Highly sought Indiana forward commits to Loyola

Nick Osborne courtesy miamihawk
Nick Osborne, one of the most highly recruited high school players in Indiana, has committed to Loyola University Chicago.

Osborne,  a 6-foot, 8-inch tall forward at Muncie Central High School,  averaged more than 16 points and 10 rebounds a game during his junior year, according to IndyHoops.com.

StatePress.com has the story on Osborne’s decision:

Throughout the lengthy college basketball recruiting process, Nick Osborne stressed the importance of selecting a program by the time his senior year of high school began in the fall.

The Central forward held true to his word.

Osborne committed to Loyola University Chicago, ending what had been a whirlwind few months for the Bearcats’ 6-foot-8 star.

“I got the feeling that he was pretty close,” Central boys basketball coach Matt Fine said. “We talked at the end of last week. Nick’s not a big fan of the recruiting process. I think that he found a place that he felt comfortable with that had a new coaching staff. From talking to their coach, they’re putting a lot of money into new facilities. Nick also is intrigued by being in a big city. He’s glad to get it over with. He’s excited.”

Osborne, an Indiana Junior All-Star team member, averaged 16.6 points and 10.3 rebounds for the Bearcats as a junior last season, recording 14 double-doubles. He shot 61 percent from the field and dramatically increased his ability to shoot the ball from outside the paint. He also added bulk in the weight room to about 220 pounds, which made him even more difficult to guard.

“The coaching staff was awesome,” Osborne said of Loyola. “I had a great relationship with the head coach. He showed me what my role on the team would be on my visit. We sat down and watched film. The whole campus is awesome. All the dorms are right there on Lake Michigan. … It turned out exactly how I wanted it to. I’m pretty excited.”

Loyola will begin the season with first-year coach Porter Moser, who most recently served as associate head coach at St. Louis University under former Ball State coach Rick Majerus. Moser also previously was a head coach at Illinois State.

Loyola finished the 2010-11 season 16-15 overall and 7-11 in Horizon League play.

Fine said Osborne’s style of play would translate well at Loyola.

“Obviously any kid that’s 6-8 and has the size and physical strength that Nick has is going to play inside,” Fine said. “He’s also a guy that’s going to be used on the perimeter. So much of basketball has changed with using ball screens. I know that’s what they do. He can extend the floor a little bit. Any time you have a four-man that can stretch the floor, you’ve got some good things going.”

Osborne recently narrowed his list of potential schools to Fordham, Miami (Ohio) and Loyola. Ball State offered Osborne a scholarship in July 2010, although his final list didn’t include the Cardinals.

Northwestern became the first Big Ten school to offer Osborne a scholarship in recent weeks, and Fine was confident at least a few more Big Ten offers were forthcoming.

“There’s no question that he was going to have multiple opportunities in the Big Ten,” Fine said. “I’ve talked to several coaches that really thought that might be an option. Nothing is set in stone in recruiting. All along I’ve tried to give advice that if you feel there’s a place you’re comfortable, go ahead and do it. I think Nick’s intrigued by helping to build a program. He’s going to a place that’s not had a whole lot of success. It’s in a good league with Butler. He wants to be a part of building something, and I respect that.”