To hear Romero Osby tell it, the Wizards are interested in the 6-7 forward from Oklahoma.
And based off first impressions, they should be, and so should other teams.
He showed professionalism that any 23-year-old would for his first job interview upon leaving college. It's just that Osby's is applying to play in the NBA. He made a point to introduce himself to everyone, including media and camera crew, with a handshake and a smile.
“They’re really trying to get up and down the floor, implement that type of system so they were just telling me make sure I’m in great shape, run the floor,” Osby said of the direction he received from the Wizards’ coaching staff Tuesday. “They like the fact that I can do some inside, outside things. No promises but definitely some interest.”
Osby presents an intriguing prospect indeed. The Wizards have three picks in the June 27 draft, but they’re not expected to use all of them. Two are the Nos. 38 and 54 picks in the second round.
They could use a versatile scorer such as Osby, who has a mid-range game and already an NBA body. He averaged 16 points and seven rebounds as a senior. He also shot 52.6% from the field, and was slightly better from three-point range at 52.9%.
The Wizards were tied for last in the NBA at just 93.2 points per game and are thin on bench scoring, particularly at his position. They have a crop of reserve forwards in Jan Vesely, Trevor Booker and Chris Singleton who are limited as they collectively averaged just 12 points per game and weren't threats outside the paint.
That's actually where Osby is strongest.
“I've always been a guy that likes to face the basket. I like to be able to see the floor and see where guys are and what their position is,” said Osby, who admitted that playing with his back to the basket isn't his preference.
The Wizards were the fifth team that had him in for individual workouts. He said he had nine or 10 more workouts on tap.
For a player of Osby's athleticism, scouts would like to see him rebound more and commit to getting physical in the paint.
“I’m never one to make excuses but in my defense I played less minutes this year,” said Osby, who dropped slightly from 30 minutes to 28.5 per game. “My scoring went up and my rebounding stayed the same which means I’m rebounding at a high rate. I know I need to be more consistent with it.”
With only two rounds in the draft, Osby is on enough radars that he should be selected or at worst end up on a roster for summer league. But he wants to be drafted. Osby spent his first two seasons at Mississippi State, where he languished in a reserve role and never averaged more than 4.3 points.
“To me it’s a big deal just because of the simple fact that I've been doubted my whole life,” said Osby, who is from a small town, Meridian, Miss., is married and has a daughter. “Not a lot of people know where it is. I went to Mississippi State and didn't do well my first two years, got a chance to get out of there to kind of resurrect myself at University Oklahoma and get back to the player I was used to being. It’s a big deal to me.
“A lot of people doubted me over the years. That’s why I play with a chip on my shoulder.”