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Former Pacers player Kellogg remains as visible as ever


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Clark Kellogg, the Pacers' vice president of player relations, is shown during an interview Thursday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
PHOTO BY SCOTT ROBERSON
Clark Kellogg, the Pacers' vice president of player relations, is shown during an interview Thursday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. PHOTO BY SCOTT ROBERSON


INDIANAPOLIS

Without realizing he’s doing so, Clark Kellogg has nearly single-handedly squashed the theory that nice guys finish last.

This despite being one of the busiest and most-sought-after persons around.

As vice president of player relations for the Indiana Pacers, a job he’s had since July 2010, Kellogg remains actively involved with the franchise for which he once played.

Add his broadcasting responsibilities, his involvement in Fellowship of Christian Athletes, public speaking engagements and being a married father of three adult children, and one understands why old No. 33 does what he can to remain at or near his old playing weight.

THE KELLOGG FILE

Name: Clark Kellogg

Age: 51

Titles: Indiana Pacers VP of player relations, lead basketball analyst for CBS Sports

Family: Wife, Rosy; daughter, Talisa, 25; sons, Alex, 23, and Nick, 21

Born: Cleveland, Ohio

High school: St. Joseph’s High School, 1979

College: Ohio State University, 1982

Draft status: Selected No. 8 by the Pacers in the 1982 NBA Draft

Did you know? Graduated from the same high school — albeit earlier — than future NFL players Mike Golic, Elvis Grbac and Desmond Howard ... Named to the NBA’s All-Rookie Team in 1983 after averaging 20.1 points and 10.6 rebounds ... One of three ex-OSU players on the 1983-84 and 1984-85 Pacers along with Herb Williams and Granville Waiters ... Wore No. 33 both in college and the pros.

Best of all, Kellogg take every task with an upbeat attitude as genuine as the man himself.

“I once had a coach at a basketball camp — coach (Bill) Sudeck of Case Western Reserve (University) — tell me, ‘It’s nice to be good, but it’s better to be nice,’” Kellogg, 51, said. “I’ve always remembered that.”

Kellogg’s life from a distance appears charmed. He and his wife, Rosy, the woman he began dating after the two met at a rhythm and blues concert Kellogg’s freshman year at Ohio State University, will be married 30 years July 9. The couple’s three children were or are Division I athletes.

But there have been the inevitable potholes. One of Ohio’s true schoolboy hardwood legends along with the likes of Jerry Lucas, Jim Jackson, Jay Burson and LeBron James, Kellogg’s sky had no limits after being named a McDonald’s All-American in 1979.

Three productive seasons at OSU paved the way for the Pacers to select Kellogg with the eighth overall pick in the 1982 NBA Draft. Unfortunately, chronic knee problems cut short a promising career. The 6-foot-7 forward’s productivity gradually declined from 81 games to 79, 77, then 19 and finally only four. After five seasons Kellogg was out of the league, retired at age 26.

This disappointment teamed with other events in his life gradually steered Kellogg toward becoming a devout Christian in November 1986. Becoming centered spiritually enabled Kellogg to better cope with the passing of his mother, Mattie, in 1994. She was only 53 when she died of complications following surgery.

“It’s been a blessed journey for me. I’m the oldest of five kids, and we had a good, solid home life,” Kellogg said. “Meeting Rosy and giving my life to Christ, I’m desiring to glorify him in everything I think, say and do.”

Daily Journal sportswriter Mike Beas recently caught up with Kellogg for a question-and-answer session. As one will detect, there’s no mad in Mr. March Madness:

It seems like you’re always wearing a lot of hats. Do you still relish this pace in life?

I am a bit, but I’m energized, too. I’ve been on a pretty fast pace. I just recently stepped up into the VP role but I feel I’m where God wants me to be. I do see myself being in the twilight of this particular phase, though.

Do you remeber your first broadcast with Jim Nantz, and were you at all nervous?

We actually had a chance to work together in the studio in the early 1990s. My first game with Jim was the winter of 2008 with Memphis playing Georgetown in Washington, D.C. I felt good. I had been (broadcasting) for a while.

For those not old enough to remember, just how good were those 1981 and ‘82 Ohio State Buckeyes teams?

I think my freshman year in 1979-80 was actually our best team while I was there. We got to the Sweet 16 and lost to UCLA at Arizona State. We stubbed our toe against the Larry Brown Bruins. He still likes to bring that up now and then.

Do you ever have any what-if moments today when it comes to your knees?

Not many. It’s been long enough. When I was first retired there were some what-ifs, but I tend not to dwell on it now.

In 2010 you played President Barack Obama in a game of H-O-R-S-E at the White House. I watched that on television and remain convinced you threw that game. Any comment?

(Laughing) He can really shoot it. He analyzed it spot on afterward, saying I stepped off the gas pedal thinking I was having compassion for my president. I came up one letter short. I had a real good comfort level going in, two guys about the same age conversing about basketball.

Where does the Ohio Bobcats’ Sweet 16 run last March rank on your hoops memory list considering your, son, Nick, was one of their starting guards?

It goes way up toward the top. For Nick and our family it was quite special. It reminds you of the magnitude of the tournament.

The college arena you liked playing in most (not Ohio State)?

Indiana, Williams Arena in Minnesota, those are special places. (Purdue’s) Mackey Arena was so interesting back then because it was so dark where the fans sat. The court was lit well enough.

The professional basketball facility you couldn’t stand as a player?

The old Boston Garden surprised me because of how dank it was. Dead spots on the floor. That was probably the one place that took me by surprise.

Do you ever wonder if you should have remained at Ohio State for your senior season instead of declaring for the NBA Draft?

No, I don’t. But Senior Day would have been special to me then and now. We would have been a really outstanding team. My old teammate, Ronnie Stokes, will still remind me of that.

Who was the college or Pacers teammate you had who was a lot better player than people now realize?

Right before I got to Ohio State there was a player named Kenny Page. He ended up transferring, but the players that had been there before told me how good he was. And I don’t know if people understand how good Kelvin (Ransey) and Herb (Williams) were.

Your favorite moment as an Indiana Pacer?

Quite honestly, being drafted was a big one. Every now and then we would knock off the big teams. My most memorable moment was a last-second shot to beat Larry (Bird) and Boston.

Does March still give you goosebumps?

Oh, yeah. The adrenalin gets ramped up. For me, the best is the conference championship week leading up to the tournament. Selection Sunday is a long stressful day. It’s pretty chaotic, more for (CBS studio host) Greg Gumbel and the people in the control room.

Any great Bob Knight tales from your three seasons at Ohio State?

I know we always got up for them. They beat us four of the six times while I was there. At that time he was very demonstrative, and I’m an 18-, 19-, 20-year-old kid. His success happened for a reason, and you see that more as you grow older.

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