Excuse Greg Oden if he feels a little bit anxious. The 2007 No. 1 overall pick had to wait 16 months for his NBA rookie debut. Should Oden win top rookie honors this season, he would become the first player in league history to do so after missing an entire season due to injury. I have no problems with it, but I’m not going to give percentages. I just know that there’s really no problems with it every time I play. To try to get out there and help my team win as much as possible. I’m not really worried about individual stats. For me, if my team can make the playoffs or we can win a lot more games than we did last year, then that will satisfy me. Do you think the team will make it in the loaded Western Conference?
Greg Oden: We have a chance. Hopefully we can get things together at the beginning of the season and become a good enough team to make it. He has that kind of maturity about him when you see him play. And Mike Beasley because of all the talent that he has. There are a couple of guys who I think are sleepers out there, like a few of the seniors who can come in and be a lot more mature and make an impact. It kind it depends on who the guy is playing for too, if they have a chance to play with that team. I’m looking at maybe like an Eric Gordon or Russell Westbrook or
Brook Lopez. What advice has he shared with you?
Greg Oden: He’s just telling me if you go out there and play, you don’t have to worry about what people say about you in the news or the media. Just go out there and play your game and have fun with it. It’s just a game. You’ve got to understand that you’re a rookie. Don’t put any pressure on yourself that isn’t needed. I’m hoping he’ll be a pretty good asset to our team. He’s a good guy. He’s real cool. And I just like how he takes cheap jerseys
over games. He’s a guy that doesn’t need all the flash or all the attention, but he goes out there and does what he has to do. He basically said it’s a long season, a long grind and these vets know a lot about the game, so they do a lot of little tricks that will get you and give them an advantage. You’ve just got to be careful and be smart when you’re out there. Just keep on working hard because the season is long. You have to be in shape. What do you know about his game?
Greg Oden: I learned a lot about him last year before he got hurt. I started watching some film on him and I saw how he was playing and moving and doing really good. He’s coming off an injury too. Hopefully he’s around the same place that I am. I know that he’s a good player and it’s going to be a difficult challenge for me. What was that experience like?
Greg Oden: It was just a good thing for me to be back on Ohio State’s campus. It was something that I wanted to do and it was a little stepping stone towards me getting my degree. Are you trying to get the band back together or something?
Greg Oden: No, no (laughing). I’m just a fan. Somebody told me that that they said on the radio that I have a man crush on Justin Timberlake. It was kind of funny. I’m just a fan and it came up and it was for kids so I had no problem about people putting it on the Internet and saying I sucked. It was a fun time for organ mentors, this thing I had going on last Saturday.
And no, I do not have that big of a man crush on Justin Timberlake. I’ll put it like that.
Greg Oden: Everything. Growing up in Terre Haute, Indiana there’s not a whole lot to do. What I did was I just went to the basketball court at the Boys Girls Club and literally stayed there all day until my mom got off of work.