It took three months, but Gabe Osabuohien will officially be playing hoops for West Virginia.
The transfer forward made the move to Morgantown back in August, but it wasn’t until just this week that he found out his eligibility waiver would be granted.
“It was just kind of annoying,” he said about the waiting process. “I was waiting to get cleared and hear back and see how I could help this program, and I was happy with the news that I got cleared.”
This is far the first time Osabuohien has to start anew. A native of Toronto, Ontario, he moved to the United States in high school. He would play at Southwest Christian Academy in Arkansas before committing to the Razorbacks, and then ultimately ending up at WVU.
Besides the Gold-Blue Debut, Osabuohien hasn’t yet appeared at the WVU Coliseum. He has missed all four of the Mountaineers’ regular season games so far, but all the while, he has been practicing with the team.
The junior says that his prior ineligibility had no effect on his preparations to play.
“Whether I’m playing or not, I’m still going to practice 110 percent,” Osabuohien said.
While the Mountaineers have significant depth among their guards, they have lacked it in their frontcourt. Not including Emmitt Matthews (who in all actuality is a wing player, despite being a forward who can play the 4 spot), Bob Huggins’s frontcourt can get thin with just three big men.
“He gives us something that we don’t have,” Huggins said. “He will be our best big to defend on the perimeter. You know, I think when people try to go small, he’s a guy with size who can still go out and guard smaller guys.”
Huggins also says that Osabuohien has good offensive skills, which can create mismatches when bigger players try to guard him. However, Osabuohien says he’s excited to play some defense.
“I think I can add another defensive aspect,” he said. “As someone who can guard multiple positions, make the right plays and just some more unselfishness.”
Off the court, Osabuohien seems to have already found his place on the team.
“Our guys love him. He’s a fun-loving guy, but he’s very competitive,” Huggins said. “You get him in competitive drills, he really wants to win.”
Osabhuohien made the connection to Huggins and West Virginia via his AAU coach, who told him that he would be coached hard and that he would have a good career if he did what he was supposed to do. All of these, he says, were things he wanted.
One major detail was left out about his new coach and team, though.
“Nobody told me about the treadmill until I got here,” he said.