RiceOwls.com sat down with this year's Men's Basketball newcomers for a Q&A. The next installment features freshman forward Malik Osborne.
What was the recruiting process like?
"The recruiting process was a roller coaster. I started off having some offers. Some schools were interested (in me). But, nobody told me that once the college basketball season starts, recruiting stops. I was confused and started to reevaluate myself. I thought it was something I did. That pushed me to go harder, even though it was normal. I just didn't know. Then, I started to average a double-double my prep school year and the recruiting started up again. It was very overwhelming and interesting. To have all these schools recruiting me was fun. But I knew I ultimately had to make a decision. It was hard to have to cut schools off."
What was it about Rice that stood out to you?
"Of course the education. The education level was clearly above the rest. I also wanted to be somewhere hot. In Chicago, it's mostly cold. I just needed to get away from all the chilliness and get somewhere where I can wear shorts and a short-sleeved shirt."
What has been the biggest difference going from the high school game to the college game?
"It's way faster. Everybody is tough. Everybody is taller, stronger, more physical and way more athletic. I was probably one of the most athletics guys on my (high school) team. Now, everybody is athletic. Everybody can jump. It really allows me to key in on small things like boxing out, footwork and how to close out properly. One false step and you can end up on Sportcenter's Top Ten in the worst way."
How have you been able to adjust to college in general?
"I've been adjusting well. It hasn't been as quick as I'd like, but it's' slow and steady. I'm starting to get my time management down. That is key. I was a big procrastinator, but I found out the first week that won't get me through college. I had to make some changes."
What basketball player do you try to model your game after?
"Of course, everybody wants to be like (Michael Jordan). I really model myself after players like Paul George and Joe Johnson. They're the same size as me and I see my game in them. They're not always looking to score, but be that overall player. They do what the team needs to win. You'll see clutch plays on defense or clutch plays on offense. I've always wanted to be that guy that when the game is on the line can come through."
You're one of six newcomers on the team, but being a graduate student, you're one of the oldest guys on the team. How has that dynamic been?
"It is a little easier. If I mess up, I know that I'm not the only one. I can always learn from other people. Plus, the older guys are great guys. They understand because they've been there before. If I get down on myself, they are there to pick me up. Just keep moving forward."
Has there been a returning player that has helped you out?
"Tim Harrison from day one. The first practice was really solid practice for both of us. Getting used to practice, it was over and I thought, `Okay. Practice is over and we walk out and do my own thing.' But, he told me `Hey. Let's get these shots up. Let's get better. We're both going to take off and succeed and this is the extra work that we need to put in.' Ever since then, he's been on me about basketball to off the court, making sure I'm eating right. He's trying to be that father figure. I know what he's saying is true and I need it to be what I want to be."
What are your goals for the season?
"I always expect a lot out of myself. Personally, my point of emphasis is to rebound and get extra possessions. I'm not concentrating on scoring because I know that in our offense, the chances will be there. I'm concentrating on limiting our opponent's possessions because I know that it can help us win games."
When you're not on the court or dealing with academics, what do you like to do in your down time?
"Being a student-athlete, free time is so valuable. I really like to relax and sleep. But, I play video games quite a bit. It helps calm me down when everything is hectic. Whether it's school, basketball or socially, I like to just relax and play a nice game of NBA2K."
What are you listening to before a game?
"I know a lot of people like to listen to hype music. I personally like to listen to something soothing like jazz. Everybody is all hyped up. It's good to get hyped up, but I find that when I'm so hyped up, I don't think straight. So, I like to play some nice soothing jazz or R&B. I can calm down and think straight and that's when I perform at my best."
What is your favorite movie?
"My favorite movie has to be Friday with Ice Cube and Chris Tucker."
What is your favorite television show?
"I would say that my favorite TV show, a show that I can always depend on to get a laugh is South Park. That show is always wild and funny. They have no filter, but that's why I love it so much. That's what they're known for."
What is your favorite food?
"I do like waffles. I like a good waffle every day."
If you could have dinner with three people, past or present, who would it be?
"It would have to be Michael Jordan, Jesus and my dad. Michael Jordan, so I can learn from him on how to become a killer on the court. Jesus because I have a lot of questions. And my dad because he would love to have dinner with Michael Jordan and Jesus."