Thursday, April 9, 2009

To Whom It May Com. Stern

It goes without saying that I have had one of the most storied Ohio State basketball careers of all-time, but I’ll say it anyway—I have had one of the most storied Ohio State basketball careers of all-time. I was an integral part of a national runner-up team, which was also the team that set the record for the most wins in a season in school history. I was a slightly less integral part of a National (invitational tournament) Championship team. I was pretty much a non-factor for a team that bowed out of the first round of the NCAA Tournament. See a pattern? The more I play, the more we win. But enough about my accomplishments within a team setting. Let’s take a look at what I’ve individually been able to achieve with nothing more than a little (figurative) elbow grease and a complete understanding of the American Dream.

I joined the basketball team at Ohio State in 2006, basically because I had nothing better to do with my time. When I initially met with Coach Matta to discuss walking on the team, I spoke with an accent and convinced him that I was the best player to come out of Denmark in the past twenty years. Luckily for me, he didn’t realize that being the best player out of Denmark is about as prestigious as being the best looking cheerleader out of Michigan.

I rode this wave of deception all the way to leading the Big Ten in points per shot at 2.5 (Every time I shot the ball—every single time it left my hands and went toward the basket, on average, our team gained two and a half points. Think about that for a second. Now pick your jaw off the ground and continue reading). I continued this dominance through the Big Ten Tournament championship game, where I recorded one steal in one minute of play. By the time the NCAA Tournament rolled around, there seemed to be quite the buzz amongst scouts about my abilities to both throw a perfect chest pass and belch the ABC’s in one breath. Despite the riches that were quite literally dangled in front of my face, I opted to return to school so I could continue to hit on that one tOSU cheerleader that I thought was winking at me the entire season. As it turns out, she apparently just had involuntary spasms in her cheek, but I don’t like that story so I’m sticking with my theory. Nonetheless, I chose to renew my front row season tickets to Ohio State basketball games for the same small fee of getting generally disrespected in practice everyday.

As my sophomore season approached, there was a weird feeling around the locker room. Maybe it was because The Villain found it necessary to awkwardly stare at me in the shower, but more likely it was probably because my two long-time friends Greg Oden and Michael Conley somewhat selfishly chose to go to the NBA and left me all alone in the minors. After the initial shock wore off, I went on to lead the country in both 3 point field goal percentage and overall field goal percentage (minimum of one shot attempt), not to mention my points per shot ratio of 3.0. Feel free to drop that little piece of trivia in a bar and score a free drink from it.

Still, the NBA just didn’t feel right. Despite my achieving individual prominence, our team didn’t make the tournament and a handful of scouts expressed concern about my ability to lead a team. That’s when I got the idea for the blog.

Heading into this past year, it dawned on me that if my basketball playing abilities weren’t up to snuff, the only only other way to get picked up by an NBA team was to do something off the court that could translate into ticket sales in the big leagues. The blog suddenly became my ticket to the big time. If I could write about the shenanigans that goes along with playing basketball, maybe, just maybe, I could build a fan base that would be willing to buy tickets to watch me do my thing in the NBA. Pretty solid idea, right? You can bet your balls it is.

When the internet and I got together and conceived this blog, I was one of the proudest fathers in the world. Like any mildly abusive father, I pushed my child to the limit and when he thought he was doing the best he could, I spit on him and told him to take out the garbage because there are no participation trophies in the real world. Ultimately, my Jake Shuttlesworth approach to fathering turned out to be effective and my blog became more successful than it originally looked like it was going to be. I now have garnered a cult following, known globally as the Trillion Man March, that seems strong enough to follow me to the NBA and help spike season ticket sales for whatever lucky franchise chooses to draft me. Mission accomplished.

In case you can’t follow where I’m going with this particular post, I will make it clear with the next sentence I write. I am choosing to forgo my senior season of college basketball and enter my name, my blog, and my endless amount of marketability into the 2009 NBA draft. I will, however, not hire an agent, leaving the door open for a possible return to the college basketball scene. It really wasn’t all that tough of a decision for me, considering what I have accomplished on the college level. I’ve experienced both the NCAA Tournament and the NIT all the way through, I’ve led the country in statistical categories, and I’ve established myself as the best walk-on blogger to come out of Ohio State in the past two years. The timing just feels right.

I thought about calling a press conference to announce this decision, but I wanted the Trillion Man March to be the first to know. Besides, calling a press conference to declare for the draft is really no different than Michael Scott’s approach to declaring bankruptcy. It makes no difference if you say you’re going to the NBA, because a letter must still be written to the NBA explaining the decision. Here’s what my version of that letter looks like. I plan on sending this to the NBA sometime either Friday morning or afternoon. Enjoy.

To Whom It May Com. Stern,

I would like to forgo my senior season of eligibility and enter my name into the 2009 NBA draft. I would also like to forgo my final year of wearing sweatshirts with my hood up in all my classes, my final year of going to karaoke night at that one bar on campus, my final year of scrambling to find a parking spot at 10:27 because my class starts in 3 minutes, and most importantly, my final year of not making a single dime from my blog.

