Talented and versatile forward wants to assume leadership role at OU after two years at Mississippi State.
Sept. 1, 2010
|| Getting to Know Archive
NORMAN, Okla. -- Romero Osby wanted a fresh start. Rated the 57th-best player in the country by Rivals.com coming out of high school in Meridian, Miss., the 6-8, 247-pounder averaged 4.2 points and 2.6 rebounds in just 12.8 minutes per game over his freshman and sophomore seasons at Mississippi State the last two years. With an undefined role and limited opportunities to impact his team's games, Osby says he lost confidence and wanted a new home.
That new home is the University of Oklahoma. Osby can't play in games during the 2010-11 season due to NCAA transfer rules, but he can work out and practice with Jeff Capel's team. The talented and versatile forward likes to play both in the paint and on the perimeter, and is a welcome roster addition. He will have two years of eligibility as a Sooner starting with the 2011-12 season.
Osby plans to use his year "off" to focus on his individual skills, challenge his teammates in practice and become the biggest cheerleader for a squad that he says has more talent than people realize. He also wants to play the role of leader.
We caught up with Osby this week in OU's locker room to learn more about his decision to transfer to OU, his abilities as a player, what he's done since arriving in Norman and what he likes about his new team. A Q&A follows below and a separate three-and-a-half-minute video interview is available in the player above.
Q: For those who don't know, talk about your decision to transfer from Mississippi State to Oklahoma.
A: "My decision to leave Mississippi State was more about me not really fitting in the system we had there and not having a chance to flourish in it. I was kind of in between spots, so I really didn't know where I could play. And I knew with the returning seniors who were starters the last three years that it was going to be tough for me to play this year, also. I just wanted to find somewhere I could play and where the coach would give me a fair chance -- not saying my coach at Mississippi State didn't. I'm just saying I wanted a fresh start."
Q: Why did you choose OU?
A: "Coach Capel. Coach Capel is a great guy, he's a great coach and he's really what attracted me here. He recruited me in high school and he was real influential then, but at the time I just kind of let stuff get in my head about staying close to home. But Coach Capel is the main reason. He's a great guy and OU is a great program. It's a blessing, really."
Q: Did you consider Oklahoma when you were in high school?
A: "Coach Capel was big on me in high school. One of the former assistant coaches, Coach (Rod) Barnes was the head coach at Ole Miss and he recruited me when he was there. Then he came to OU and he jumped on me and told Coach Capel about me. Then Coach Capel started coming to some of my games in AAU and we eventually developed a little relationship. But it was just one of those things where I chose the wrong spot."
Q: Was OU No. 2 on your list behind Mississippi State?
A: "I'd have probably looked into OU more. I committed to Mississippi State in June going into my senior year of high school. Recruiting really heats up in July and since I already committed I didn't really give myself a chance to really, really be recruited. OU would have been in that top five, for sure."
Q: What do you bring to the OU program on the court?
A: "I'm going to bring loyalty, toughness, hard work and a gifted 6-8 guy who can play multiple positions, who wants to get better, will listen to the coaches and do whatever they ask him to do."
Q: How about off it?
A: "I'm going to try to be a leader on and off the court, but especially off it. Make sure we all get to class on time and make sure we all handle our business. Coach Capel always talks about the importance of being good off-the-court guys."
Q: What are some of the differences between Oklahoma and Mississippi State?
A: "We have a practice facility and Mississippi State doesn't. They're building one now and I think it should be finished by the end of this year. But here at OU I can go in the gym 24 hours a day.
"The campus might be a little bit bigger here. It's a long way from home and it's an adjustment. Overall, it's still school and it's still basketball. The SEC is a tough league, but I think the Big 12 is at just a little bit of a different level. That's one thing about OU -- I think I have to prepare myself to play at a higher level. I think that's the big difference."
Q: How much have you taken advantage of the practice gym?
A: "I've taken advantage of it, especially this summer. I was in the gym early in the morning or late in the afternoons doing things on top of what we were doing as a team. In order to be good, you have to do extra stuff on your own. I took advantage of the gym in the summer and look forward to doing the same in the fall and the spring."
Q: Because of NCAA transfer rules, you can practice this year but can't play in games. How difficult do you think that's going to be for you and what are your goals for the year?
