Celtics work out a 6-foot-11 football player

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Celtics work out a 6-foot-11 football player

By A.Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

The Boston Celtics take pride in the fact that when it comes to scouting players, there are very few places that they won't look for talent.

No example brings this point home more than the Celtics working out Matt O'Donnell, a 6-foot-11, 340-pound offensive tackle from Canada.

"We don't leave a stone unturned," quipped Danny Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations. "We cover all the bases."

O'Donnell's father, Jim, told a Canadian newspaper that the tryout came about because of how O'Donnell tested at the Canadian Football League evaluation camp.

"The Celtics looked at his numbers and his athletic ability and decided it was worthwhile giving the kid a chance," his father, Jim O'Donnell, told the Barrie Examiner.

At his size and level of experience -- he played intramural basketball at Queen's University but had not played organized basketball since high school -- Ainge and the C's had no idea what to expect when they brought him in with a number of other big men hopefuls.

Most of the players the Celtics brought in for Wednesday workouts, such as Justin Harper of Richmond and Lavoy Allen of Temple, are big men who can stretch the floor with their shooting.

O'Donnell doesn't stretch the floor. He'll pound you into it.

"He was definitely the surprise of the workout," Ainge said. "He's big. Really big."

Even with the Celtics in the market to add some beef to their frontcourt, it's highly unlikely that O'Donnell made a big enough impact to where he'll be someone the Celtics would look to sign as a free agent, let alone draft.

For starters, it's pretty clear that football is not only his preferred sport, but one that O'Donnell is better suited for playing.

O'Donnell, a two-time all-Canadian football player at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and a member of the Golden Gaels' 2009 Vanier Cup team, was selected by the Saskatchewan Rough Riders with the 15th overall pick in the CFL draft last month. He was one of just two Canadian players invited to play in East-West Shrine game in January, a game that features the top senior football players in North America but primarily consists of seniors from colleges and universities in the United States.

He was supposed to report to the Rough Riders' camp on Wednesday, but O'Donnell elected to instead work out for the Celtics.

In addition to the CFL and the Celtics, O'Donnell has drawn some NFL interest.

But with the NFL lockout still in effect, undrafted players like O'Donnell are in wait-and-see mode.

"He's got to explore all his options," said Jim O'Donnell. "It's a tough spot for him. Growing up, he dreamed of playing in the CFL. But when you're getting some pro interest down there, you've got to have a look at it."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached atsblakely@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Leon Powe talks about '08 Celtics, reunion with Ray Allen

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Leon Powe talks about '08 Celtics, reunion with Ray Allen

In this week's jam packed episode of CSNNE.com's "Celtics Talk Podcast", Kyle Draper and A. Sherrod Blakely talk with former Celtic Leon Powe about this year's team, plus his role on the 2008 Championship squad. Powe tells some great stories about Kevin Garnett, and has an interesting take on Ray Allen not being invited to the reunion vacation Rajon Rondo is planning.

SUBSCRIBE Audioboom | iTunes | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher

Also included in this week's episode, Brian Scalabrine's interview with head coach Brad Stevens, plus the "Celtics PostUp" crew talks with Jae Crowder about his many nicknames, whether the 1st seed in the East is important, and his improvement on the floor.

LaVar Ball: Don't know Ainge, but he was tough 'for a white guy'

LaVar Ball: Don't know Ainge, but he was tough 'for a white guy'

LaVar Ball said a bunch of crazy things Thursday during his appearance on WEEI’s Dale & Holley with Rich Keefe. Among them: He thinks that every white teenager gets a $100,000 car from their parents. 

The most notable for Celtics fans’ purposes as it relates to the chances of Lonzo Ball coming to Boston was that the father does not want the C’s to take the UCLA product with the potential first overall pick of the 2017 draft. He also vowed not to be a pain in Brad Stevens’ ass if the C’s do take the point guard. 

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Ball was also asked about Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge. He said that he doesn’t know Ainge and has never spoken to him, but he did have an interesting description of the scrappy Ainge’s playing days.  

“I don’t know anything about Danny Ainge, but I know when he was a player, he was one of them sticklers to get up under you, boy,” Ball said. “But I haven’t talked to him. I don’t know Danny Ainge, I just watched him play when he was younger and I knew for a white guy, you could elbow him in the face. He was going to get back up and keep playing.” 

Ball did not say whether he thinks his son would have a better playing career than Ainge, a one-time All-Star and two-time NBA champion, but that should be assumed.