Dylan Osetkowski: towering above

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Sophomore forward Dylan Osetkowski goes for a layup in Saturday’s matchup against Memphis in Devlin Fieldhouse. The Wave ousted the Tigers 94-87 in Overtime. Osetkowski had career-high of 23 points, also notching his ninth double-double of the year with 13 rebounds

Mackenna Barker, Online Sports Editor

The Polish word “wybór,” which means choices, runs along the big man’s wrist. A San Diego native, Dylan Osetkowski, standing at 6 feet 8 inches and weighing 245 pounds, made the choice to step into a greater role on the team.

Dylan Osetkowski isn’t familiar with the term “sophomore slump.”

In the midst of a rocky season for the Tulane men’s basketball team, including an 11-game stretch in conference marked by just one win, the sophomore forward has blossomed.

As a freshman last season, Osetkowski started just four games but played in all 31, in which he averaged 6.3 points and 4.8 rebounds per game.

At the conclusion of the 2014-15 season, a slew of transfers and graduates left the paint clear for the forward.

In the offseason, Osetkowski wasted no time in preparing and transforming his body by losing body fat and packing on muscle mass.

His dramatic development in the offseason transferred to the court, as he averages 11.4 points and 9 rebounds per game as well as posting 10 double-doubles so far this season, Osetkowski emerged as the Wave’s greatest threat down low.

“He’s consistent night in and night out,” redshirt sophomore guard Cameron Reynolds said. “He brings it every night, so you try to match his intensity every game.”

Like the lion emblazoned on his ribs, Osetkowski embodies a sense of intensity as well as leadership in his game and mentality, even as young as a sophomore.

Osetkowski credits his leap to his mindset on and off the court as he focuses on leading by example.

As of Feb. 13, Osetkowski topped the team in minutes per game at 32.6 and field goal percentage at 46.2 percent, which put him in the top 15 in the American Athletic Conference in field goal percentage; his high rebounding average secured him the title of No. 3 rebounder in the conference.

Beyond his domination on the block, Osetkowski has proved his capabilities and willingness as a passer, dishing 44 assists so far this season and he sits at No. 1 on the team for steals with 34.

“[Osetkowski is] very motivated … not only just consistent but consistent at a high level,” head coach Ed Conroy said. “As we got into practice and games, he brought an increased intensity and he improved his skill level to where he’s one of the most productive players in our league night in and night out.”

While Osetkowski’s production around the basket has been consistent through the season, the team’s outcomes have been anything but.

“We went through a phase where we had a lot of different injuries, guys in and out of the lineup, and then we have a lot of new faces on the roster,” Conroy said. “It’s been difficult for our whole team.”

Some nights the growing pains are plain in the clumsy mistakes, and others the shots simply don’t fall.

“The toughest thing is knowing how well we can play and how well we are playing and just not seeing the results be where we want them to be,” Osetkowski said. “I would say that’s the most frustrating thing. But we’re going to come in on a daily basis, come to practice, come to games and continue to work hard so hopefully, down the stretch of the season and coming to conference tournament time, we’ll see those results and that pay off.”

That pay off began to manifest itself in the last two weeks. After starting conference play 1-10, the Wave snapped its losing streak on Feb. 10 at East Carolina where the squad earned its first triple overtime win in program history. The momentum kept rolling at home as the team notched another overtime win against Memphis three days later.

“It was good for us to get a win … it was a good confidence boost for us,” Osetkowski said. “Even though we had a rough start to the season in conference play, I think we need to just finish off strong. That’s the biggest thing coming down the stretch here is just having fun and getting some wins.”

The Wave has an opportunity to end the season on a positive note. Regardless of whether Tulane can seize the moment, Osetkowski’s dominant play brings a big base for the future of Tulane hoops.