Fitting the pieces together: Osborne, FSU men's basketball eye start of season

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If you were to ask any of his Florida State teammates for a couple of words to describe redshirt senior Malik Osborne, most would immediately come up with the words “great teammate.” 

They would talk about his abilities in the post, the big 3-point shots he has made during his career, and the blocked shots he is famous for. They would also talk about what a winner he is, and that he always has a future as a broadcaster if he decides to go that way after his basketball career. Some of his teammates would also probably talk about his abilities as a dancer.

However, it’s a skill that he picked up during the pandemic that has helped him in his role as one of FSU leaders:

He has become an expert in building jigsaw puzzles.

It’s one of the many topics Osborne touched upon as he and teammate Anthony Polite participated in the ACC Tip-Off Tuesday at the Charlotte Downtown Marriott. 


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The two Seminoles, along with players from each of the 15 schools in the ACC, answered questions from many media outlets, posed for pictures, appeared on the set of “Nothing But Net” on the ACC Network and talked FSU basketball. 

Osborne and Polite even engaged (successfully) in an ongoing game of Jenga, where both Seminoles skillfully pulled wooden blocks from the tower that was constructed by players and coaches throughout the day.

Puzzle building is something Osborne became interested in during the pandemic and is something he enjoys doing when he is not studying or practicing.  He earned his degree in Criminology in April of 2021 and is currently pursuing a second degree in Humanities.

Florida State forward Malik Osborne vs. Indiana Hoosiers 
December 9, 2020

“I really enjoy the mindset it takes to put puzzles together,” said Osborne. 

“Building a puzzle takes discipline, recognition, memory and a strong will to complete a project over a period of time.  Time is one thing we all had during the pandemic, and building puzzles gave me the opportunity to keep my mind sharp when we really weren’t allowed to do much outside of our apartments and parents’ homes during those many months of lockdown.”

Osborne has constructed a number of puzzles, from small ones to 1000-plus pieces.  One of the first puzzles he completed was of the NCAA Tournament logo that he and his teammates received for playing in the 2021 NCAA tournament.

“Finishing a puzzle is a great sense of accomplishment,” said Osborne.  “It’s something I can do to put my mind in a good place.”

FSU forward Malik Osborne attempts a three-point shot as the Seminoles host Clemson Jan. 23, 2021.

Osborne enjoys completing colorful, scenic puzzles.

“The first one I completed was a scene near a dock,” said Osborne. “The 1000-piece puzzle I finished included a barn and a gas station.”

With the start of the regular season less than one month away, Osborne is concentrating solely on the Seminoles’ preparations for their opening game against the University of Pennsylvania on Nov. 10 at the Donald L. Tucker Center.

The most important puzzle Osborne is looking to master is that of the Seminoles’ upcoming schedule, which once again includes 20 ACC games. 

FSU begins its ACC schedule as it plays host to Syracuse on Dec. 4. 

The Seminoles will look to tie the ACC record of 26 consecutive home ACC wins against the Orange.