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Degree, basketball will benefit Romero Osby's young family

BY MIKE BALDWIN, Staff Writer, Modified: October 20, 2011 at 7:30 pm •  Published: October 20, 2011

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Romero Osby isn't your typical men's college basketball player.

The Mississippi State transfer sat out last season and is projected to be one of Oklahoma's cornerstone players in coach Lon Kruger's first season at OU.

But Osby has more on his plate than attending classes and playing basketball. Osby is a father.

Osby's daughter, Saniya, turns age 2 three days after Christmas. She lives with his girlfriend, Shalonda Truman, in Meridan, Miss., his hometown.

“To know someone actually needs you is a great feeling,” Osby said. “Being a father you're responsible for somebody else's life. I'm excited, knowing eventually I'll get my degree, see where basketball takes me and then we'll become a family.”

Osby, 21, said those experiences have helped him become a better basketball player.

“In basketball, you have to step away from your own selfish desires and be a leader,” Osby said. “Maybe I'm wide open for a shot, but Fitz (Andrew Fitzgerald) also is wide open and he has 36 points. I need to get it to him because he has the hot hand.

“If you put it in that context, I may have five dollars in my pocket and my daughter may need three of them. It's the same with basketball. Unselfishness can help win games.”

The Sooners return four starters off a 14-18 team. They've have added two junior college transfers. But to make a quantum leap in the Big 12 standings, Osby will have to be as good as advertised.

Former OU coach Jeff Capel last season said Osby was the best player on the roster. He averaged 4.3 points and 2.6 rebounds his sophomore year at Mississippi State, but his minutes were limited.

“He has an inside and outside presence,” Fitzgerald said. “He's always crashing the boards. He's very, very determined. He's going to help us a lot.”

Listed at 6-foot-8, 232 pounds, Osby will play on the wing and in the paint. He's being counted on as one of OU's top rebounders on a team that's undersized.

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