Danny Sprinkle finally brings Mountain West Player of the Year with him to Washington, but it was costly

Great Osobor was one of the best mid-major players in the country last season, but even after struggling against TCU and Purdue in the NCAA Tournament, he commanded the largest known NIL valuation for a college basketball player to join his former coach at Washington.
Utah State Aggies forward Great Osobor (1)
Utah State Aggies forward Great Osobor (1) / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Danny Sprinkle has been one of the fastest risers in the college basketball coaching world, jumping from Montana State in 2022-23 to Utah State in 2023-24 and then to Washington this past offseason. He first took the Montana State head coaching job in 2019 and has made the NCAA Tournament in three of his five seasons as a Division I head coach. 

Great Osobor has accompanied Sprinkle for each of those three trips and now he’s joining Sprinkle at Washington for his final season of eligibility. Osobor, a 6-foot-8 250-pound forward from Bradford, England was a role player at Montana State in his first two years but came into his own last season for Sprinkle’s Aggies averaging 17.7 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 2.8 assists. He led Utah State to a 28-7 record, a Mountain West regular season title, and was named conference Player of the Year. 

This offseason, once Sprinkle left Utah State for Washington, Osobor entered the transfer portal, but instead of following his long-time head coach right away, he explored his options and his offers. Osobor visited Kentucky, Louisville, and Texas Tech, before finishing his tour in Seattle. 

Not only did Washington provide familiarity with Sprinkle, but the move also helped Osobor maximize his value on the open market. According to ESPN, Osobor’s NIL deals have a valuation of $2 million, the highest known valuation for a college basketball player. His agent, George Langberg of GSL Sports was credited with negotiating the deals, which include marketing assurances. 

Osobor is Sprinkle’s seventh incoming transfer of the offseason, but certainly the highest profile addition. D.J. Davis is a quality combo guard from Butler and Mekhi Mason averaged 14.0 points as a sophomore at Rice last season, but Osobor is the true big-swing who could make Washington a Big Ten contender next season, however, it could be a costly move to the rest of the roster. 

With a $2 million dollar NIL valuation, Osobor gobbled up plenty of Washington’s resources, which potentially could have been spread around to the rest of the roster. Maybe that’s not necessarily true and the donations only come into the program for a player like Osobor, but there’s still a question of if he’s worth that investment. 

Last year, Osobor was one of the best mid-major players in the country. In the first round of the NCAA Tournament, he went for 13 points on 6-10 shooting with seven rebounds four assists, and two steals, but racked up four personal fouls and turned the ball over three times. He played just 31 minutes and Ian Martinez had to carry the Aggies past TCU 88-72. 

In the second round, Utah State ran up against Purdue, the eventual national runners-up with back-to-back National Player of the Year Zach Edey. It could be unfair to compare Osobor to Edey but with such a large NIL deal, Osobor will have great expectations for his first and only year in the Big Ten. 

Against Purdue, Osobor, a 6-foot-8 forward who logged many of his minutes at center was dwarfed by the 7-foot-4 Edey and struggled to handle Purdue’s size on the interior. Osobor went 4-11 from the field and finished with 14 points and six rebounds. He was visibly frustrated in his team’s 106-67 loss. Not every opposing center will be Edey’s size next season, but if Osobor can’t survive playing center in conference play, it’s fair to question if he provides enough value for Washington as a non-shooting power forward who only made 3-14 three-point shot attempts a year ago. 

Washington got much better with one of the ultimate prizes of the transfer portal cycle, but the $2 million man will have plenty to prove next season and lofty expectations to live up to.

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