Kirkus Reviews QR Code
DON'T PUT ME IN, COACH by Mark Titus

DON'T PUT ME IN, COACH

My Incredible NCAA Journey from the End of the Bench to the End of the Bench

By Mark Titus

Pub Date: March 6th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-385-53510-6
Publisher: Doubleday

A walk-on leverages fortuitous friendships and a quick wit to enjoy the ride of a lifetime.

Overly enthusiastic, towel-waving benchwarmers are a staple of March Madness; they are not, however, media magnets. Grantland.com’s Titus, a walk-on at Ohio State University from 2006 to 2010, proved an exception when his “Club Trillion” blog—so named for the box-score line a seldom-used player logs when he plays but accumulates no countable statistics—became a national sensation. A solid high-school player who could have garnered scholarship offers from smaller schools, the author decided instead to follow some of his megastar AAU teammates—including future NBA players Greg Oden, Mike Conley and Daequan Cook—to OSU for the chance to experience college life at a major university. A gig as a student manager led to a role as a walk-on player when the coaching staff needed an injury replacement. Emboldened by his friendship with Oden, OSU’s marquee player, he became the team’s resident prankster, initially content to confine his hijinks to the locker room—until his junior year, when he began blogging about his antics, drawing attention from a local newspaper and, later, the notice of ESPN’s Bill Simmons, Titus’ idol and one of the most popular sportswriters in the country. An appearance on Simmons’ podcast led to an explosion in Club Trillion’s popularity, making him nearly as well known as teammate and national player of the year Evan “The Villain” Turner (so dubbed by Titus after several confrontations between the two). The application of the blog’s crude-yet-clever shtick to a book-length chronicle of Titus’ four years at OSU wears thin in later chapters, but the unique combination of snort-inducing hilarity and insider perspective makes this required reading for younger (or just perpetually immature) hoop heads.

A perfect way to pass the time during the tournament’s endless TV timeouts.