<
>

Oden struggles, fouls out in NBA summer league debut

LAS VEGAS -- Greg Oden's foul troubles followed him to the
NBA.

The Portland Trail Blazers center, the first overall pick in
last month's draft, picked up three quick fouls in the opening
three minutes of his professional debut Friday night in the Las
Vegas summer league and fouled out with 10 fouls.

"It's amazing," said Oden smiling. "I usually get thrown out
after five."

League rules allow 10 fouls before disqualification.

"It's a different game [in comparison to college]. They call it
different," Oden said. "There are a lot of things you can't do
with hand movements and hand checks."

Portland trailed by double digits for most of the game as Oden
was a non-factor in a 74-66 loss to the Boston Celtics. He had six
points and two rebounds in 20 minutes.

"I couldn't get into a groove tonight," he said. "There's
always a lot of pressure out there because of who you are."

Oden, who battled foul trouble during his only season at Ohio
State, had four fouls in the first half and was limited to four
points in eight minutes. His woes continued in the third quarter as
he picked up three early fouls, including an offensive one for
pushing off, in the opening 2:59.

The 7-foot, 250-pounder showed his potential late. He drew
sympathy cheers for hitting a jumper with five minutes to play and
followed with a monstrous block, but was hardly the force inside
Portland expects.

"He's been under the weather the last week or so. This is the
summer league and we want guys to come out and play," said
Portland coach Nate McMillan. "There were four or five times when
we couldn't get the ball to him in the post."

LaMarcus Aldridge has 26 points and 11 rebounds for the Blazers.

In addition to Oden, the Blazers' roster for Las Vegas included
familiar faces in Aldridge, guard Sergio Rodriguez and forward
Martell Webster.

The team also features draft picks Josh McRoberts out of Duke
and Taurean Green from Florida, along with Finnish guard Petteri
Koponen.

Oden, Green and McRoberts have signed with the Blazers, while
Koponen signed a waiver to play with the Blazers in the Summer
League.

Oden, despite being hampered by a wrist injury, averaged 15.7
points and 9.6 rebounds leading Ohio State this past season to the
national championship game as a freshman.