Greg Oden Interview
The 2005 Reebok ABCD camp is ongoing in Teaneck, New Jersey. The biggest name in all of high school basketball, 7-foot center Greg Oden, begins his senior year in the fall. He'd have likely entered the 2006 NBA Draft and been a lottery pick, but with the new NBA age minumum in effect, Greg Oden will be headed to Ohio State University after high school. InsideHoops.com editor Jeff Lenchiner and a few other reporters talked to him Wednesday afternoon, Day 1 of the camp's games. InsideHoops.com is the only place you'll see the full Greg Oden interview.
Question:: What's your focus this year in camp?
Greg Oden: Just to improve, come out here and play my best, be a good team, win all our games, that's basically it.
Question:: Have you gone from a guy chasing after other players to being the guy other guys want to match up to?
Greg Oden: No; I just feel it's a matchup. They don't want to go out there and get dunked on, and neither do I. So we just go out there and we just play hard.
Question:: Did you feel the NBA's age restriction was fair?
Greg Oden: In a way it is, in a way it's not. In a way, there are some players good enough to go. And in a way, I see that they don't want players going who aren't good enough and mess up their life because they mess up their life and can't go to college. It's 50-50.
Question:: And for the level of player that you are, what's your opinion on it?
Greg Oden: I'm not a fan of the rule, but I always wanted to go to college, and I see how that helps me a lot. But I'm already going to college. I don't see why they would put it in based on me.
Question:: How excited are you to move on to the next level and play at Ohio State?
Greg Oden: I'm pretty excited. I'm ready to get this last year of high school over with so I can go to college and see what's going on. I finally met Davis Lighty last night, so he's a cool guy. I haven't seen him play, because I think he tore his ACL.
Question:: Is it different for you playing in this type of event now that you're not jumping right to the NBA and will be in college first?
Greg Oden: Yeah, it's always different, because the players improve, and I hope I've improved. You just want to come out and play your best and make the all-star team; play in the all-star game.
Question:: Did you get any late phone calls after the NBA rule change from colleges trying to recruit you at the last minute?
Greg Oden: No. Same colleges. The only time I talked to them after that rule was telling them that I was making my decision.
Question:: Do you feel for OJ Mayo and other guys who might be good enough to play in the NBA right away?
Greg Oden: Yeah, because they should have that choice. Something could happen to them in college. If they are the players that I think they are, they will do good in college and be able to leave after their first year.
Question:: How would you compare your Ohio State recruiting class to some of the great recruiting classes of all time?
Greg Oden: I don't think we're there yet. Some of the other guys I feel are really great, who can be up there, but we haven't even finished our last year of high school yet. So we just want to do that, and when we get there, we'll see.
Question:: What put Ohio State over the top for you, helping you pick them?
Greg Oden: The campus, the coaches, the players. The distance. Everything that I liked about other colleges there were one or two things that I didn't like.
Question:: Some college coaches think that some kids who don't want to go to college may go to the D-league for a year, or prep school. Have you heard players talking about that stuff? Do you think some guys would go to the NBDL for a year?
Greg Oden: Some guys just don't like school, or aren't good at school, so they'll probably do what they think is best for them.
Question:: Are players here talking about the rule?
Greg Oden: Not really. I haven't really talked to the players that much. I'm a quiet guy. I go to my room and sleep, back at the hotel, so I don't really hear about it.
Question:: Talk about your development as a player from last year to this year.
Greg Oden: I've been doing a lot of shooting. But I'm still not that confident with my shot, yet.
Question:: Once you're in the NBA, what type of player do you see yourself becoming? A specific player or a few players.
Greg Oden: I love Carlos Boozer's game. I love his game. He gets those dirty points, them offensive rebounds. That's something I want to do. But I also know that I have a lot of people looking at me, and I'm seven feet, and I'm just going to develop my offensive game as much as possible.