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Archive for Saturday, June 23, 2007

Oden skips workout with Sonics

June 23, 2007

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— Greg Oden didn't work out while meeting with the SuperSonics, on the advice of his agent. That gave the prized center from Ohio State more time on his first trip to Seattle to assess what he has learned during his pre-draft tour of the Northwest.

¢ The relative anonymity of walking around Seattle instead of smaller Portland was refreshing. Although the 7-footer is about to become a millionaire from the NBA draft, he was able to go to the movies Thursday night and have only one person stop him to pose for a picture.

¢ He doesn't mind being considered a franchise savior before he has even played his first NBA game. "I'm OK with it," he said Friday, smiling. "I don't know if it's going to happen."

¢ Seattle's hilly streets would be great for skateboarding.

¢ And having his mom, Zoe, a rehabilitation technician at a hospital in their hometown of Indianapolis, along is keeping the 19-year-old All-American grounded.

"My mom, she's trying to brush my hair everywhere I go, telling me 'Take that off. You can't wear that,"' the personable Oden said, after a morning with executives and doctors from the SuperSonics, who own the second overall pick in Thursday's draft.

His quick trip through Seattle was a contrast to his ballyhooed visit to Portland.

The Blazers, owners of the top pick Thursday, sent players to the airport to meet Oden and encouraged the media to be there, too. Then they put him through an open workout Wednesday that was so vigorous, Oden said he was out of breath.

The low-key Seattle trip was essentially a fallback visit, in case the Blazers surprise many people and take Kevin Durant first overall. Durant, who is due to visit Sonics executives on Sunday, was in Portland on Friday and impressed Blazers general manager Kevin Pritchard, who said, "That was as impressive a workout as any I've seen in here."

Oden met with Sonics owner Clay Bennett, new general manager Sam Presti and new assistant GM Scott Perry. Presti and Perry later climbed into the back of a white Lincoln Krystal stretch limousine with Oden and his mom, apparently on their way to lunch.

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