Greg Oden was arrested early Thursday morning in Lawrence, Ind., and faces a preliminary charge of battery after allegedly punching a woman, whom Oden reportedly identified as his ex-girlfriend.
Lawrence police were called to a home belonging to Oden's mother at about 3:30 a.m. ET Thursday, and arrived "to find the victim crying and lying across a bed holding her face," according to Bill McCleery and Matthew Glenesk of the Indianapolis Star:
A woman described as the victim's best friend first told officers what happened, police said.
"He punched her in the face," the witness said, according to the report. [...]
Police "observed blood, swelling to the nose, lacerations to the forehead and nose area of the victim's face," according to the report. They also "observed blood on the sofa and floor in the sitting area. [They] observed [blood] on the living room carpet [and] dirt from a flower pot that was knocked over." [...]
Oden, whom police described as "calm, apologetic and cooperative" when they spoke with him, told officers that he and the victim had broken up nearly two months ago after dating for about two years. One of Oden's relatives told police that an argument between the two woke her up, according to Indianapolis FOX affiliate WXIN-TV: "The relative told police, 'Every time the two visit and go out, there is an argument to follow.'"
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“Things got out of control and I started to go after the victim,” police quoted Oden in the report. He said the relative and witness tried to hold him back, but he swung his arms trying to break free and punched the victim.
“I was wrong and I know what has to happen,” Oden told officers.
Oden, 26, played his high school ball at Lawrence North, becoming one of the country's most highly sought-after prep prospects while winning three state championships and recognition as Indiana's Mr. Basketball in 2006. The 7-foot phenom led Ohio State to a national championship game loss in his lone collegiate season, and the Portland Trail Blazers selected him over Texas star Kevin Durant to be their center of the future with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 NBA draft.
Knee injuries derailed his once-promising career, limiting him to only 82 total games over five years in Portland; he also struggled with alcohol during his time on the shelf. After years of rehabilitation work, Oden's long-rumored comeback actually came last season when he joined the Miami Heat, and while he didn't make a massive on-court impact — he played just 219 combined regular- and postseason minutes for the eventual runners-up, averaging 2.6 points and 2.1 rebounds in 8.4 minutes per game — it did many NBA watchers' hearts good to see the star-crossed big man actually stay on the court and occasionally look like the fire of old. This, obviously, stirs very different feelings.
Oden, who signed a one-year deal with Miami last summer, is now an unrestricted free agent. Recent reports indicated that the Los Angeles Clippers might have interest in working out Oden as a potential spot-minutes backup center; it remains to be seen whether this changes things.
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