Archive for Saturday, January 4, 1992

TEXAN OSTERTAG HEADS HOME

January 4, 1992

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— Pressing is something you do to dress shirts, not something you do when you're trying to impress.

Or so intimates Greg Ostertag, the Kansas basketball freshman who'll be playing in front of family and friends when the Jayhawks tangle with Southern Methodist here tonight.

"I think I'll be more excited," the 7-2 freshman said. "But I'm just gonna play like I know how."

When Ostertag talked to his mother at mid-week, she told him she'd made a list of 33 relatives and friends who planned to attend. And that doesn't include members of the suburban Duncanville High basketball team who'll also be on hand.

Ostertag averaged 24 points and 13 rebounds a game in leading Duncanville to a 37-2 record and the Texas state 5A championship last spring.

ON THE ROAD to the state title, Ostertag played in Moody Coliseum against Plano High which featured Jimmy King, a KU recruit who eventually signed with Michigan. Duncanville won by 21 points.

Ostertag and 6-3 forward Marvin Bell each scored 23 points against Plano. Bell now attends Centenary in Shreveport, La.

"I did most of the dunking on the team," Ostertag said, smiling, "but Marvin did the fancy dunks."

Ostertag also launched a couple of three-pointers as a prep one of them in a playoff game two years ago in Moody Coliseum.

"We were three points behind and I shot a three to try to tie it," he explained. "It hit off the back of the rim."

Ostertag's first and perhaps last college three-point attempt occurred against Southern Mississippi last weekend at the BMA Classic. It, too, bounced off the rim.

No danger exists, Ostertag said, that he'll attempt his second career three-pointer in Moody Coliseum. KU coach Roy Williams has made sure of that.

"I WON'T be tempted," Ostertag confirmed. "As soon as I shot that one last week I got the message. If looks could kill, I'd be dead on the floor."

Ostertag has been alive on the floor for about nine minutes a game during his first college season. He's been a useful reserve who has benefited from Williams' shuttle diplomacy.

Ostertag, the Class 5A player of the year as chosen by Texas sportswriters, narrowed his college choices to Kansas and Syracuse.

"At the beginning of the summer before last I really, really wanted to go to Syracuse," he said. "But as the summer went on I kinda leaned toward Kansas. I don't know why. I came for a visit and really liked it."

Geography, he conceded, had something to do with it.

"Kansas is as far away from home as I wanted to go," Ostertag said. "Syracuse was just too far."

SMU WOULD, of course, have been really, really close, but he never even considered the Mustangs who haven't had a winning season since 1987-88.

"To tell the truth, I never did," Ostertag said. "In fifth grade I went to an SMU camp when Dave Bliss was the coach. When I was in the fifth grade, that's where I wanted to go."

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