When Florida landed their first player in the 2020 class in Osayi Osifo they got an explosive athlete with otherworldly length and an NBA work ethic. I had the chance to speak to Osifo and learn a bit about his basketball jouney and what led to him committing to the Gators.
EF: First of all, congratulations on your commitment! Can you start by telling everyone where you’re from and where you play currently?
OO: I’m from McKinney, Texas and I play at Eastern Florida State College.
EF: You only started playing basketball recently. Did you play other sports growing up and when did you get into basketball? And what was your recruitment like that led you to playing basketball at Eastern Florida?
OO: I played track, rugby, and soccer growing up. I started playing organized basketball in 2016. All the signs pointed towards me going here—the success, environment, coach, staff, etc., so it was clear as day this would be the place for me.
EF: Considering what your recruitment was like out of high school what did it feel like to have multiple Power Five conference schools after you this time around? And what changed if your first year of JUCO that established you were a Power Five player?
OO: It felt great to know all the hours and attention to detail I put in paid off, and my recruitment picked up sooner than I thought. My jump from freshman to sophomore year I knew would be very instrumental into developing me into the player I wanted to be so I just simply polished the skills I needed to compete at a high level over the summer.
EF: For those who haven’t been able to see you play so far can you describe your game to them?
OO: I play with contagious energy that stands out. Very active on defense and on the glass. I can shoot the three or attack off a very fast first step to finish above the rim.
EF: I love the term contagious energy. Let’s get into your commitment to the Gators. When did Florida first reach out to you and what did they have to say? What made you commit to the Gators?
OO: Florida reached out to me a few weeks prior to my commitment. They loved my work ethic and believed I can make even bigger strides at Florida with the resources they have to offer.
EF: You now have a year left before heading to Gainesville. What will you be working on during this season and what do you think you need to improve on to be ready for SEC basketball?
OO: Leading my team to the National Championship. We finished in the Elite Eight last year, my focus will be to do my part to help the team win it all. The experience I’ll gain from this season and expectations I have for myself should make me equipped to compete in the SEC.
EF: At your size you play a few different positions. Is there a position you expect to be playing at Florida in particular? Was there anything the coaches had to say about that?
OO: The coaches will play me to whatever fits the rotation and system, I just focus on being a position-less player improving my overall game.
EF: Who are your favorite NBA players and do you try to model your game after any of them?
OO: My favorite players are Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard, and Michael Jordan, all of them are killers. I like their mindset and do model my game after them.
EF: Let’s get into the Osayi off the court. What are your hobbies other than basketball?
OO: I watch TV shows, play video games, and invest in stocks.
EF: Wow, how did you get into investing stocks?
OO: My father did it and I always wanted a direct way to get profit at a young age.
EF: When you committed to the Gators I reached out to a bunch of people who might have been in contact with you like coaches, JUCO recruiting analysts, and even some players that played against you last year. Every single one of them said you are an extremely polite, respectful, all-around good guy. Who played a role in you becoming such a high-character guy and why is it important for you to treat everyone with respect?
OO: I’m glad that’s what a lot of people had to say. My parents raised me that way, just to treat people with respect and I’ve seen them as role models. It’s just really important because it is, I don’t know why because I’ve been like that so long I don’t really know why.
EF: Obviously lots of Gator Country readers are in Florida and some of them live close by to Eastern Florida. Can you tell people why they should come see you and your team play this year?
OO: I came into Eastern Florida with two and a half years of basketball experience and turned out alright, I competed with my peers everyday so that says a lot about them. My coach here is a winner and his approach towards basketball is relentless, they should come out because I’m just one of the dogs Eastern Florida has and to see the rest you have to come to a game.
EF: Thanks so much for this!
OO: You’re welcome, thank you.
You can follow Osayi on twitter at @osayiosifo23.