Senior stars Jahmal McMurray and Shaffee Carr have helped lead the Highland Park Scots to a 17-1 record.
But they’re not the only key contributors as Eddie Hunt, Daniel Kingcannon, and Kameron Clark round out the strong starting unit.
And sophomore 6-foot-1 shooting guard Jahlil Osby has been solid in his role as the team’s sixth man and leading scorer off the bench.
“Coach says it’s very important for me to be doing something every game,” Osby said. “If I’m not scoring, I must rebound or play defense or something to contribute to the team.”
Osby, who is the top 2016 prospect in Topeka, excels as a perimeter shooter, but also plays with tenacity on defense.
“My style is someone who can handle the rock and so something to create—like a Jamal Crawford-type of game,” he said. “I’m smooth with it and I work so hard on my defense. Growing up I just loved playing defense.”
Jahlil (pronounced Juh-lil) has learned a lot from playing behind McMurray, who recently eclipsed the 1,000-point mark in his career.
“It’s been a great experience because I’m behind one of the best players to have played at Highland Park in Jahmal, he’s kind of my mentor,” Osby said. “Also it feels amazing because as a team we all play together even when things are down and we’re not hitting, we eventually come out as a group and work hard to get the victory.
“He’s taught me a hesitation, which is one of his go-to moves that he likes to use. And he’s told me when he was younger Coach D (Ken Darting) always used to tell him to shoot because he always thought about it, but you should catch and shoot it and that’s one thing he’s told me.”
Not only does Osby have a key role this season, but he’ll be counted on to be a key player for the future for the Scots when McMurray graduates.
“Highland Park has had a number of players come through and done well like Ty (Modupe), Kyle (Weems), Rico (Richardson), Lamont (Austin), Jahmal, Shaffee, just a lot of great players and I think pretty soon I’m going to be the guy and be the leaders taking shots,” Osby said.
Tulsa has showed early interest in Osby, who has aspirations of playing college basketball like a number of former Scots.
“I just want to play college ball,” Osby said. “I don’t care if it’s Division I, Division II, JUCO, I just would love the experience to play college ball because not a lot of people make it. It’s why I’m thankful for everything that I have with my gift and my ability and just having colleges looking at me is a compliment.”
Although he’s a talented player, Osby knows he still needs to make improvements.
“I have a nice handle, but I want to be able to create room and do multiple things off the bounce,” Osby said. “I also want to work on the consistency of my jumper and be able to come off screens and mostly this summer I want to work on becoming a leader.”
Highland Park hosts rival Topeka High (11-7) on Tuesday at 7:45 p.m.
“Rivalry games are always intense,” Osby said. “Most of all we have to come out focused and ready to play on defense like we usually do.”
The Scots will close out their regular season on Friday before beginning their quest towards a 5A state championship next week with sub-state play.
“We want a state championship and that means everyone has to be on all cylinders every night,” Osby said. “We have to come out hard and play together and make sure everyone steps up and does what they have to do.”