Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Update on Ed O'Bannon: The Man of the Year in 1995

Photo credit: New York Daily News/Shimada for News

Former Westwood BMOC Ed O'Bannon has been in the news of late. A number of "Where are they now?" articles have been popping up everywhere but I choose to highlight only two of them, one from the New York Daily News in March and another from the Washington Post in June.

Followed by an article on Eddie O taking the head coaching position at Henderson International School in Henderson, Nevada.

Finally, a video in which former Bruin Kris Johnson talks to Eddie O and Chuckie O for JerseyChaser.com, talking about their Toyota 'connections' and Little Wayne. Looks like the bros are doing quite well.

Specifically, Ed looks really happy now and quite content with how his life has turned out, and I am truly happy for him. Nice to see a great man do well in life.

Recently, Eddie O has also made the news due to the fact that he is sueing the NCAA for using his image in promoting college basketball but not paying him for it. But you could just google about that and read it yourself. But good luck on that, Ed.

OK, so here goes...

Where are they now? Former UCLA star and Nets guard Ed O'Bannon
By Ebenezer Samuel
Saturday, February 14th 2009, 3:29 PM

It happens once or twice a day, guaranteed.

Somebody walks into Findlay Toyota's showroom and sees a somewhat familiar 6-8 figure walking around in a suit. They stare for a while, trying to discern who he is, and he watches.

"After a while I put them out of their misery and tell them who I am. I get recognized quite often," he says. "Then I try to sell them a car."

He is Ed O'Bannon, the one-time would-be Nets savior and former UCLA star. These days, the 36-year-old is a promotions manager for Findlay, a family-owned collection of dealerships in Henderson, Nev.

"It's hard work, but I'm good at that," he said while directing the setup of a parking-lot sale on Thursday. "Life knocked me on my ass, and I picked myself up again." (Continue reading article at nydailynews.com)

From the Court to the Sales Floor
Ed O'Bannon, An Example of When a Promising Career Goes Bust

By Dave Sheinin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, June 14, 2009

HENDERSON, Nev. -- Retiring was the easy part -- because, really, what was it that Ed O'Bannon was walking away from in the summer of 2004? A career? No, basketball had long since ceased being a career, or even a passion, by then. It was at that point just a profession, a paycheck, a mostly joyless succession of one-year contracts with godforsaken European teams. Basketball was a way to stave off the day when he had to go out and get a real job.

So the act of retiring was simple: Go to your hotel in Eugene, Ore., take off your sweats and your sneakers, leave them behind. Don't even shower. Change into street clothes, cab to the airport, call the wife and say, "Baby, I'm coming home." Don't even tell those folks from the tryout for that Chinese basketball league, the ones who didn't even know who you were or what you have done in this game, that you were packing it in. And by all means, don't look back.

But retirement -- the noun, the state of being? That was dark. That didn't go so well.

It was great at first. Who wouldn't want the life of leisure? But there were a lot of hours to kill between the time when he would send his wife Rosa off to her job and haul the kids off to school, and the time when everyone got back home. There were too many afternoon beer-buzzes, too many self-pitying viewings of the 1995 NCAA championship game, when nobody could stop Ed O'Bannon and those UCLA Bruins.

There was an angry admonishment from Rosa -- "Get a job . . . or else" -- and there was a business card with a name and a phone number on it, jammed in his hand weeks earlier and sitting out now on top of the dresser, in plain view, as if O'Bannon knew someday he'd have to call the number.

He called the number.

He interviewed the next day, got hired right away, and started work the day after that.

And that, in a nutshell, is how Ed O'Bannon, once the greatest college basketball player on the planet, the Wooden Award winner as the best men's college basketball player in the country, a lottery pick by the New Jersey Nets, wound up here, in the middle of the desert, selling cars on commission for a living and still trying, at age 36, to reconcile this part of his life with the last part. (Continue reading article at www.washingtonpost.com)

UCLA great to coach local high school basketball team
Ed O’Bannon takes over program at Henderson private school

By Rob Miech (contact)
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 | 2:05 a.m.

A passing comment from former Durango High coach Al LaRoque in the Findlay Toyota sales lot three weeks ago mushroomed into Ed O’Bannon’s next basketball chapter.

The man who led UCLA to an NCAA national championship in 1995 officially takes over today as the coach of the Henderson International School boys’ team.

“I’ll get a chance to go in and learn from them, and they’ll get to learn from me,” O’Bannon said. “I’m pretty excited about it. I don’t have a whole lot of experience, but I’m fired up.

“Hopefully, I’ll make a difference in some of these kids’ lives, teach them the game of basketball and really be involved in the game again.”(Continue reading article at lasvegassun.com).

Finally, Kris Johnson checks in with the O'Bannon brothers for Jersey Chaser(dot)com:

Monday, July 27, 2009

Congratulations, Jordan and Trevor!!!

Congratulations to UCLA alums Jordan Farmar and Trevor Ariza for becoming the 2009 NBA Champs with the Los Angeles Lakers!!! Of course, there will be talk of whether they could have done it without Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Derek Fisher, Lamar Odom, Phil Jackson and the rest of the Laker Crew.

OK, trivia time!!! There are 4 individuals in the pic above that are testaments to UCLA's basketball power. Can you spot all 4?

Congratulations, Jrue and Darren!!!

Big ups to Jrue Holiday for being selected Number 17 in the 2009 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers:

and to Darren Collison for being selected Number 21 by the New Orleans Hornets:

Ben Howland on Collison and Holiday
By UCLA Press Release, Special to BruinBlitz.com and Yahoo!Sports
Jun 26, 10:07 am EDT

UCLA head coach Ben Howland held a teleconference to discuss yesterday’s draft and the status of his two starting guards from year ago, Darren Collison and Jrue Holiday.

on how high/low in the draft Holiday would be selected

Howland: “Seventeen is not a bad place to be. There are a lot of things that have to take place. Every team is looking for different things. He had been projected to be as high as eight down to about 15. Philadelphia is a great franchise. Ed Stefanski, the team’s general manager, is really good. Eddie Jordan is a great coach, so Jrue is in a great situation in a nice town with good history for basketball. Andre Miller is an unrestricted free agent, so he may or may not be back. I think that he [Jrue] could be in a situation where he could play a lot.

on Jrue Holiday’s draft selection

Howland: “The difference between 14 and 17 is probably negligible. The great thing for Jrue is that he’s with a great franchise. He’s in a great situation. They’ve got a pretty good team. They had good pieces, and they’ve got good young talent. For a point guard to have a lot of talent, that’s a dream situation.”

on how high/low in the draft Collison would be selected

Howland: “He never really knew where he was going to go. New Orleans showed great interest in him. No one in his family is surprised. Byron Scott called them multiple times today. They wanted to have a guy to come in there – they only have one point guard, obviously he is a great player, maybe the best point guard in the league. Darren is going to be in a great situation in the league, playing for an outstanding coach in Byron Scott and playing behind maybe the best point guard in the NBA. I’m really happy for both these kids and just real excited for them. It’s a great situation for Darren.

on amount of playing time next season

Howland: “They are counting on him. That 82-game schedule – 48 minutes a night – I think Darren is going to end up playing a fair amount of minutes each night. They can play them [Darren Collison and Chris Paul] together . Darren is going to have a long NBA career. He’s playing for a great coach. Byron Scott has been the NBA Coach of the Year at least once, maybe twice. He understands the game. It’s a good system to be in. They’ve got great players around him – guys like [Peja] Stojakovic and [David] West. Obviously their starting point guard is a great, great player.”

And best of luck to President Alfred Aboya and Josh Shipp as they explore pro basketball opportunities here and abroad!