WASHINGTON, D.C. — Chris Otule was always nervous, almost embarrassed to talk about it. In fact, Buzz Williams wasn’t even aware of his handicap until the big Texan arrived on campus as a freshman. Now Marquette’s starting center embraces it, jokes around about it, earlier this week even putting a major scare into teammate Junior Cadougan’s 12-year-old brother when he literally took his eye out of its socket and put it on the table in their apartment.
That’s right. Otule is the starting center for a Sweet 16 team and cannot see out of his left eye. Not partial vision, either. He has had a glass eye since shortly after birth due to an eye disease called glaucoma.
Some more tidbits from the story: Coach Buzz Williams never knew until the team doctor called him. Otule told his teammates by plucking out the fake eye and showing it around.
Fellow big man Davante Gardner didn’t know until one day he saw Otule remove the glass eye and wash it before he went to sleep. Cadougan first heard about it from former Golden Eagles guard Dwight Buycks shortly after he arrived as a freshman.
“There’s no way,” Cadougan recalled. “One eye?”
Cadougan thought it was a joke. He went up to Otule, asked him and the next thing he knew he was staring at a fake eye in his teammate’s hand
Folks around the Marquette program had some pretty high praise for Otule’s senior leadership too.
Otule averages just 17.6 minutes and five points per game after recovering from a pretty unlucky injury streak throughout his time at Marquette. But his first career double-double came at the best possible time: An 11-point, 11-rebound performance sparked the Golden Eagles past Davidson in the first round.
If nothing else, click for the picture. And the video titled, “Singing Marquette big man Chris Otule.”
The Golden Eagles tip off Sweet 16 play against Miami at 7:15 p.m. in Washington D.C.
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