Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Greg Oden breaks it down with Mark Titus

Greg Oden. The name brings up many emotions among basketball fans. For Ohio State fans (and many Cavaliers fans, like me), fond memories of his one (half) year in Columbus. And a desire to see him dominate in the Association.  For some columnists, it's a history-ignoring habit of suggesting that the Blazers were idiots for passing on Kevin Durant, when in fact same columnists might have done the same thing.  For Blazers fans--I'm sure ripping of hair and gnashing of teeth is a common response to a career cut short in Portland. And for snarky Deadspin-worshippers, it's a little (poor word choice) snicker about the nude cellphone-self-photos that leaked of Oden a couple years ago.

But little has been heard from the big man himself. On Grantland, former Ohio State self-described "scrub" (and author of the brilliantly named blog Club Trillion) Mark Titus sat down with his friend and former teammate, and some interesting insights definitely came out.

Check the full article at the link at the bottom, after the jump.

On the wrist injury Oden suffered that cut his freshman year at Ohio State in half:
What actually happened? He damaged ligaments defending himself in a fight with his hotheaded younger brother, Anthony. The incident occurred shortly before the Indiana state tournament, when Greg was a senior leading Lawrence North High to a third straight state title. Greg and Anthony's occasionally ugly sibling rivalry is similar to a lot of brothers' relationships, but the fact that one brother, Greg, was the best basketball player in the country during his high school years only intensified things.
On the problems that hit him during his second year in Portland, living with a cousin:
My cousin got wrapped up in the NBA lifestyle and threw parties at my house all the time. So I got wrapped up in it too. When I played well, I'd drink to celebrate. And when I played poorly, I'd drink to forget. That second year in Portland I pretty much became an alcoholic."
On the nude cell phone picture:
"I wish it wouldn't have happened," he said. "But I'm not going to apologize for it. After all, I'm human and there are worse things that 21-year-olds could do. I just got caught up with women throwing themselves at me. When a girl sends me 100 pictures, I have to send something back every now and then. I'm not an asshole." 
Summing up his frustration:
"That's the worst part about all of the injuries and the criticism. It would be one thing if I had been healthy for five years and just sucked when I was on the court. But I can't prove what I can do because I can't stay healthy. Not having control over the situation makes it tough." 
I've always like Oden. When healthy, an absolutely dominating, amazing player. I wouldn't mind, after his year off living in Columbus, seeing him make the trip two hours north to give the wine-and-gold a try. Given his personality, I'm sure Cleveland, Indiana, Detroit, or Chicago would be his preference; something close to his Indiana roots.

But no matter where he ends up, I'll be rooting for him.

Link to full article on