Cedric Golden

American-Statesman Staff

Column

Golden: Dylan Osetkowski has to wake up against Nevada

Junior forward has been up and down this season

Posted March 11th, 2018

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Story highlights
  • Dylan Osetkowski has experienced an inconsistent season
  • When he's playing well, the Texas offense flows well.
  • He scored 19 points and grabbed seven rebounds against highly regarded Duke.
  • He scored eight points with just two rebounds in a 35-point loss at West Virginia.

Basketball gods calling Dylan Osetkowski.

Come in, Dylan Osetkowski.

Texas’ junior forward has the talent to transform this up-and-down offense into something workable, but he doesn’t show up every day.

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That’s been the bugaboo about D.O.: The Longhorn camp just doesn’t know which one will show up from game to game.

The question is, will they get the sleepy D.O. who scored a quiet eight points with a measly two rebounds and five turnovers in that 35-point beatdown at West Virginia or that Detlef-Schrempf-like D.O. who looked nearly unstoppable in that 19-point, seven-rebound, five-assist game against Duke in nonconference?

If ever there was a time for him to rechannel his Duke groove, it’s in Friday’s NCAA opener against the high-scoring Nevada Wolf Pack.

I’m sure some of you are wondering how a 6-foot-9, 245-pound talent can be so good one game and so listless the next, so I asked coach Shaka Smart how long it takes for him to know which Osetkowski he’s dealing with from game to game.

Dylan Osetkowski of Texas drives on Brady Manek of Oklahoma during the Longhorns’ victory Saturday. (Brett Deering/Getty Images)

 

“You can tell by the look on his face,” he said. “I tell him all the time: ‘D.O., lead the way, and your play will follow.’ Sometimes when he gets worried about his play, before all the other stuff, he gets a little hesitant. I have to find a way for him to be aggressive, let loose and let his hair down — whatever you want to call it.”

At this point, it’s safe to call Osetkowski enigmatic because when he’s on, he’s one of the most difficult matchups at his position in the country. But, oh, when he’s off …

“D.O. just brings a different dynamic because he can shoot the outside shot,” said point guard Matt Coleman. “When he wants to, he can be a force to be reckoned with in the post, around the rim, and he’s a handful to deal with. When he brings that edge, it helps everyone on the court at that time.”

Read that quote again and notice the use of the word “when.” Coleman and everyone else in that locker room are well aware that Osetkowski has the skills to have an impact on games, but they’re still waiting for him to bring it on a consistent basis. His numbers are fine — 13.6 points and 7.1 rebounds per game — but there is the sense that he can do so much more.

“I know when I play well we do well,” he said. “I know in my role I have a lot to do and a lot to help with, and I’m just excited that I have that opportunity.”

They might need to monitor Osetkowski’s bed Thursday night and make sure he sleeps like a baby so he can come out and play like a monster against a Nevada team that puts up 83 points a game and shoots just under 40 percent from 3-point range.

Else the Horns will be put to sleep in quick order.

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