Meet Charisma Osborne, the Allen Iverson of Windward

Meet Charisma Osborne, the Allen Iverson of Windward
Sophomore Charisma Osborne of Windward has become one of the top girls' basketball players. (Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)

It was a predicament not as challenging as solving a Rubik's Cube but baffling enough that in the middle of the Windward-Viewpoint girls' basketball game, players and officials stared at the hoop as if they didn't know what to do.

The ball had become wedged between the rim and backboard. There was hesitation and uncertainty as officials searched for a second basketball to knock it loose. Then Windward Coach Vanessa Nygaard urged her point guard, Charisma Osborne, to take action.


Osborne, who is 5 feet 8, took a couple steps toward the basket, leaped up and swatted the ball down as cheers erupted in the gym.

"I wasn't going to do it at first," the sophomore said.  "I can touch the backboard, so I said, 'Let me try.' It was actually fun."

Get ready for lots of fun and firsts whenever Osborne is on the court. The 15-year-old is on her way to becoming the next elite girls' basketball player from the Los Angeles area. She already has scholarship offers from UCLA, USC and California.

Osborne comes from the same program that produced Jordin Canada of UCLA, Courtney Jaco and Kristen Simon of USC, Jayde Woods of Texas Christian and Emily Surloff of Columbia in recent years.

"Charisma is a tremendous shooter," Nygaard said. "She has deep range and is a scorer in the class of an Allen Iverson. She can create her own shot at any moment, and she keeps getting better and better."

Sophomore from Windward has lots of talent (Eric Sondheimer)

Osborne scored 39 points against league rival Chatsworth Sierra Canyon earlier this season. She's averaging 20 points a game. Leave her open and she'll make a three. Put her at the high post, get her the ball and she'll dribble to the hoop and use her strength to score inside.

Ask her to play defense on a smaller guard and she'll stick to her no matter how many fakes or reverse dribbles are employed. She's also unselfish, versatile and always looking to improve.

Oh, and about the name:

"When my mom was in the hospital, she heard some little kid's mom call her Charisma and really liked the name," she said.

Osborne grew up in the Inland Empire but moved to Inglewood when she enrolled at Windward. She started out as a cheerleader, then switched to basketball at 9. By the time she was a teenager, she was joining her father at a fitness club and practicing her shooting between 2 and 3 a.m.

"There was no one else there, so it was the perfect time to go to the gym," she said.

She gets all A's on her report card and is beginning to understand why college coaches are excited about her skills.

Windward, with a record of 18-2, is one of the top teams in Southern Section Division 1AA and will play top-ranked Long Beach Poly in a nonleague game at 5 p.m. Saturday at Poly.

People need to pay attention to Osborne.


"She's a very special player," Nygaard said, "and has a chance to be the best player we've ever had."

Twitter: latsondheimer