Mark Titus and Danny Peters are players on the Ohio State men’s basketball team not known for filling statistic columns. Still, even in their final seasons with the Buckeyes they have not forgotten how far they have come.
Both Titus and Peters started out as basketball managers.
At the start of their freshman year, they were not shooting any jump shots or even practicing with the team. They were busy filling up water bottles and handing out towels.
During the ‘06-‘07 season, Peters and Titus were both asked to be a part of the team.
Peters said it has been an amazing four years.
“It is crazy to think how far Mark and I have come,” Peters said. “Playing on this team is a dream come true.”
Titus is best known for his online blog, which has attracted nearly 2 million visitors.
There is not much difference between the managers and the players, Titus said.
“I’m just a little taller and a little more athletic,” Titus said.
Freshman manager Weston Strayer, who has rebounded for both Titus and Peters during shooting drills, said he has a lot of respect for them.
“They know their stuff and they have put their time in,” Strayer said. “They have earned the spot that they are in right now.”
Junior manager Gage Will said the transition that Peters and Titus have made from managers to players is remarkable.
“It’s pretty impressive that they started out as managers and became players,” Will said.
“They are just overall good guys to have on the team. They are not going to play a whole lot but they have good morale.”
Titus said he has a spot in his heart for the basketball managers. Being around Titus, who attempted to enter the NBA Draft as a joke early last spring, can be tough to deal with sometimes.
“I jokingly blame stuff on them and pull pranks on them involving water bottles and towels,” Titus said. “They are not immune to my pranks.”
Titus said that during the games the managers are always taking stats and doing things people wouldn’t think about.
Will said the managers have become like a team themselves.
“We work so closely together and a lot of our duties require teamwork,” he said. “Between the managers, there is a great sense of camaraderie and respect.”
Will said great friendships have resulted and the experience is something he cherishes.
“Being able to witness the NCAA Tournament atmosphere last year, even though we lost, was worth it,” he said. “It was an atmosphere unlike any other I’ve ever seen.”
Strayer said watching the players practice has been his biggest shock.
In Strayer’s playing days at Milan Edison High School, only one player could dunk. When he came to OSU, he realized how athletic the players were and that everybody could dunk.
Strayer pursued a manager position, knowing he was not a Division I caliber athlete, to stay close to the game he always loved.
“I hope it will help provide a coaching opportunity as a high school or collegiate coach down the road,” Strayer said.
It is his dream to pursue a career involving basketball.
“There [are] always the little things that not everyone knows about and I want to get those things down,” he said. “I want to start learning now, so there is less to learn later on.”
Learning comes with a price.
The price is rebounding and passing out water bottles and towels. It’s filming the game from the press box or setting down chairs during time outs.
Strayer said it is worth doing all of the chores that come with the job, to listen, watch and learn from coach Thad Matta.