Former No. 1 overall pick Greg Oden back at Ohio State as student-coach
The oft-injured former No. 1 overall pick is back at Ohio State, where he attended school for one season, to finish his degree and help Thad Matta with the Buckeyes. It’s yet another twist in the sad tale of Oden, the No. 1 overall pick of the Portland Trail Blazers in the 2007 Draft whose NBA career never gained traction because of leg injuries.
After flaming out in Portland, Oden had a short stint with the Miami Heat in 2013-14 and in also played in China. Oden, 28, recently told his hometown newspaper, the Indianapolis Star, that his professional career is over:
Oden is enrolled this semester at Ohio State, a 28-year-old sophomore majoring in sports industry. Asked whether he’d play basketball again, he said, “I wish. It’s over.” Instead, he is back with the Buckeyes as a student coach, helping out the players and Matta any way he can.
“I wouldn’t say I regret anything,” Oden told IndyStar Thursday in a phone interview. “I would say I just wish I did things better.”
Oden says he doesn’t regret jumping into the NBA at 19, but he does wonder how things might have been different. He now mentors Ohio State players about that life-changing decision.
“I have talked to them about the situation and going to the pros and what’s expected,” he said.
Just five weeks ago, Oden became father to a little girl. He and the baby’s mother live off campus in Columbus.
“I wanted to stay around basketball and coach gave me a lifeline to be here,” he said. “To give me something to do with my afternoons.
“I’m still trying to figure out my life. Since I’ve been in fourth grade, all I’ve known was basketball. I’m just trying to better myself and work on my degree and set something up for the future of my family.”