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Greg Oden is making his basketball comeback where it all began

It might be a 3-on-3 summer league, but it’s all coming full circle.

Basketball: Big Three-Opener Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

“I saw my daughter walk down the stairs with my wife and it put a big smile on my face. That’s my perspective. All this stuff is just extra.”

-Former Ohio State center Greg Oden, via Robert General, Indianapolis Star

This summer has marked a comeback of sorts for former Ohio State great Greg Oden. He graduated from the Ohio State University with a bachelor’s degree in sports industry, and he made his way back onto the basketball court as a player after spending the past couple seasons as a student manager for the Ohio State men’s team.

Most recently, Oden’s basketball career in particular seems to have come full-circle, as his matchup Sunday took place in Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis—the same arena in which Oden (and teammate Mike Conley Jr.) won three state titles as members of Lawrence North High School. Oden last played on that particular court in 2014, during his final NBA season with the Miami Heat.

Oden played this past weekend as a member of the Aliens team in the opening week of Ice Cube’s Big3 league—a 3-on-3 basketball league currently celebrating its third season. The league expanded to 12 teams this year, and features former NBA players like Amar’e Stoudemire, Lamar Odom and Gilbert Arenas. The Aliens fell 50-40 to the Triplets. Next week, Oden’s team is scheduled to face the 3-Headed Monsters (most of the team names in the league are three-related).

In addition to Oden, basketball fans can see more of their favorite former Ohio State players later this summer when The Basketball Tournament, a 5-on-5, winner-take-all event with a $2 million prize, returns for its sixth season. In fact, the Ohio State alumni squad, dubbed Carmen’s Crew, is scheduled to play host to the Columbus regional at Capital University July 19-21. The team is coached by Scoonie Penn and Evan Turner, and features the likes of Jared Sullinger and Aaron Craft. The alumni team made the semi-finals of the tournament last season, when Oden was participating on behalf of his alma mater.

In other Ohio State basketball news, former forward Jae’Sean Tate just got picked up to play for the Denver Nuggets Summer League team. This year will mark Tate’s first Summer League experience, after missing last season’s chance with the Milwaukee Bucks due to a broken finger. It’ll be another chance for Tate, who played in Columbus from 2012-18, to make an NBA team.

After going undrafted after the 2018 season, Tate spent the last season as part of the third-place Telenet Giants Antwerp in the Belgian Pro Basketball League. Tate finished the season averaging greater than 12 points and five rebounds per game.

During his time at Ohio State, Tate averaged 11.7 points and six rebounds per game. A four-year player, Tate, along with Keita Bates-Diop, anchored the Buckeyes under Chris Holtman’s first season as head coach during the 2017-18 run.

Once Tate’s time in the Summer League is complete, he is currently on the roster to play for the Big X team in The Basketball Tournament with former Ohio State teammates C.J. Jackson and Keyshawn Woods.

The NBA Summer League runs just a short span, scheduled from July 5-15. In addition to 30 NBA teams, squads from China and Croatia are also signed up to participate in the league. The event is scheduled to take place in Las Vegas, with 32 teams playing a total of 83 games during the 11-day stretch. While each team is guaranteed at least five games, the top-eight teams will make a tournament at the conclusion of league play. In addition to former college stars, the Summer League is expected to be the professional debut of newly-drafted players like Zion Williamson and R.J. Barrett -- who look to face off on the first day of league play when the New Orleans Pelicans play the New York Knicks.

It’s no secret that prices of college football tickets, especially for premiere games, are on the rise. While there are many divisive issues tied to these high ticket prices, including payment of players, accessibility remains a core concern, as season tickets—or even single game tickets—are starting to become unreachable for many fans. Given its dominance in both the Big Ten and on the national stage, Ohio State games consistently rank among the highest-priced tickets in a given season, with out of conference matchups like Oklahoma or Big Ten rivals like Michigan and Penn State demanding hundreds of dollars per seat to attend the game.

For Ohio State, with a limit of just under 105,000 seats per game and an alumni base of nearly half a million (plus a city with the 15th-largest population in the U.S.), there will always be more people who want to attend games than tickets available, driving ticket prices higher and higher. Unfortunately, while overall revenue continues to increase for athletics, this limited availability for tickets has adverse effects on fans who can no longer access the team they love, preventing growth of the fanbase in the future.

To combat this restriction, Ohio State announced two new ticket packages which increase flexibility for ticket buyers. Making access easier for fans, purchase of these tickets does not require a Buckeye Club (Ohio State Athletics Development Club) membership. The Rush and Blitz plans each feature a three-game slate of out-of-conference and Big Ten matchups. The Rush plan, priced at $327, includes tickets for Miami (OH), Maryland and Wisconsin, while the Blitz plan, $297, features Florida Atlantic, Cincinnati and Michigan State.

Full-season tickets went on sale last month. Another limited plan, the $249 Flex pass, which featured a four-game slate of Florida Atlantic, Miami, Maryland and Michigan State, went on sale last week.

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