Usually, when seniors are honored during a team’s final home game they know for sure it will be the last time they ever play on their home court. Given the NCAA’s blanket eligibility waiver for college basketball this season, however, West Virginia seniors Taz Sherman and Gabe Osabuohien have the chance to be seniors again next year as well. Nevertheless, Sherman and Osabuohien were still honored prior to WVU’s regular-season finale against Oklahoma State on Saturday.
— WVU Men's Basketball (@WVUhoops) March 6, 2021
“It’s not the right time,” Huggins said. “We’re having a hard enough time winning games, much less filling their heads with other things.”
Sherman and Osabuohien are both two-year Mountaineers. Sherman joined the program from the junior college ranks, coming from Collin College in Texas and Osabuohien transferred in from Arkansas last summer. If it is the final time for the pair to play in the WVU Coliseum, Sherman said what he will remember the most about his time in Morgantown is the family atmosphere around the WVU program.
“The coaching staff, fans, the overall state of West Virginia has been great to me,” Sherman said. “I came here for two years, now with the possible option of a third, and I feel like I was welcome right away. There’s a sense of camaraderie and just we all love each other. I love it here.”
The Texas native is averaging 13.4 points per game this season and is a contender for the Big 12 Sixth Man of the Year Award.
“Taz has had a heck of a year,” Huggins said. “It’s a shame that he’s been dinged up and missed games because he would’ve put a heck of a year together in terms of scoring the ball.”
Osabuohien’s tenure with the WVU program has been highlighted by high-level defensive play from the Canadian. Osabuohien is in line to lead the Mountaineers in pass deflections and charges taken for the second season in a row.
“Gabe’s been, on the defensive end, terrific for us,” Huggins said. “I think his offense has gotten better and better but on the defensive end, he’s been terrific. I don’t know where we would be without him defensively.”
With WVU’s roster almost completely torn down following a tumultuous 2018-19 season, Sherman and Osabuohien joined the team and immediately provided leadership and attitude, according to sophomore Miles “Deuce” McBride.
“They’ve been huge, on and off the court,” McBride said. “Coming in with them, they were older and they took me under their wing. Gabe having played [Division I] college basketball, he already knew what it takes to win and what it takes to make deep runs. They’ve brought a lot of leadership and a lot of toughness to this program.”
With the regular season over, the Mountaineers will turn their attention to the Big 12 conference tournament that begins next week. WVU will be either the No. 3 or No. 4 seed in the tournament depending on the outcome of Sunday’s game between TCU and Texas.