The Boston Celtics held their first round on pre-draft workouts on Wednesday in anticipation of the 2011 NBA Draft and apparently replaced Butler's Matt Howard with Matthew O'Donnell, a 6-foot-11 big man from Queen's University in Canada.
If O'Donnell's name doesn't ring a bell to those that have been following the draft prospects, it shouldn't. O'Donnell, who has a pretty impressive highlight tape, is a football player by trade.
The 340-pound offensive lineman hasn't played organized basketball since high school, but O'Donnell's athletic acumen apparently intrigued the Celtics front office enough to offer him a look.
"(The Celtics tryout) came about because of testing (numbers) at the CFL evaluation camp," his father, Jim O'Donnell, told the Barrie Examiner. "They looked at his numbers and his athletic ability and (decided) it was worthwhile giving the kid a chance."
Odds are O'Donnell is just biding his time until the NFL Lockout is complete because he apparently has received interest from a few NFL teams, according to his father, and isn't ready report to Weston Dressler's Saskatchewan Roughriders after being selected 15th overall in the CFL Draft. That didn't stop the Celtics from being at least mildly intrigued, however.
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge believes O'Donnell can offer one of the same things free agent Glen Davis does for the Celtics -- size!
"We don't leave a stone unturned. We cover all the bases," Ainge told A. Sherrod Blakely after Wednesday's workout. "He was definitely the surprise of the workout. He's big. Really big."
O'Donnell also apparently surprised his CFL team who were counting on him to be in attendance as they start their rookie camp workouts this week.
"He wanted to go to that workout so we said we can't stand in his way with a tryout for an NBA team," Roughriders general manager Brendan Taman told TSN. "But it's concerning to us because when is he coming. We're moving on obviously."
If O'Donnell does somehow decide to play basketball after what seems to have been a successful college football career up in Canada, he'd join a pretty rare group that includes Charlie Ward, Nate Robinson and (apparently) Darrell Armstrong. Looking at that group, it's probably safe to say he'd be the first collegiate offensive lineman to transition to professional basketball.
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