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Nov. 7, 2006

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – As part of its on-going community relations commitment to communicate with its many fans and the Columbus community, the Ohio State Athletics Department is promoting two of the most recognizable names in men’s and women’s collegiate basketball in Jessica Davenport and Greg Oden with giant murals on a downtown building located at 145 S. High St. The murals are expected to be completed Wednesday.

Davenport is a two-time All-American and a two-time Big Ten Player of the Year. The 6-5 center, who has won two gold medals with USA Basketball, averaged 18.7 points and 8.9 rebounds a game last year for Jim Foster’s 29-3 Buckeyes.

Foster, Ohio State’s head women’s basketball coach, said the recognition for Davenport is well deserved.

“I cannot think of a better role model than Jessica,” Foster said. “She is a lifelong Columbus resident and is highly visible in this community. Her academic and athletic accomplishments can serve as an example to a whole generation of youth in this city.”

Oden is expected to be one of the premier players in college basketball this year for Thad Matta’s defending Big Ten champion Buckeyes. The 7-foot freshman center was a two-time selection as the National Player of the Year and was considered the No. 1 high school prospect in the nation last season.

Matta, Ohio State’s men’s coach, said Oden, though he has not yet played for the Buckeyes, has made significant contributions to the game of basketball already in his young career.

“We are certainly proud of what Greg has accomplished to date in the game of basketball and wanted to recognize the honors he’s earned,” Matta said. “The downtown banner is unique and well-deserved.”

David Brown, associate athletics director for marketing and promotions, said the banner is a small piece of Ohio State’s effort to bring extraordinary efforts by Buckeye coaches and student-athletes to the public’s attention.

“This is part of our continuing effort to recognize our athletes and teams and to allow our fans and the community to share in their accomplishments,” Brown said. “We have a lot of good things to share with the community.”