Matta’s No. 2 ranked class in 2006 included Indianapolis natives Greg Oden and Mike Conley, while his highly touted 2010 class will include five-star forward and Fort Wayne native DeShaun Thomas.
But this year’s Ohio State squad (18-6), currently ranked No. 13 in the country, has just a single Indiana native. And while this particular player has earned just 47 minutes in four years, he might be the most well-known Buckeye of them all.
Senior Mark Titus grew up in Brownsburg, Ind., a small town northwest of Indianapolis, but he has quickly emerged as a celebrity at Ohio State and all across the college basketball world.
What makes Titus unique, however, is what he does off the court.
“I’m a benchwarmer on the Ohio State basketball team that has a blog that’s more successful than it ever should have been,” Titus said. “There’s nothing all that special about me, other than the fact that I have inside access to a high-caliber college basketball team, and I write about my experiences.”
Titus’ blog is called Club Trillion, an ode to a frequent walk-on statline consisting solely of one minute of playing time. That is, a one followed by a number of zeroes, and hence the “trillion.”
The 6-foot-4 guard developed the idea to blog about his experiences during his sophomore year.
Titus said he “didn’t even know what a blog” was then, but after doing some research and getting it started, it took off.
“When I reached 500 total hits, I called all my friends and bragged about how crazy it was – so I guess it’s safe to say that I never envisioned over two million views,” he said.
Aside from the insight into playing at Ohio State, Titus’ wit and humor are what made him an instant star – so big that he’s been interviewed by ESPN’s Bill Simmons and has been featured on ESPN’s First Take and in a number of publications such as Sports Illustrated.
More recently, Titus has produced the latest YouTube sensation, “Mr. Rainmaker,” a video compilation of Titus’ basketball skills, fundamentals and tips from a D1 basketball player.
In the end credits of his video, which received about 150,000 views in only four weeks, Titus paid homage to one of his favorite coaches – specifically his sweater.
“Bob Knight is really the only reason I even cared about basketball when I was growing up,” Titus said. “All I wanted to do was play at Indiana for Coach Knight. In fact, when he was fired, I got progressively worse at basketball somehow.”
Titus, who met Knight and other members of OSU’s 1960 National Championship game two weekends ago, grew up a “huge” IU fan.
“I was at the Duke game in Lexington (Ky.) during their tournament and went crazy like every other Hoosier fan when (A.J.) Moye blocked (Carlos) Boozer’s shot,” he said.
Although the Buckeyes are his new team, Titus still supports IU when the team isn’t matched up against OSU and “still get(s) chills hearing the IU fight song when we play
in Bloomington,” he said.
While a shoulder injury has likely ended Titus’ playing career, he posted a “trillion” versus in his last career game on Jan. 19. Even though he won’t play tonight versus
IU, he hopes to be embraced by the Hoosier faithful.
“I just want all the Hoosier fans to know that the only goal I have in my life at this point is to become one of those giant heads that are held up during free throws,” Titus said.
Titus added that his goal to become a big head is his “only motivation in life,” and he hopes to become famous enough to make it into the Assembly Hall bleachers – even though he doesn’t play for IU.
“I’m hoping that since I’m from Indiana and since I grew up a Hoosier fan, an exception can be made,” he said. “Plus, I have a disproportionately large head to begin with, so that’s got to count for something.”
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