Q&A With Mark ‘The Shark’ Titus
With the Big Ten Tournament about to kick-off and March Madness only a week away, this weeks Thunder Chat takes us inside the life of an NCAA basketball player. Mark “The Shark” Titus is a walk on basketball player at The Ohio State University whose blog, Club Trillion, has thrilled readers over the past two seasons with his hilarious insights into his life as a Division I athlete. Titus started the Club Trillion blog during the 2008-2009 basketball season and his unique way of sharing his college basketball experience with the world has made it a must read.
The Shark has appeared on ESPN.com’s B.S. Report with Bill Simmons and his story has been featured on Yahoo.com and in The New York Times. Originally from Brownsburg, Indiana, The Shark parlayed his basketball skills and “wet jumper” to a spot on the Ohio State basketball team playing alongside the likes of Greg Oden, Mike Conley Jr. and now Evan “The Villain” Turner. According to Titus’ Wikipedia page, “The 2007-2008 season began with a different looking team, as multiple players had either graduated or left for the NBA. During the season, coach Thad Matta named Titus the best shooter on the team.” To sum it up, Titus is a walk on basketball player, superstar blogger and one hell of a model American. Thunder Treats is proud to present….Mark “The Shark” Titus.
What are your plans after graduating from The Ohio State University?
My immediate goal is to write a book about my time at Ohio State. It would go a little more in depth on my last two years here, as well as tell new stories about the things that happened during my first two years playing alongside Greg, Mike, Daequan, Jamar Butler, Ivan Harris, etc. The book will be fun. All the things I’ve had to delete because I felt like compliance or our SID would get mad will find their way into the book. It will be a little bit more unfiltered than the blog. The only person I have to worry about upsetting with the book is my mom.
Other than that, I plan on spending my summer splitting time between King’s Island and Cedar Point, being the guy in the awesome tank top who refuses to ride anywhere but the front car and constantly tells everyone else waiting in line with me that “the Vortex sure looked a lot faster this week.”
Are you pretty well known around campus? Would you sing “Piano Man” with random drunks at an OSU bar like Nick Mangold did with some of the writers of Thunder Treats back in ’06?
I get recognized more than your average walk-on (mostly because of my striking features that the ladies can’t get out of their heads and the fact I had a disgusting mustache for an entire month) but in the grand scheme of athletics I still don’t get recognized as often as maybe a 280 pound football player, or any of my teammates who are 6’7 or taller. I’m well-known, but not famous. Or would it be that I’m famous, but not well-known? Whichever of the two means that the popularity of my blog would deceive you into thinking people shout “Yo Shark!” at me more often than they actually do.
Musically, I’m a random drunk’s best friend. My repertoire is versatile – from “Friends in Low Places” by Garth Brooks to whatever old school rap song was jokingly put on, I can go lyric for lyric with the best of them. Journey, Eddie Money, Bon Jovi…I dare the Ohio State population to find a bar song that I don’t know. If writing doesn’t work out, I can definitely see “lounge singer” in my future.
When you go back to your hometown, what are peoples responses to the blog and seeing you on ESPN?
Every time I come home, I have more and more people who I know disliked me in high school talk to me about the blog like we’re old friends. It’s strange. I haven’t changed since high school – my mustache is a little thicker and my range from 3 is a little deeper – so you would think that they would find the way I act on the blog just as annoying as they found the way I acted in high school, but they don’t.
If I spend any time in Brownsburg this summer, though, I’m going to use my pseudo-celebrity status to see just how much I can get away with by being a big dog in a small town. Illegally parking my car around town just to see if they’ll give me tickets once they run my plates, wearing my championship rings and giving unsolicited criticism to 10th graders playing open gym, lighting off fireworks in my front yard even though state laws clearly prohibit doing – nothing is out of the question.
Evan Turner, Greg Oden or Mike Conley. Who would you take if you’re starting a franchise? Could you beat either in a game of 1 on 1? Horse? Pig?
I’ll go with Mike, but only on the assumption that this is like the NBA 2k series, where immediately afterward I can cheat the computer by trading Darnell Jackson and Danny Green for Greg and Brandon Roy. I’d eventually acquire The Villain, too, but I’d make him take a permanent seat on the end of the bench next to me in the ultimate revenge for all the times he made fun of Club Trillion.
When talking about 1 on 1, I’m ferocious. Not one of those three could take me. My step-back, slightly left-leaning three pointer that I shoot every single time in one-on-one will one day take its rightful place in Ohio State lore. To be honest, I might be the greatest player on earth when it comes to games with a basketball that aren’t actual “basketball games.” One-on-One, Knockout, pool basketball where I can use my offhand to drown my defender, anything that’s not five-on-five and I’m money. If real games ever start possession by checking the ball with the opposition, I might start a Hall of Fame career.
H-O-R-S-E, P-I-G, M-A-R-K-T-H-E-S-H-A-R-K…really?
Have you ever thought about quitting the team due to lack of playing time? I know the blog has grown ten-fold because of it, but it has to be tough to go to practice every day knowing you’ll probably never see meaningful minutes (I would know).
Sure, it always crossed my mind every now and then, but then what would I do with my spare time? My typical day consisted of basketball practice, lifting, film, calling Danny Peters “Danny Montany” to piss him off, and class, yet I still found time to play hours to hone my skills as an elite level player on Fifa for PS3. Also, I seem to eat Chipotle 3-5 times a week. Can you imagine if I replaced all the time I spent exercising with more Fifa? Granted, I’d be completely unstoppable with Man U, but I’d also be so fat that people would think I’m the new AT&T spokesman. That alone is enough to put in the work even though you know you’ll never play. Besides, never underestimate the lure of free things that I’ve done seemingly nothing to earn. Letter jackets, charter jet flights, team dinners at steakhouses…all of those things make having to run suicides because Noopy Crater was loafing worth it.
