MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — After the 2020-21 season ended, a lot of questions quickly popped up for WVU hoops.
Four players sought NBA Draft evaluations, one player ultimately became a draft pick and a few others transferred.
Gabe Osabuohien, though, took a different path — he quickly announced his intention to use his free year of eligibility to return to WVU for his third season with the program.
He didn’t like the way his senior season ended.
“What was on my head was losing to Syracuse, I ain’t gonna lie,” Osabuohien said last week. “That was really — I mean, I didn’t wanna go out like that. Definitely not. I was so mad after that game.”
The Orange upset the Mountaineers in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, and in that game, Osabuohien committed more fouls (four) than points scored (two). That fact might be fueling the former transfer as he prepares to enter his fifth season of college basketball.
“I’m really working on everything,” Osabuohien said. “Every aspect of my game — becoming a better passer, being able to make shots when I’m guarded, becoming a better defender also. Just working on everything, not just one specific thing.”
You read that part in the middle right: the forward who made just 14 of his 41 field goal attempts last season says he’s a better jump shooter. His head coach can vouch for that.
“I can’t believe how much better he’s gotten,” Bob Huggins said ahead of the team’s Gold-Blue Debut scrimmage. “I didn’t work with him at all. I didn’t spend any time with him on his shooting. That was all him. He was in here every day, pretty much all day.”
Exactly how much better has he gotten?
“We gonna find out,” Osabuohien said with a laugh.
Huggins provided a more clear assessment of the forward’s progress, saying Osabuohien “cleaned up” his shooting mechanics during the offseason, and did so on his own accord.
“None of our guys put any time in with him. That was him,” Huggins said. “I looked down from my office and could see him, and it’s like I was shocked when I saw the ball go in the first time. He’s not like those other guys — he doesn’t make shots like they do — but he is making shots now.”
Osabuohien and the Mountaineers will open nonconference play Nov. 9 against Oakland.