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PORTLAND (CBSMiami/AP) — A former 1st overall draft pick and Miami Heat player is considering making another run at a basketball career.
Ohio State coach Thad Matta says former Buckeyes star Greg Oden has been training on campus and could attempt another NBA comeback.
Matta spoke Wednesday in Portland, where Ohio State is preparing to face Virginia Commonwealth in the NCAA Tournament’s round of 64. This is the same city where the Trail Blazers selected Oden with the top pick in 2007, but the 7-foot center was constantly sidelined with knee injuries.
Matta said Oden has been doing “high-level training” the past 6 months with coaches at Ohio State and weighs about 280 pounds.
“Quite honestly, I haven’t seen Greg look this good since when he played for us back in the day at Ohio State,” Matta said. “His attitude is off the charts. He went through a lot. You look at Greg’s life, how difficult things have been. I know that he is a kid that never wanted to let people down. The injuries, you know, none of us can prevent those. I know there’s part of him that wishes that stuff couldn’t have happened. I still swear he was going to be one of the greatest to ever play in the NBA just from the year I was with him.”
Oden played 82 games in five seasons for Portland. He last appeared in a game for the Blazers in December 2009 and played 23 games for the Miami Heat last season.
Oden played one season at Ohio State. He led the Buckeyes to the 2007 national championship game, where they lost to defending champion Florida, then entered the NBA draft.
While he has struggled to stay healthy, Matta said don’t call Oden’s career over just yet.
“I think he’s right now trying to gauge how the body feels,” Matta said. “There is a possibility he may make another run at it. He looks great.”
More than anything, Matta said, he’s thrilled that Oden is enjoying life again.
“I don’t know, quite honestly, if I’ve ever seen Greg as happy as he is right now in terms of everything is going great in his life,” Matta said. “He’s made a lot of personal commitments to change. Having him around literally every single day and spending time with him, there’s no greater feeling. I’m excited for him.”
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