Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Greg Oden Shows he is #1 Draft Choice [David Stefanini]

What an amazing performance from Greg Oden. Going into this game I was one of the hardest critics of Oden. I didn't feel he was good enough for all the hype surrounding him. After the final whistle was blown, he made a believer out of me.

I watched a far superior Florida team run up and down the court on the Buckeyes, but there was one man, one 7-foot center who would not let this game get out of hand. Oden stayed out of foul trouble, dominated the paint on both ends of the floor, and was demanding the ball in the low post. It seemed there was a stretch in the second half where Ohio brought it up court, Oden demanded the ball, he got it, turned and dunked on whoever and whatever was standing in his way. It was not how many points and rebounds he grabbed; 25 and 12 respectively, but it was how he got those points and rebounds. He connected on 10 of 15 field goal attempts, 66%. Most of his buckets came in timely situations where Florida was threatening to blow the game wide open.

The biggest thing I saw from Oden was his heart and will to win. As the commentators said throughout the game, you would have to go back nearly 4 years before you could find the last time Oden lost any kind of postseason game; now the world knows why. Oden refuses to lose. That is something no-one can teach you, nor something you can learn how to do; it's something you are either born with or not. LeBron James, as great as he is, is not born with it. Jordan has it, Kobe has it, Magic Johnson has it, and now I see it in Greg Oden.

Whoever has the #1 pick in this years draft is going to get Oden, if he comes out of school. I am not to sure that is going to happen. The money is great, the stardom is great, everything about being the #1 pick is great however; Oden loves college and you can tell he wants a National Championship. If he comes back next season I would imagine Ohio State will start the year as the #1 team in the country and ride that through to the end. Oden's freshman year was amazing, but to start it was plagued by injury. He should come back and show what kind of player he is and show the kind of heart he has to do it one more year. He will be the #1 pick in next years draft or the year after. The NBA will be there whenever he decides to come out and go pro. Why not give the fans of college basketball another chance to see how great he is and play in the NCAA Tournament.

With all that said about how nice it would be, I do not expect Oden to play in another college basketball game.

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