Welcome to A10 Talk’s postseason Top 25 player countdown where we’ll be breaking down the best players in the Atlantic 10 this past year, as voted on by our staff. Each day, we’ll release a new article as we unveil our list. Today, we start with #24 Osun Osunniyi of St. Bonaventure.
What he did
After the recruiting battle that the Bonnies won over Syracuse and Georgetown last summer, Osun was burdened with perhaps the greatest expectations of any entering player during Schmidt’s tenure. He certainly lived up to the hype. Osun was a monster on the glass for the Bonnies. He collected 7.6 boards per game, which gave him the 258th best DR% (defensive rebounding) and the 64th best OR%. Even more impressive, was Osun’s shot blocking ability. He had 2.7 blocks per game and 92 total, an all-time record for Bonnies freshman. Not only was Osun a block machine, but his mere presence in the paint was a huge boost to the Bonnies defense which ranked 50th nationally (the highest ranking for any Schmidt coached team). Opponents were forced to either stay out of the paint or to markedly alter their shot in order to avoid Double-O’s 7’8” wingspan. His defensive prowess landed him on the All-Defensive Team and the All-Rookie Team.
Osun’s offensive game was less predictable. He averaged 7.5 points per game on 57.1% shooting from the field. While he almost exclusively took layups and dunks, his offensive efficiency rating of 119.8 was outstanding and by far the highest on the team. At times, he struggled to finish through contact, and in some games, he barely took a shot. Regardless, even in games where he wasn’t a threat on the offensive end, he was still critically important to the Bonnies success. In a game against Duquesne, Osun was 4-14 from the field, but was still the most important player on the floor, as he collected 22 rebounds and 6 blocks.
What he’ll do
Osun will have just as high expectations from the Bona faithful moving forward. Given the amount of time backup Amadi Ikpeze played last season, Osun will likely play upwards of 35 mpg next season if he stays out of foul trouble. It will take time to adjust to the losses of Courtney Stockard and LaDarrien Griffin, but the 2019-2020 rendition of the Bonnies team will still be expected to compete for a double-bye in the conference, and Osun’s development will be a big key to achieving that goal. Osun needs to add weight and get stronger if he hopes to play the physical game he enjoys with some of the bigger bodies in the conference and in the Bonnies few Power 5 games. Osun will also try to develop his offensive game further by adding skills away from the hoop. He already has NBA potential, but if his offensive skills continue to develop, he’ll be completely dominant at the college basketball level. While he may have just missed the NCAA tournament in his freshman season, Osun and his classmates should expect to dance in the coming years.