SAN ANTONIO — Romero Osby added an efficient performance to his October résumé in the Orlando Magic's preseason exhibition Tuesday night, scoring six points, gathering three rebounds and collecting one steal in a 123-101 loss to the San Antonio Spurs.
Osby, the Magic's second-round pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, is competing for a regular-season roster spot.
He can play both forward positions, and Magic officials like his energy and tenacity.
Osby played four seasons in college, beginning at Mississippi State and finishing at Oklahoma.
The NBA, of course, has been an adjustment.
"It's been a little up-and-down," Osby said. "It's different. It's a different level. It's a different speed. But I think I'm adjusting, trying to get better every game, just trying to do what the coaches ask me to do and trying to learn every day."
Adjusting to the NBA game is tough for almost every rookie.
Osby, who is listed (perhaps generously) as 6-feet-8, has dealt with a tougher challenge: playing both small forward and power forward.
"He had to learn both positions offensively and defensively different concepts," Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said. "Overall, he's done a really good job for us. He picked things up pretty quickly, which has been great. Then, he's a guy who puts in extra work. . . . So, he's a dedicated young man, and a lot of people are pulling for him."
Playing both positions requires adjustments from game-to-game and sometimes within indvidual games.
In college, as he watched the NBA from afar, he admired combo forward Josh Smith.
On Sunday, Osby spent some time matched against Smith as the Magic edged the Detroit Pistons 87-86.
Smith made a few baskets, then followed up by blocking one of Osby's shots.
"Getting a chance to play against him head-to-head was really good for me," Osby said.
Vaughn doesn't advertise it, but trips back to San Antonio always mean something to him after he spent three seasons with the Spurs as a player and two seasons with the Spurs as an assistant coach under Gregg Popovich.
Vaughn received a nice cheer from Spurs fans when his name was announced during the pregame introductions.
Vaughn also caught up briefly with Popovich and the Spurs' general manager, R.C. Buford.
Popovich is happy with what he's seen from Vaughn during Vaughn's Magic coaching tenure.
"You can see so quickly in a young coach the ability, the desire to do that job, and we knew early on with Jacque that one day he would be in that same sort of situation," Popovich said.
"Since that time, he's done a great job, in my opinion, of not skipping steps in installing a system without being in a rush to show everything that he knows, and that's in some ways a tribute to management and ownership also, because in this league instant gratification is a huge deal. I guess that's an American trait now, instant gratification, and you see it a lot with teams.
"But, in Orlando, it seems that everybody understands — from ownership through management down through the coaching staff and the players — that good programs take time to develop continuity and corporate knowledge."
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