on the rim. He’s a better ball-handler than any of our other bigs. He’s a better straight-line driver than our other bigs. And he’s making some free throws now.”
Whether Osabuohien is a starter or not, he will be in when the game is close and during crunch times. He’s an absolutely invaluable player for the Mountaineers, and although he is a Senior, this season doesn’t count towards eligibility and he could conceivably return to Morgantown for one more year.
Huggins said the following about his two seniors, Taz Sherman and Gabe Osabuohien: “If everything was normal, those would be the two guys that would be finishing their eligibility this year. With everything that’s happening, they’re going to have the opportunity to come back. I don’t know who wouldn’t take Taz and Gabe back if they wanted to come back.”