Oden struggles, fouls out in NBA summer league debut

Updated: July 7, 2007, 2:18 AM ET
Associated Press

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.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

ALSO SEE