Brittany Schock / Asst. photo editor
Former Ohio State men’s basketball walk-on-turned-celebrity Mark Titus was on campus Monday evening promoting his book, “Don’t Put Me in, Coach: My Incredible NCAA Journey from the End of the Bench to the End of the Bench” at the Barnes and Noble bookstore at 1596 N. High St. Titus, the creator of clubtrillion.com signed for about 130 people for more than two hours, burning through five Sharpie pens in the process. After the book signing, Titus, a member of OSU’s 2007 National Runner-up team, sat down with The Lantern to discuss his favorite chapter in “Don’t Put Me in Coach,” as well as what he’d say to Buckeye football coach Urban Meyer if he had the chance.
The Lantern: Of the 40 chapters in your book, do you have a favorite?
Mark Titus: My favorite one to write, I think, was probably the one where (now-former OSU guard) William Buford gave me permission to use the “N-word.” As I was writing it, I just enjoyed the minefield, you know what I mean? You’ve gotta tip-toe and you gotta be funny and edgy and I’ve always been politically incorrect, but at the same time, you can’t be too offensive. So I really enjoyed writing that because it was a challenge to think of a funny way to say something without pissing off a ton of people.
TL: Has OSU men’s basketball coach Thad Matta given you any feedback on your book?
MT: I gave him my first author copy. He didn’t actually say it, but he kind of looked at it like, “You know I’m not going to read this, right?” And it was obvious that he wasn’t really that interested, and he kept trying to over-sell it so much, like, “Wow. Whoa.” I haven’t heard from him since about the book. I don’t think he’s read it. I don’t think he’ll read it until he retires, because I don’t think he wants to know what his players are up to. He’s always been that way, like, “Don’t tell me. What I don’t know can’t hurt me.”
TL: Weirdest thing anyone has asked you to sign at one of your book signing events?
MT: A guy just asked me to sign his chest. There was one lady (at a book signing) in Indianapolis – and I said I would sign any book – and she brought some romance novel that she had. But I signed a chest tonight. Some dude pulled up his shirt.
TL: You mention in your book that William Buford was your favorite OSU teammate? What do you think is next for Buford’s career?
MT: He’s got NBA talent. When he’s on, he’s unreal. It’s apparent in practice that he’s unbelievably talented. He plays an NBA game too. If he gets into the NBA, it’ll be better-suited for him because he’s good when you can just throw him the ball and be like, “Do something.” I don’t know if that’s a great thing to say about a guy, that’s he’s not good in structured offenses. It’s hard to say because I’m just like everyone else. It’s like, I wish he would be more consistent and all that kind of stuff. I think he’s definitely going to get a shot.
TL: Should the Buckeyes have beaten Kansas in the 2012 Final Four National Semifinal game?
MT: Yeah, I mean, (OSU was) the better team, and they proved it for the whole first half. Kansas played awful, it’s just that we played worse. It was pretty frustrating to watch. But OSU would have got smoked by Kentucky anyway. It’s whatever. No one really cares if you go to the National Championship and lose versus go to the Final Four. In 2007 … we still say that was the Final Four team. No one ever says, “National runner-up.”
TL: Do you have any thought’s on OSU’s Monday announcement that J.D. Weatherspoon will transfer to another school?
MT: It’s easy for me to say he should stay because it worked out well for me, getting the book deal and all that kind of stuff. I can definitely relate (to Weatherspoon), because I thought about quitting before I started my blog, after my sophomore year. We had (won) the NIT (National Invitational Tournament), and I still wasn’t playing. Our team sucked. I was doing really well in practice and I was like, “If I can’t play now, I’m never going to play.” And I kind of had that where, like, “Why am I waking up at 5 a.m. to work out in the summer? What’s the point? I’m not going to play.” And that was kind of when I decided I’m just going to have fun with it. “Don’t Put Me in Coach,” the whole (book) title, is that thing. It’s like, “Screw it, I don’t want to play. If you’re not going to play me, I don’t even want to play. I’m going to use you. You’re not going to use me.” You know what I mean? I’m going to use this situation to get what I want out of it instead of you beating the crap out of me with all these workouts. So, I see the point. I kind of wish he would have stuck it out because, I don’t know, there are always late bloomers in college basketball. He would have gotten his chance this year too. He would have played a lot.”
TL: If you had a chance to sit down with OSU football coach Urban Meyer, what would you tell him?
MT: I would tell him that I have a hell of an arm and I can probably get some eligibility if we work something out. And at least I was a great punter, I will say that much. I would tell Urban, “Gimme a shot. You never know.” I could be this year’s Joe Bauserman, which I’m sure he’s probably excited about.