Osabuohien Bringing Toughness Back to West Virginia
Gabe Osabuohien led West Virginia (14-2, 3-1) in assists and was fantastic in so many other ways that won't show up in the box score in the 81-49 dismantling win over TCU (12-4, 3-1) on Tuesday night. The junior forward had five assists, recorded just three points on 1-2 shooting, and gathered five rebounds, with two coming on the offensive end of the court.
Osabuohien has always been a pretty gifted passer. He hit a growth spurt a little later in his high school career, so he grew up playing mostly a guard position. Coach Huggins has found a way to utilize Osabuohien's passing skills with his 6-foot-7 235-pound frame.
There was a two minute stretch in the second half where West Virginia seemingly ran the same play each time down the floor. Osabuohien flashed to the high-post, then would open up and receive the ball. He then pivoted and found either Derek Culver or Oscar Tshiebwe for what appeared to be an easy finish for the two talented big men.
"I'm very comfortable [making the pass from the high-post]. I've been doing it for a long time now. Just being able to play with bigs that can seal their defender, it makes it easier for me to just throw it in there to them," Osabuohien said.
At Arkansas last season, Osabuohien played with current Chicago Bulls rookie Daniel Gafford. He compares playing with Culver and Tshiebwe is much like how he played as a Razorback last season with Gafford.
"I was able to pass it to him just like I am to these bigs. I kind of moved in, fit perfectly, and playing with two bigs just like Daniel where I'm able to feed them and put them in the right position."
When asked about executing the same play three consecutive times down the floor, Osabuohien replied with, "We were going to keep running it but they went to a zone. We were going to keep running it until they could stop it."
The Ontario native also takes a lot of pride in his defense. Osabuohien's hands are constantly moving and picking at the ball. He has great lateral quickness and athleticism to guard on the perimeter as well.
Osabuohien recorded a season-high 11 deflections in the win over Ohio State, and although I think I only counted nine tonight, he did have three steals and forced two jump balls.
Senior guard Chase Harler loves the grit that Osabuohien brings to this year's team. "Gabe brings a toughness and a winning mentality at all times. He's not going to go out and get 15 points for us, but he knows his role and he does his job very very well. He's a great example of someone who knows how to do their job."