Jack Osborn in his basketball days
A twist of fate led Crows rookie Jack Osborn to walk away from a promising basketball career and pursue a future in football.
Osborn, 22, and Sturt Sabres guard Tim Klaosen both joined Adelaide as ‘Category B’ rookies this week. But Osborn’s professional sports path could’ve been very different.
The 205cm centre/forward returned to Australia earlier this year after completing four years in Adams State University’s basketball program in Colorado. He signed with NBL side, Gold Coast Blaze, but never played an official game for the club, which folded under financial pressure.
Osborn went home to Tasmania to play with the Hobart Chargers in the SEABL, but his thoughts soon returned to a comeback to football - a game he’d played right up until his departure for the US.
“I played footy with North Hobart until I was 17, but I had a good chance to get to the US to play basketball. Not many teenagers would turn that down, so I went to America to play for four years,” Osborn told afc.com.au.
“It was a great experience and something I’ll never forget. I got back from America and signed with the Gold Coast Blaze, but they had a few issues and it all fell through.
“When I was in the States, I missed football and always hoped to get back into it. An opportunity to play again was all I needed. It all happened very quickly.
“I put my hand up to give it a go and I was lucky enough Adelaide expressed some interest in me.”
Osborn’s first contact with the Crows came through his manager in October.
He participated in a day of testing and excited the Club’s fitness and coaching staff with his vertical leap and agility for an athlete of his stature.
At 205cm, Osborn assumes the title as Adelaide’s tallest player, eclipsing Sam Jacobs (202cm), and will also challenge for the biggest shoe size (size 17).
Osborn said he was confident his high-leaping exploits on the basketball court, which include an impressive array of slam dunks, could translate into ruck work.
“The day of testing gave me a taste of how hard it’s going to be,” he said.
“There’s a lot to improve on, but after four years out of the game it was nice to still be able to kick straight. I think I’ve got good hands, and playing as a big man (centre/forward) in basketball I’m used to using my vertical leap to get above other players. Hopefully, that will transfer to ruck work quite well.
“It’s very daunting because it’s going to be really tough and up on what I’ve done before, but I’m excited and can’t wait for the challenge.”
A Richmond supporter growing up, Osborn will arrive in Adelaide and begin training alongside Klaosen next week.
The Physical Education student said it was reassuring to have Klaosen, and former US College basketballer Ben Dowdell also at West Lakes.
“It’s definitely given me a lot of confidence in making the move. I’ll be able to relate to Tim and Ben, and get some experience from Ben and a couple of the other guys, who come from basketball backgrounds,” he said.
“Hopefully, we look out for each other. It’s nice I won’t be a loner out there.”