Sure, the Ohio State football team’s run for the national title was impressive. But that’s so 2006. Now all eyes are on the Buckeyes basketball squad, a heavy favorite heading into post-season, thanks largely in part to Greg Oden. The 7-foot, 280-pound behemoth has been widely considered to be the greatest big-man prospect since Patrick Ewing. Read on for MF‘s exclusive interview with the freshman star.
Fifteen things you absolutely need to know about the Ohio State center Greg Oden.
Undisputed No. 1
Oden would most likely have been the No. 1 draft pick had the NBA not issued a new age minimum that ruled kids fresh out of high school ineligible. The favorite to be drafted first in June? Still Oden, if he declares early.
Would he have entered?
“Probably not, because I don’t feel like I was ready,” he says. “Plus, I wanted to go to college and enjoy myself.”
Number of pounds of muscle Oden Gained prior to his freshman season
“I’m thinking of something in accounting. I’m pretty decent in math.”
Did he always want to be a baller?
“Not always,” he says. “I wanted to be a dentist back in the day.”
ON Missing the first seven games OF the season DUE TO a wrist injury
“It sucked, because I just really wanted to get out there and play so bad, but I had to deal with looking out for my future.”
ON his long-awaited debut against Valparaiso
“It was just like any other basketball game. I was just ready to play. The standing ovation [from the fans], I mean, that was kind of weird,” he says. “I just didn’t want to go out there, air ball, and embarrass myself.”
LeBron is “the King. “Dwyane Wade is “the Flash.” Greg is…
“Meat. Our weight-training coach calls me that sometimes after the big guy from Porky’s.”
“In my dorm room, I have close to 600 movies-or more-on my wall, under my bed,” Oden says. His favorite flick? American Pie 2.
Hooked on Housewives
“It does surprise a lot of people, but I love Desperate Housewives.”
The cons of being so tall
“I can’t go to the amusement park because I can’t ride the roller coasters. I can’t get away with anything, so I don’t even try. And shopping for clothes sucks. They have clothes for big men, but they don’t have clothes for tall men. So I don’t know why they call it ‘Big and Tall.'”
Consecutive national high school player of the year awards and three straight state titles at Lawrence North High School in Indianapolis.
Greg began playing hoops in the fourth grade
The athlete he’s always looked up to (and whom Oden is often compared to): retired NBA star David Robinson.
On reteaming with former high school teammate Mike Conley Jr.
“It’s a good thing having someone you grew up with on the team, but there’s other guys on the team, and you have to adjust to them. It’s like, they’ve been here, and we’re coming here to their territory. But the chemistry’s cool.”
Ohio State will be cutting down the nets in Atlanta
If Oden has any say, that is. Coach Thad Matta has said anyone who declares the Buckeyes the national title favorite “must be on drugs,” but Oden thinks otherwise. “We can play well, we’re talented enough, and if we play hard enough, we can do it.”