I’m not sure if it’s customary to write a second paragraph, but then again I’m pretty sure that every other early entrant doesn’t already have a marketing strategy in place for themselves. I’m thinking that we play on my nickname of “The Shark” from the get-go and blare the Jaws theme music as I make my way from the audience to the podium to shake your hand on draft day. From there we can launch a series of commercials where I sneak up on other NBA players and tackle them as a graphic comes up on the screen saying “The Shark smells blood in the NBA water. Or maybe he just smells fear” or something similar. The possibilities truly are endless.

Furthermore, I want to go on record as saying that I vow to never carry a firearm into a night club, and if I do, you can rest assured that the safety lock will most certainly be on. I am also volunteering myself to do every “NBA Cares” commercial, because let’s face it, the guys who do those commercials could really care less if inner city kids can read “Go, Dog. Go!” (By the way, don’t you think P.D. Eastman went a little bit overboard with the punctuation in that title? There are only three words in the title and he’s got three punctuation marks. As a general rule of thumb, you should strive to have a punctuation marks to number of words ratio for your title be less than one. I would know. I’m a writer.) Also, when I’m prompted to donate a dollar at the Wal-Mart checkout line to help combat whatever disease they are trying to fight that particular week, I always do so out of the kindness of my heart and not because I feel obligated to, like about 95% of America consistently does.

Before I go, I was wondering if you could clear the air on a few questions, so that I could get to know you better. Did you really rig the lottery in 1985 so the Knicks could land Ewing? Was Jordan’s first retirement really a suspension for gambling? Who are you cheering for on American Idol now that the blind guy is out? America needs to know these things, Dave.

Your Friend and My Favorite,

Mark “The Shark” Titus #34

P.S.- If I get drafted by a team that has #34 retired or someone already wearing it, you should let my be the first player to have a three digit jersey number. I’m thinking I’ll be number 114, so the back of my jersey will read “Titus 114”, which is a Bible verse that says, “Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.” What’s that? You’re Jewish? Yeah, we can scrap that idea then I guess.

Hopefully you all understand why I am leaving and know that I have no hard feelings toward Ohio State. I love tOSU, but my future is calling me and I don’t have voicemail so I kind of have to take the call. There will be virtually no difference in my blogging, seeing as how I’ll do most of the same things at the NBA level, so there’s no need to worry about the future of the blog. I just feel like it’s time to roll the dice and see if any teams out there are interested in a 6’4”, 210 pound blogger who, oh by the way, happens to have a lethal J and is always willing to slide over and take the charge.

As I pursue a career in the NBA, I will continue to blog about the next steps of getting drafted. I’ll fill the Trillion Man March in on how my workouts with some of the NBA teams are going, where I’m projected to be drafted, and how people come out of the woodwork when I’m suddenly about to get paid the big bucks. It should be a fun ride and I’m looking forward to sharing my experiences with the March.

Finally, I want to make it known that if there’s not a little blurb about me declaring for the draft on the ESPN bottom line thing like there is for every other early entrant, I will be none too pleased. For some reason, I have a sick feeling that they will leave me off because I’m a blogger more so than a basketball player. Well I have news for you ESPN. That’s flat out racism against bloggers all over the globe. Put me on the bottom line or prepare to have a blogger mutiny on your hands. The choice is yours. Something like “The Shark tests the waters” should do the trick.

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Even though I’m going to the league and obviously won’t be a student at tOSU anymore, I wanted to voice my opinion on the upcoming USG election at Ohio State. I admittedly have no idea what USG stands for and quite honestly, I don’t really care. What I do care about, though, is that all of you tOSU students reading this let your voice be heard and vote for Doug Hochberg and Anthony Marcum for President and Vice President, respectively. I’m not one to get too wrapped up in politics, but when these two promised me the position of “Official Journey Historian” on their honorary cabinet (should they win the election), I saw an opportunity I really couldn’t pass up. This could be a big résumé builder for me if, by some unforeseen circumstances, my NBA career does not pan out.

Most of you aren’t tOSU students, so you can disregard what I’m saying (in fact, I recommend that everyone consistently disregard about 90% of what I say). For the rest of you, I know that you have little to no interest in this election and are probably planning on voting for whoever gives you the most free stuff on the Oval. Well, change that mindset and put a tally down for the people who are actually going to make a difference. Vote for Doug and Anthony and I promise to be the best Journey historian alive. Fact: Journey was originally named the Golden Gate Rhythm Section. Just a snippet of what I can provide as part of the honorary cabinet.

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I was making a serious run at having the longest streak in the Trillion Man March group on Streak for the Cash, as I jumped out of the gate with a career high streak of four wins. Then the Hornets decided to choke against the Warriors and my impressive streak crumbled. Anyway, I’m doing much better streaking this time around and want to make it perfectly clear that if I’m ever leading the group, I will post a new entry immediately so that I can give myself a shout-out. Again, in case you are yet to join our Streak group, you can click here and make it happen.

Streak for the Cash Group Leaders: C. Holzmiller and T. Ieronimo, whose user name is “B.J. Mullens Blazin Wing.” Good work, Ieronimo. (streak of 10 wins)

Streak for the Cash Group Loser: M. Gelhoren (streak of 11 losses)

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Your awesome YouTube was sent in to me by one of the Ohio State basketball managers, Dakota Van Horn, who I call Filburt because he looks exactly like the character from Rocko’s Modern Life. There's your shout-out, Filburt. And here's your video.




Your Friend and My Favorite,

Mark Titus

Club Trillion Founder