The Sideline Report with Toben Opurum

Let’s get right to this week’s sideline report with freshman running back Toben Opurum.

Notice in his interiew below, his initials are “T.O.” I’m just wondering how long it will take until all KU fans call him by that nickname …

The Sideline Report with Toben Opurum

Jesse Newell: Why the mohawk? [Ed. note — He has one now. I promise.]

Toben Opurum: I just wanted to do something different in high school. It started out as just something out of boredom, but I just liked the way it looked. It keeps it different. It’s cool.

JN: Do your teammates like it or not?

TO: Nobody really comments on it (laughs). I mean, I don’t tell anybody else I like their hair (laughs). It’s just really nice to have something different than everyone else.

JN: Are you a better rapper or a better singer?

TO: I’m just OK at both. I enjoy listening to music more so than anything.

JN: So neither one’s better?

TO: No, they’re about the same.

JN: I read in a Jayhawk Slant story that you worked at a place called Amazing Jake’s. Tell me about that experience.

TO: Basically, it’s kind of a mixture of a Chuck E. Cheese and Main Event type of arcade place.

It had all types of different things there. It had its ups and downs, but dealing with kids sometimes can get tiring.

JN: What’s the worst experience you had with either kids or parents at that place?

TO: All the time we get kids that want to get mad at us for not letting them on rides because they’re too short. We have signs that you have to be taller than … just having to deal with that all the time.

JN: So you’re a little kid heartbreaker is what you are. You make them have to be this tall to ride the ride?

TO: Not on purpose (laughs).

JN: What’s an embarrassing TV show that you watch?

TO: That’s the weird thing. I actually don’t watch that much TV. Since I’ve gotten here, I haven’t watched TV, unless I was watching a football game.

JN: That’s it?

TO: Yeah.

JN: So you have a lot of time on your hands then, right?

TO: Usually my free time is spent on my laptop or on my Xbox. Watching TV I haven’t done too much of.

JN: What’s your favorite Web site?

TO: I’m just always searching up new music, just searching the web for random facts and stuff.

JN: What’s the last book you read?

TO: See that’s the thing. A lot of books I read online (laughs). I couldn’t even say. I just like reading different articles, things like that. Novels and books, I’m not really into.

JN: Favorite Disney character.

TO: Don’t like Disney (laughs).

JN: Didn’t watch any of them growing up?

TO: I was more of a South Park type of a guy (laughs). I wasn’t really into Disney and everything.

JN: All right. Favorite South Park character.

TO: Cartman.

JN: Why’s that?

TO: He’s hilarious. He’s the center of attention on the show all the time.

JN: Do you think you’re like him or not?

TO: No, not at all (laughs). He’s just funny to watch.

JN: Who are you most like on South Park?

TO: I don’t think anybody in the world is like anybody on South Park.

JN: That’s probably a good thing, then.

TO: Definitely.

JN: Tell me about the first KU game you saw.

TO: I can’t remember what it was, but the one that sticks out to me the most, though, is the game against Missouri last year.

That’s the one I really sat down and got a chance to watch from beginning to end. It was definitely a good experience. A little while after, I committed to the program, so it was a chance to see the people that I would be playing with in the future, and I was definitely impressed they pulled it out in the end. It was an exciting game to watch for anybody.

JN: Where’d you watch it?

TO: I watched it at one of my friend’s houses. He’s actually a big Notre Dame fan. At the same time he’s seeing them do well, he’s trying to talk to me about Notre Dame. It was definitely a feeling of excitement. I was rooting for all of them, and it was fun to watch.

JN: When you watched Todd Reesing on that final throw, did you think he was in trouble?

TO: Nah. Reesing, he’s not going down in that situation. He knows where he’s at all the time, and he’s a playmaker. That’s what playmakers do.

JN: What was your first impression of coach Mangino?

TO: The first time I actually got to talk to him in person was on my visit up here. The thing I liked about him was that he was real honest with me. He didn’t try to just tell me things to keep me around or anything. He just kept it real honest. That’s the thing I like most about him.

JN: Were there other coaches that weren’t as honest with you that you thought maybe were just giving you things that you wanted to hear?

TO: I think there’s a bit of that in recruiting, people telling you what you want to hear. But here, my expectations were realistic. He just kept things honest with me.

JN: Ever cried at a movie?

TO: No. Never.

JN: Ever come close?

TO: Never.

JN: Nothing huh?

TO: No.

JN: Titanic. That doesn’t make you cry?

TO: (laughs) Not at all.

JN: If you could have a superhuman power, what would it be?

TO: (pause) Flying. Flying definitely.


JN: Why’s that?

TO: It’s a good way to just get away from everything else on the earth and get places on time (laughs). A lot of people have issues with that. That or telepathy.

JN: Oh, telepathy. Tell me why you want that.

TO: That’s mind control. You’d be able to move things with your mind. I like X-Men characters, so I just think of all the different things that they can do with their powers and stuff.

JN: Would it be nice to move the linebackers out of the way when you’re running toward the secondary?

TO: See, that’d be simple. With telepathy, you wouldn’t even have to worry about it (laughs).

JN: We wouldn’t know why you were so good, but that would be why, right?

TO: Exactly. But it’s just fun to think about different things like that, supernatural things.

JN: Give me an athlete that you admire.

TO: I admire Kobe Bryant. His passion for the game is the passion that I have for my game. He loves the sport, and he makes it a bigger part of his life than most people do. I definitely admire that. He’s a great athlete. Everybody knows that they won a championship last year on his back. Everyone knows how good of an athlete Kobe Bryant is, so that’s definitely who I admire.

JN: What’s your favorite Kobe Bryant moment?

TO: There’s really too many. He’s crossed so many people over, dunked on multiple people. It’s really hard to just sit down and pick one.

JN: What’s something that would stand out if I walked into your room?

TO: I keep my room pretty simple. There’s nothing crazy on the walls. It’s kind of just my Xbox there and my laptop here and that’s it.

JN: Nothing too crazy then?

TO: No, not at all.