The Belgian BlurBy Sean Landry | 02/25/2015 7:48pm
Retin Obasohan (32) has recorded double-digit points in the six games he's played in, including 15 points against South Carolina. CW | Pete Pajor
In the 2013-14 season, then-redshirt sophomore Retin Obasohan had 12 double-digit performances. The guard from Antwerp, Belgium, developed a reputation as a speedy, high-flying guard capable of blocking a shot on one end of the floor and dunking on the other end seconds later. A long-armed guard, quick-footed defender and top-tier athlete, explosive and exciting to watch, Obasohan was the kind of guard who exemplified Alabama coach Anthony Grant’s system. With the graduation of first-team All-SEC guard Trevor Releford, Obasohan was a promising asset for the program’s future and a fan favorite dubbed “the Belgian Blur.”
Then he hurt his ankle and underwent an arthroscopic surgery, and most of his minutes went to transfer junior point guard Ricky Tarrant. Until Tuesday, Obasohan had exactly one double-digit performance this season.
Tuesday, Jan. 17, marked the first game that Tarrant missed due to a lower-leg injury. He would go on to miss at least eight straight games, beginning with that matchup against No. 1 Kentucky through last Tuesday’s win over South Carolina. Obasohan played in six of those games, recording double-digit points in every one of them, including 15 points against South Carolina.
After the game, Obasohan was redirected any praise for his performance, which likely sealed a desperately-needed win for the Crimson Tide, to praise for his teammates and coach.
“We settled in the second half, did what coach wants us to do, took what South Carolina was giving us defensively,” he said. “We just executed like how coach wanted us to execute.”
Obasohan recorded his first career double-double against UGA last Saturday, but was even more dismissive in the team’s loss.
“This is not about me,” Obasohan said. “This is about the team. I’m just glad and thankful I can do whatever I can do to help the team win. Today, I’m proud of the guys. I’m proud of our coaching staff. We came in today and we brought it. We got to give Georgia credit because they did what they had to do and we fell short today.”
Obasohan’s captain, senior guard Levi Randolph, was more effusive regarding his teammate. Randolph and Obasohan came to Alabama at the same time, with Obasohan redshirting his freshman year.
“Retin is a guy that, since I stepped on this campus with him, he’s put in countless hours by himself when nobody else is in the gym,” Randolph said. “He’s always working on his game. It might be a day when he works out and then practices. He’s going to give it his all so he’s just going to get better and better and better. It doesn’t surprise me, his performance lately. It’s just something that I see everyday in practice. He comes and gives it his all. He plays hard and just continues to work on his game when nobody else is looking.”
Since Tarrant’s injury, Obasohan’s workload has spiked. In the game Tarrant suffered his injury, Obasohan played two minutes. In the first game sans Tarrant, he played 32. Against Georgia, he played a season-high 40. Against the Gamecocks, he played 37.
“That’s, getting back to the injuries and all that, they lost Ricky Tarrant, who I thought was a difference maker, and you don’t lose players like that in the middle of conference play and just keep moving forward,” South Carolina coach Frank Martin said. “Last time we played them I think Ricky was playing on a bad foot and he was trying, but Obasohan wasn’t playing as much. Now, that young man’s engaged and he plays with a strength and aggressiveness, a speed that’s hard to deal with. That’s a credit to him, because he wasn’t playing as much before Ricky got hurt and his number got called and he wasn’t passive. He’s growing into that job now and he’s becoming a difference maker on the team."
Against South Carolina, Obasohan shot 3-for-5 from three and recorded at least one in every statistical category, including two blocks.
“He’s not fun to play against,” Martin said. “But he’s a whole lot of fun to watch.”