'Greg Oden Day' Surprises Player

Greg Oden was taken aback for the second time in two days Thursday.
At a school assembly where the Lawrence North High School junior was presented the award as Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year, Oden was surprised by a proclamation from Mayor Bart Peterson declaring it "Greg Oden Day" in Indianapolis.
The announcement by Kelly Wood of the mayor's office brought a rousing cheer and chants of "Oden, Oden, Oden" from the crowd of Lawrence North students.
When the assembly ended, students were being directed back to class. Oden drew huge laughs when he gestured toward the exit and mouthed that it was time to "go home."
Oden learned of the national award at a surprise dinner Wednesday night. After the formal ceremony Thursday, the 7-foot center -- who averaged 20 points, 9.6 rebounds and 3.7 blocks in leading the Wildcats to a second consecutive Class 4A state championship -- spoke of his goals for next season.
"I just want to work to reach my potential," Oden said.
When someone suggested he could average 30 points next year, he said, "I'm going to try." He then quickly added, "If the team needs me to do that, I will try."
Projected as the No. 1 pick in the 2006 NBA draft if he skips college, Oden repeated what he has said all along.
"I want to go to college," he said. "(The NBA) will be there when the time comes," nodding in agreement that "the time" would be not the year following his senior year in high school.
Earlier Thursday, in an interview on ESPN2's "Cold Pizza" show, Oden raised hopes of Indiana University fans by acknowledging he could be interested in playing for the Hoosiers. But coach Jack Keefer said not to make too much of the comment, and noted that Oden met with coaches from Ohio State later in the day. Oden is talking regularly to various college coaches.
Lawrence North will face Illinois champion Glenbrook North (32-2) in next season's McDonald's Showdown at Evanston, Ill., event officials announced. The game will be Feb. 11 at Northwestern University.