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Romero Osby's career was always a bit of a long shot in many ways.
The 6-foot-8 forward started his collegiate career at Mississippi State and transferred after two years to Oklahoma. He was always a bit of a grinder too. His stat line his senior year was 16.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per game as the team's power forward. To make his way in the NBA he would have to be one of the hardest working players on the team.
It was likely this attitude that caught the Magic's attention during pre-draft workout and eventually made him the 51st pick in the 2013 Draft.
Unlike the Magic's other picks and young players Osby has a maturity and a chip on his shoulder that has come with an extra motivation to work. Unlike youngsters like Tobias Harris and Maurice Harkless, Osby has a wife and young kid and that has changed everything for Osby.
For him, it is a blessing to have gained this opportunity with the Magic.
I just relied on faith and having faith in God and having faith in my hard work and how much time I put in," Osby said. "Sometimes that gets you where you want to be, but sometimes that doesn't. So I just wanted to continue to keep putting in the work, showing them that I'm going to work hard and continue to bring that effort. I knew when they invited me back in August and then invited me back in September, that I probably would still have a chance if I continued to work and show what I can do in the pickup games and in workouts. That's what I continue to do. I'm glad that I'm here."
There is no guarantee that Osby makes the Magic's roster.
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He averaged 11.0 points and 4.4 rebounds per game during Summer League, showing a ton of activity around the basket and a lot of hustle. He fit in immediately with the Magic's young group. Osby said he learned in Summer League that he can copete at the NBA level, but he needs to continue working Through two preseason games, Osby has played 23 minutes and averaged 3.5 points per game, shooting 3 for 7 from the floor.
Osby has shown he can contribute a bit, but there is still a lot of work to do to crack the opening night roster, much less the rotation.
"I don't have an idea of how they are going to use it," Osby said. "I know from talking to Rob and talking to coach Vaughn, they want me to bring that toughness and guard multiple positions and be someone that is going to stand out not necessarily with his shooting ability or his ball handling but with his energy and his effort."
His versatility is certainly something that the Magic want. It is still a matter of whether that is enough to get him on the roster.
It was not until a few weeks ago that there was a mystery about whether Osby would even be on the Magic roster. There were rumors that the Magic wanted him to go overseas so they could retain his rights.
Osby had the option to go overseas, and it is something he will consider if the Magic end up going in a different direction, but family is what drives Osby. His preference would be to remain close to them.
"It was an option but it was not an option I had in mind as something I wanted to do for the simple fact that I'm married and I have a daughter here in Orlando, in the United States and I wanted to be able to stay close to my family," Osby said. "If God wanted me to be overseas and that's what I had to do then I would do it. Until the Magic kick me out of here, I'm going to stay here as long as I can."
Osby has higher priorities obviously as he pursues his basketball dreams. And Osby's hard-working personality and faith will lead him where he is meant to go.