Osburn looks to inspire with commitment to Nebraska-Omaha

·4 min read

Sep. 18—MOUND CITY, Mo. — After months of visits, contacts and collecting offers, the wait finally ended for Mound City senior Tony Osburn.

"You know, it feels really good," Osburn said. "It's kinda like a weight's off my chest now."

The star guard announced his commitment Wednesday to continue his basketball career at Division I Nebraska-Omaha next year.

With his decision out of the way, Osburn said he's looking forward to focusing on his final season as a Panther while also keeping an eye on the Mavericks.

"I'm trying to enjoy the rest of my senior year and not think about it anymore," Osburn said. "At the same time, I'm really excited to see how they do this year going into next year, but mainly, it's like a weight off my chest, for sure."

The Osburn hype train picked up last winter as he led the Panthers to a 24-1 regular season, averaging 27 points per game and shooting 41% from 3-point range.

The Panthers' run culminated in a fourth-straight district championship and a Class 1 state runner-up finish, ending the season with a record of 29-2. It marked the school's first appearance in the state final four since it took home the title in 1981.

Osburn said it was after the Panthers' trip to the final four that he first heard from Nebraska-Omaha. Despite an injury derailing his summer AAU season, Osburn said the UNO staff still got to see him play.

"Late July, they called and told me that I was the guard they wanted in that class," Osburn said. "They came to watch me workout at school, and that was really important, because it's not super close, so it showed they were really interested to come."

The Mavericks are led by head coach Derrin Hansen, who's entering his 16th season at the helm of the program. His tenure dates back to when the Mavericks were still competing at the Division II level. The program transitioned to Division I in 2011.

The Mavericks are coming off a season in which they went 5-20, their worst mark in their 10 years at the Division I level.

However, they're just three years removed from their best finish in the Division I era, when the Mavericks went 21-11 in the 2018-19 season. The Mavericks were defeated by North Dakota State in the Summit League Tournament Championship that season, falling just one game short of reaching the NCAA Tournament.

Osburn said he fits well with the team because his play style is greatly aligned with the way the Mavericks play.

"It's super free, they wanna take quick shots; if it's the right shot, they want quick shots," Osburn said, "and then I think the player development side of it is really, really good."

Off the court, Osburn said he's also begun to develop relationships that make the school a great fit for him.

"And then another thing is I have pretty good friends there, and it's close to home," Osburn said, "so it kind of just all tied in together."

As Osburn prepares to set off to the next level, he said he'll always cherish having the ability to be a role model for kids and people in the Mound City community."

"I think it's big for the town because I think it shows little kids that you can accomplish dreams, it just takes a lot of effort," Osburn said. "Especially coming from a small town, it takes a little more than probably if I was from a big school... I think it's just really important trying to pave the path for other kids, so it's really exciting."

But before he leaves Mound City, Osburn said he has a couple more things he's hoping to accomplish with the Panthers, which includes joining the 3,000 point on his way to winning a state championship.

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Jacob Lang can be reached at jacob.lang@newspressnow.com. Follow him on twitter: @NPNowLang.

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