Since a couple people read the New York Times, do you think your street cred sky rocketed since your profile in the famous Newspaper?
It definitely gave me a different type of cred. Before that, the two most popular things I’d been featured in were Bill Simmons’ BS Report (where I got most of my core readers) and the Yahoo! article after the draft fiasco (where amongst the thousands of racists who commented on the article I think I still managed to pull in some regular readers), which were both digital. So actually seeing it in print – and in the New York Times, especially – was kind of a cool moment. It was something I could kind of show to an older person who give that “a-wha?” sound bite when you mention a blog or a podcast. I guess I established street cred with the baby boomer crowd.
Someone mentioned Twitter to my grandma a couple weeks ago, and in complete seriousness, she told them “I saw Mark’s Twitter when he was in the tub as a baby.” Moments like that are when it’s nice to have a nice article about yourself somewhere other than the internet, because it reaches a whole different group of people.
Seriously…how many times did you have to attempt the shot from the bleachers in the Rainmaker video?
It was the second try. You can see the first ball bouncing in the stands behind the bench in the shot from the video. Come on now…I’m too lazy to grab rebounds when they come to me in the game, do you really think I would spend all that time tracking missed shots and hauling them back up to Row P just to get that 5 second clip? The video ALREADY had lightning. It didn’t need a shot from the stands. It was just the icing on the cake.
What are your thoughts on college basketball players doing the “one and done”? Did this thought ever cross your mind following your historical freshman season?
Funny you say that. My freshman year after the championship game we all gathered in the Schott to be greeted by 5,000 or so fans. This was in the thick of things with Greg, and Mike, and Daequan, so the fans were giving the “One More Year” chant to all of them. That’s when I grabbed the mic and gave them my word I would return. At this point when they wrote about me in articles I was “Greg Oden’s former AAU teammate” and not “Club Trillion,” and that moment kind of propelled me one small step toward the persona I am now.
I’m glad my draft process has played out the way it did…if I would have entered and withdrew after my freshman year, I wouldn’t have been able to withdraw after my junior year. So, it all worked out alright in the end.
If you had the chance to be either a Professional Wrestler or a NASCAR driver, which would you choose?
NASCAR, but only because when all the good wrestlers are 60, they’re dead, whereas when all the good NASCAR drivers are 60, they’re wearing bolo ties. More longevity as a NASCAR driver. And a shorter work schedule. And you get to drive 200mph. The more I think about it, why doesn’t everyone want to be a NASCAR driver? I see no downsides to the job, other than most drivers top out at about 5’7″ and if you have to pee during a race you’re SOL.
If I’m in NASCAR though, I’m trying to do some cross-promotion into a Wrestlemania main event, kind of like what Lawrence Taylor did. Best of both worlds.
Hypothetically speaking, if you were a wrestler what would your wrestler’s character name, intro music and finishing move be?
It would be easy to go with just “The Shark” so I’ll add a little caveat to it. There’s nothing I love more in wrestling than the blind love that people have for the United States of America. So I’ll up the nickname a notch and call myself “The American Shark.” The first storyline would probably be a little hokey in its attempt to explain my name – like I’m a former Navy SEAL who was held captive in Iraq by the father of whatever generically Arab wrestler there is on the show, or I was a professional shark trainer who lost his job to an overseas corporation that is run by the current Asian stable – but it’s okay because it will all eventually be stripped down to The American Shark with no further explanation. It’s kind of like how Hunter Hearst Helmsley, the Connecticut blue blood, became HHH, The Game and all around badass within a period of three years and it’s never talked about anymore.
For music, seeing as how I’m an American icon and all, we have to go with some music that invokes national pride. And anger. What better song is there than my old blog standby, “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue”? This would hopefully culminate with Toby Keith himself singing the song as I made my way down the aisle for Wrestlemania’s main event. Toby then uses a red, white and blue guitar to hit my opponent over the head while the ref is down, and I pin him for the title. The crowd chants “U-S-A!” repeatedly, and I’m carried off on the shoulders of every American wrestler backstage. Can’t be topped.
Finisher can’t be limited to just one move. The American Shark is versatile, so he has at least two, much like The Rock used to have. The first would be the Shark Bite, which is basically my take on Go To Sleep. The second, for when I fight larger opponents I can’t properly hoist on my shoulders, is an homage to the only Canadian I’d ever look in the eye, Bret “The Hitman” Hart. It’s called the Sharkshooter, and it’s essentially the same as the sharpshooter except I also apply a slight ankle lock at the same time.
God bless wrestling.
Favorite bar in Columbus, Ohio? The Big Bang. Pianos + Journey + The Shark = awesome
Favorite place to travel in the Big Ten? Minneapolis. The city so nice they named it twice.
If you could be any character from Saved by the Bell, who and why?
Slater. The mullet/jheri curl combo, the fact that he sat in his chairs backwards, and that he was able to call people “preppy” in an insulting way and be taken seriously all give him the slight edge over Zack.
Big thanks to Mark Mr. Rainmaker for hooking us up with this interview and good luck to THE Ohio State University Buckeyes in the Big Ten Tournament and the NCAA Tournament as well!