Osborne does his talking on the court

By Matt Hill
STAR STAFF
mhill@starhq.com

   You won't find a guy who is more quiet than Hampton basketball player Greg Osborne, but there are also not too many basketball players that garner more respect as a person as he does.
   Osborne does his talking by coming up with big baskets for the Bulldogs, as he has become a leader by example on this Hampton squad.
   "He's the most dedicated one I've got," Hampton head coach Bud Hazelwood said. "I wish he would be more of a leader, but that's just not his personality. He may be a little too nice. Sometimes I wish he would take some frustration out on the other team."
   But for the senior, it's just not his style to be talking on the floor.
   "I'm not very vocal at all," Osborne said. "I would rather just go out there and play hard, and let my team see what I am doing out there instead of trying to say something to get them fired up."
   Osborne's work ethic is one of the things that people admire most about him. Osborne thinks that his hard work has rubbed off.
   "I think if they see me working hard, they'll want to work hard, too," he said.
   Osborne has become a star in the Watauga Conference, but stardom wasn't supposed to be for him.
   Kevin Harrison was scheduled to be the go-to-player for the Bulldogs, but his ACL injury left Hampton without a scorer.
   Osborne became that scorer after being mainly a junior varsity player for three seasons.
   "I don't think he got serious about basketball until this summer," Hazelwood said. "I expected him to take some pressure off of Kevin, but it didn't work out that way. He had to take over the role as the go-to-guy, and I'm not sure if he was ready for that."
   Osborne had to wait for players like Zack Ensor, Ryan Deskins and Matthew Campbell to graduate from last year's District 1-AA Championship team in order to get his chance. But once the opportunity was there, Osborne seized the moment.
   "When I first made varsity my sophomore year, there were probably 12 or 13 players ahead of me that had waited their turn," he said. "I just had a lot to sit through and a lot to learn from. I finally got my chance this year, and I tried to make the best of it."
   Osborne's humility shows when talking about his season so far. Despite having some big games, Osborne feels like he's not always played well.
   "I feel like there have been times where I have let my team down," Osborne said. "I feel like I could have played better if I had displayed a better attitude."
   Osborne feels the pressure of playing for a tradition-rich program like Hampton. He admits that sometimes nerves can get to him.
   But Osborne tries to keep calm, and thinks he does all right once the nerves go away.
   "Most of the time I have trouble with nerves and stuff," he said. "But once I'm able to relax, it seems like it all just comes to me. I've just got to relax when I'm out there, and have a good time.
   Osborne has the respect of his teammates, but especially has admiration from Coach Hazelwood.
   The first-year Hampton head coach is really pleased with what Osborne stands for.
   "He comes from a good family," Hazelwood said. "His dad is a minister in Bluff City. But the best thing about Greg is that he has really influenced a couple of these sophomores and freshmen that don't drive. A lot of the time he will go get them. I've heard some of the parents say that the best thing that has ever happened to their kid was hanging around Greg Osborne.
   Osborne is getting ready to leave Hampton High School, but will most likely continue his education after graduation.
   "I'm thinking about going to college," he said. "I'm not really sure what I want to do. I would like to go on to school. If I get to play ball, I'm going to do that. I really can't make up my mind.