Greg Oden is playing basketball again, and now he's facing Jimmer Fredette in The Basketball Tournament

Greg Oden vs. Jimmer Fredette will be quite nostalgic for some college basketball fans. (AP Photos)
Greg Oden vs. Jimmer Fredette will be quite nostalgic for some college basketball fans. (AP Photos)

The pro careers of Greg Oden and Jimmer Fredette didn’t work out for very different reasons, but both were disappointing given college careers that were successful also for very different reasons.

Oden in particularly remains one of the NBA’s sadder stories in the long history of draft busts. One of the most talented big men college basketball has ever seen, the seven-footer carried Ohio State to the NCAA Tournament final as a freshman and was hyped as a generational NBA prospect, even more so than a young Kevin Durant.

That hype did not work out. Instead, injury after injury swallowed Oden’s career and saw him appear in just 105 career games. He eventually retired from the NBA in 2016.

However, Oden’s basketball career isn’t over.

Greg Oden makes TBT debut with the Scarlet & Gray

The now-30-year-old made his debut playing for the top-seeded Scarlet & Gray in The Basketball Tournament on Friday, posting 11 points and five rebounds in just 16 minutes of action. With his first basket, Oden showed his post moves were still there.

Playing on a team composed of other Ohio State alumni, including Jared Sullinger and Aaron Craft, Oden seemed to be having the time of his life after his successful return to the court.

Greg Oden vs. Jimmer Fredette

Oden’s next challenge will be a game that any college basketball fan should have circled on their calendar. Team Fredette, led by the former unanimous national player of the year, awaits in the Tournament’s Super 16.

Fredette’s NBA career never took off like some fans imagined; the NBA was much better equipped than college teams to handle Fredette, a pure scorer with a shot selection that would make Steph Curry blush. The BYU great averaged just 6.0 points in his NBA career and, five years after being drafted 10th overall by the Kings in the 2011 NBA draft, he had landed with the Shanghai Sharks of the Chinese Basketball Association.

Fredette found his old scoring success in China, averaging a hair below 37 points per game, but now he’s back playing in the U.S. and seeking the Tournament’s $2 million prize on a team also featuring his old BYU co-star Brandon Davies.

The Scarlet & Gray figure to enter Sunday as the favorite as the bracket’s No. 1 seed, but who knows what could happen in a game featuring two of college basketball’s most disruptive players in recent history.

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