Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Ed O'bannon Dunks Personal Glory for Team

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Ed O'bannon Dunks Personal Glory for Team

Article excerpt

Once, UCLA star Ed O'Bannon was an opportunist for ostentatiousness. When a seam opened for a possible dunk, for instance, consider it slammed.

And now . . .

"I'll just lay it up," he says. "Two points are two points."

This fundamental shift could be attributed to O'Bannon's age. He is 22 and perhaps less in need of preening. Or he could be inclined to stabilize his brother, Charles, a showboating sophomore. Or maybe that devastating knee injury he suffered - the one five years ago that was mended with the help of a cadaver's Achilles' tendon - calmed him.

Clearly, though, nothing has leavened O'Bannon's temperament like his 11-month old-son, Aaron.

"It makes it easy to forget the last game; it really doesn't matter," O'Bannon told The Orange County Register. "First, I have to keep him fed and dry."

O'Bannon, of course, already was a premier talent. Coming out of Artesia (Calif.) High, he was considered the best prep player in the country in a class that included National Basketball Association players Grant Hill and Anfernee Hardaway. His new perspective, though, makes him an even more compelling player.

"It's funny, I just think it's changed my whole attitude about playing," he said. "I care about Aaron more than I care about myself, so I find myself caring more about my teammates than I do about myself."

Not that he ever was self-absorbed.

"He's unselfish to a fault," UCLA coach Jim Harrick said. "Ed is quiet and shy, and kind of takes a back seat. I've had to really make him get up in front of the huddles when we gather, and that's kind of the way he's been. He just wants to be a player on a team."

He has, in fact, become an irreplaceable one. When the top-seeded Bruins take on Missouri today at about 4 p.m. St. Louis time at the Boise State Pavilion, contending with O'Bannon will be MU's prime directive.

"He does everything: He can bring the ball up the court, plays defense, he rebounds, he scores," MU's Julian Winfield said. "You've got to respect him. …

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