March 8, 2023, on

Greg Oden is early. Earlier than most of the players he’s about to coach. He steps out of his Denali on this bright, windy February morning in Indianapolis and lumbers into Hinkle Fieldhouse.

Shootaround at Butler University’s historic basketball arena doesn’t start for another 45 minutes, but Oden isn’t wasting a second. He takes a seat at the edge of the scorer’s table and studies the practice plan, jotting down notes. Soon, players file in, and Oden breaks out into a giant, jubilant smile, almost humming with excitement, as if the game in five hours is nearing tipoff.

He slips a tiny red mesh jersey over his gray hoodie, which looks like a baby’s bib on his 7-foot frame, barely covering the top of his chest. But he isn’t the least bit bothered; he’s in his element. He joins the scout team on the court, whispering bits of advice to players between sets. He throws down a dunk, soft and clean, offering up a glorious glimmer of the player everyone in this gym, in this city, remembers him to be. (READ FULL STORY HERE).