June 21, 2011
UCLA has a history of having alumni student-athletes return to school to earn their degrees.
Two years ago, Troy Aikman graduated. Earlier this year, NFL rookie Alterraun Verner returned to school and lived in the dorms for two quarters while earning his degree.
Summer school started Monday and Baron Davis was among the students attending class. Another day, another All-American. On Tuesday, 1995 NCAA Champion and Player of the Year Ed O'Bannon attended his two classes.
Ed will be attending both summer sessions and fall quarter to complete the requirements for his degree. His classes are scheduled on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so following his final class, he is able to travel home to Henderson, NV to spend time with his family.
"This is a long time coming," O'Bannon said on Tuesday. "My wife and mother really never gave it (coming back to school) a rest and I really wanted to finish. There are a lot of people involved in this decision, like Coach Harrick. I felt I owed it to myself and a lot of people to come back and get my degree."
O'Bannon was asked why come back now? "There are several reasons," he responded. "I want to coach basketball at the Division I level so it's important to have a degree. Also, my children are old enough that they don't need me around all the time. The fact that I can go home each weekend and spend time with them is a plus."
So, how did it feel to go to class at UCLA after 16 years? "It felt great to be in class," O'Bannon said. "I haven't slept in a couple of day because I was nervous, but once I went, it was cool.
"It's funny, but I can remember being in class and looking at my watch to see how much longer I had to be there. Now, I want to be in class. It's a great feeling to be there. I am really happy to be back."