After talking with Ohio State men's baskteball coach Thad Matta, Antonio Gonzalez of the AP speculates that Greg Oden may be getting ready for another NBA comeback.
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."
The Portland Trail Blazers drafted first overall in the 2007 NBA Draft, famously passing over Kevin Durant to get at the 7'0" center. Oden would sit out the 2007-08 season with injuries and play a total of 82 games for Portland in the first 5 years of his NBA career before he and the Blazers parted ways in 2012. Oden averaged 9.4 points and 7.3 rebounds in 22 minutes per game for the Blazers. He played with the Miami Heat during the 2013-14 season, appearing in 23 games, averaging 2.9 points and 2.3 rebounds in 9.2 minutes.
At 27 years of age and with relatively few NBA miles on him, Oden would presumably have the physical potential for a comeback. Off-court issues and motivation conspired against him even when he was healthy. Matta addresses these issues as well:
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."