A: "My goal is to become the best basketball player Romero Osby can become. And I just want to learn as much as possible, learn the system. I want to really encourage my teammates. Even though I can't play, I can be their cheerleader. I just want to push this team to be as good as it can be. I mean, we've got a lot bright spots that people don't know about. So I'm really excited about the season. In the back of my mind I'm like, 'I can't wait for this year to be over so I can play,' because I'm a competitor. It's probably going to be tough for me."
Q: In what specific areas do you want to improve as a player?
A: "I always tell people I just want to improve at everything. There's no part of my game that I'm like, 'OK, I don't need to work on that anymore.' I want to enhance my perimeter skills, really enhance my post game, really work on my mid-range game and my ball handling. My ball handling has been pretty good, but it's never been to where the ball is just tight like it's on a string. I need to get that in my game. And I really need to work on my footwork. I was a pretty good defender at Mississippi State because Coach (Rick) Stansbury really taught me a lot. He's a big-time defensive coach and I have to give kudos to him for really helping me defensively. I want to add to all those facets."
Q: How would you describe yourself as a person?
A: "I'm a hard-working guy, easy to get along with. I get along with a lot of people. I've always been the guy to get along with, a jokester. I like to have fun, but I know when it's time to be serious. On top of all that, I'm a father. So I have to be on my toes at all times. I have a youngster who's looking at me."
Q: How old is your child and is it a boy or a girl?
A: "It's a little girl and she just turned eight months. She's back in Mississippi."
Q: How difficult is it to be away from her?
A: "It was really tough having to leave home, but it's a humbling experience because every time I hear her voice on the phone I'm like, 'OK, that's my motivation. That's my motivation when (OU Director of Student Athlete Performance Jozsef) 'Yo-Yo' (Szendrei) or the coaches are really into us to keep pushing.' As she grows older, she's going to be looking at her father to be a role model that she can look to for guidance. I can't do that if I'm not doing the right thing."
Q: What do you like to do when you're not studying or playing ball?
A: "Just hang out. Basketball is pretty much what I do, but I like to hang out with my guys. A lot of my teammates might come over to the house and just hang out, play video games, things like that. We try to make it to where basketball doesn't become a job, even though that's pretty much what I do. Basketball is fun to me."
Q: You were a broadcast journalism major at Mississippi State. What do you want to do whenever your basketball career is finished?
A: "I kind of want to go into broadcasting. I want to be one of those guys who has a chance to be in front of the camera and express what he knows. One of my teachers at Mississippi State told me that (TV stations or networks) are always looking for people who've done it. You're not going to let just anybody fix your plumbing -- you want a plumber. I think when people see, 'OK, this is Romero Osby. He played at Oklahoma and played in the national championship game. He knows what it's like to be on that stage,' that they'll listen to me. That's what I get from Magic Johnson and all those guys, because they've been there. That's one thing you can't beat -- experience. I want to bring that over into the broadcasting world."
Q. The team started individual workouts last week. How have those gone for you?
A: "I missed one because I was sick, but they've been good, they've been tough. Of course, everything is tough when you're at a new school. Pretty much everybody here is new, except for like four or five guys. So all us new guys are getting adjusted to everything.
"I did workouts at Mississippi State, but here they're a lot different; faster paced. But it's something we're getting used to. I love it because it's making me better. At the end of the day, I'm going to be better from it."
Q. What do you like about this team?
A: "The camaraderie. Everybody gets along. We haven't had any blind spots since I've been here. Sometimes immaturity can be an issue with a team. But we don't have a lot of immature people on this team. Even our freshmen are pretty mature and laidback. Everybody shows up on time and we just have a pretty good relationship. We hang out. Some of the guys go to volleyball games together, some of us will go to the football games together. That's what you need to have a good team -- hang out with each other off the court."
Q: What do you like about this team on the court?
A: "Our whole team is skilled. I don't think we have anyone on this team who couldn't go somewhere and start, whether it's mid-major or higher. We've got a lot of talent on this team, and I don't think a lot of people realize that. We've got shooters, we've got post players, we've got 3-men, 4-men. We've got pretty much everything. We've got two really good point guards - well, three if you include T.J. Taylor, who's a combo guard. We've got everything it takes to be good. We just have to see how bad we want it and become as good as we can."