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Mike Vorel: Washington navigated 'wild west' to land Great Osobor, raising plenty of questions

Mike Vorel, The Seattle Times on

Published in Basketball

SEATTLE — While being introduced as Washington's men's basketball coach on March 27, Danny Sprinkle donned a purple tie and sat at a table inside Alaska Airlines Arena. Facing rows of family members, media, athletic department employees and increasingly important donors, he laughed and told the truth.

"It's the wild, wild west now in college athletics from a recruiting standpoint."

Wild, wild northwest as well.

On Monday, the 47-year-old coach made his most sizable splash in the 47 days since, earning a commitment from Utah State transfer and Mountain West player of the year Great Osobor. The 6-foot-8, 250-pound forward's commitment should not surprise, considering Osobor previously played for Sprinkle at Utah State (2023) and Montana State (2021-22).

This was a logical landing place.

But a nearly unprecedented price.

 

Multiple name, image and likeness deals are set to net Osobor $2 million in his final year of eligibility, according to a report by ESPN, the highest publicly known valuation in college basketball next season. It's unclear how much is tied to UW collective Montlake Futures, with Osobor's agent — GSL Sports' George Langberg — potentially negotiating unrelated marketing deals as well.

Regardless, the wild west has arrived at Washington.

Which raises questions on and off the court.

Most immediately: Is Osobor worth the seismic sum? After making modest contributions off the bench at Montana State, the power forward excelled in his third collegiate season — averaging 17.7 points, 9.0 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.4 blocks per game (on 57.7% shooting) in 2023-24. The Bradford, England, product proved an efficient finisher around the rim — with the ability to rebound, block shots, run the floor and pass out of the post as well. He was ranked by 247Sports.com as the No. 7 overall prospect in the transfer portal and chose Washington over fellow finalists Louisville and Texas Tech.

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