FINAL FOUR NOTEBOOK: Oden no fan of Noah's theatrics
Published: Sunday, April 1, 2007 at 7:03 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, April 1, 2007 at 7:03 p.m.
ATLANTA — Nanny, nanny, boo, boo ...
Yeah, well my dad can beat up your dad!
Apparently, it's likely Greg Oden's mom, Zoe, isn't a big fan of Joakim Noah.
Speaking to the media Sunday afternoon at the Georgia Dome, Ohio State's stoic freshman center took a jab at Florida's energetic power forward.
"I think my mom wouldn't like me acting like that," Oden said. "She taught me better."
When he heard of the remarks, Noah shrugged them off.
"We're different people," said Noah, perhaps known as much for his chest-thumping enthusiasm as his second-team AP All-American game. "My mom doesn't care. I think my mom's proud of me on the court."
The new Walton?
After saying he didn't want to compare himself to one of the all-time great college basketball players on the court, Noah said he does see some similarities off the court in he and former UCLA center Bill Walton, the 1972 and '73 NCAA tournament Most Outstanding Player.
"I respect people who aren't afraid of speaking their mind," said Noah, the 2006 MOP.
In their college days, each talked openly about their disdain for the wars of their era, while still expressing their love for their country.
Noah has also said it was "weird" being near President George W. Bush when the Gators visited the White House after winning last year's NCAA championship, but added he didn't want to be a distraction.
"I don't really agree with his views, but I don't want to bring negative publicity to this team," Noah said.
Florida junior power forward Al Horford had some advice for Texas freshman forward Kevin Durant, the AP and Naismith player of the year.
"(He should) go with what he feels is right," Horford said. "I've seen him play (laughing). Man, he's good."
Likewise, Corey Brewer had some thoughts on Oden's upcoming decision.
"Just have fun with your teammates and just be a kid," Brewer said. "Once you leave college, you're not a kid any more. You're going into a big business and it's all business. You're having fun right now, so enjoy your time in college."
Noah added: "Just follow your heart. (Do) whatever makes you happy."
Oden has been noncommittal about his future plans, but did express admiration for the three Gators' decision to return.
"Just knowing you've got guys willing to stay for education and love instead of getting the quick bucks says something," Oden said.
When asked if there was any chance he, Noah and Horford might come back as seniors, Brewer chuckled before saying "You never know. Check back at the end of the season."
Oden, Durant and Horford are projected as top-5 picks on many mock drafts, while Noah could go top 10 and Brewer top 15.
Oden has fouled out just once in 31 games this season, against Xavier in the second round of the NCAA tournament. But throughout March Madness, foul trouble has plagued him, perhaps most evidenced by the two fouls in less than three minutes he collected against Georgetown in Saturday's national semifinal.
"I have no idea why they officiated (the tournament) harder," Oden said. "It just seems to me that they call more ticky-tack fouls than they did in the regular season, especially the Big 10 season."
"I do, but it's good to just watch." — Oden talking about how much he enjoys that his 600-student Biology 101 class has 400 girls, despite his having a girlfriend.
"It would be a lot of fun. It would be competitive. I'm not saying we'd win, but we'd be competitive." — Brewer on whether UF could beat a lower-level NBA team.
"I don't know. It's two different levels. I'd say probably none." — OSU guard Ron Lewis on whether the Buckeyes or Gators could beat a lower-level NBA team.
"He moves really well for a guy his size. I was impressed by that." — Horford on what surprised him about Oden after the two teams met Dec. 23.
While both were in their hometown of Indianapolis last year for the Final Four, neither Oden nor point guard Mike Conley was in attendance for UF's title win. Conley said he was at a sports bar, while Oden said he was accepting his Gatorade high school player of the year award. ... Florida is the only team this decade to reach the NCAA title game more than once. Monday night's game will be the school's third (2000, 2006). ... The Gators' starting five has logged 1,950 career NCAA minutes. The Buckeyes' starters have combined for 750. ... Florida spent the most weeks this season atop the AP poll with eight. Ohio State, the current top-ranked team, and UCLA each spent five weeks at No. 1.
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