Marquette's Chris Otule Rises Above His Adversity

By John Hayden
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

There is a great story in the midst of the great season that Marquette is having this year.

We hear about Vander Blue and if he is worthy to be the Big East player of the year. We watch Devante Gardner taking the ball and off the glass and score. We hear about the passion of head coach Buzz Williams and how he runs this team.

The one player on this team we don’t talk about a lot or that has significant contribution every  game is the fifth year senior Chris Otule. Otule has a great story to share which many of you might already have heard or read about. He has had to climb plenty of mountains in his career. His freshmen year he broke his left foot in practice and only played nine games. His sophomore year he broke his right foot again in practice. The Golden Eagles practices must have been tough and rough. He played all the way through his Junior year without a scrape.

Then his Senior year came, where he was ready to play the whole season, but instead suffered a season-ending ACL injury. That season he only got to play eight games and was devastated. So because of these injuries he was given a fifth year of eligibility and there is a chance we might see him on the court next season.

Otule is a fighter and has overcome these storms in his life. It really takes someone with a focused vision and who has a certain kind of toughness to overcome the adversity he went through. It seems in life when you have dealt with adversity in your life before, when it hits you again, you can pass through it with ease. For Otule, his adversity is that he has never experienced what life is like with two eyes.

Here he answers why: “I was born with one actual eye,” Otule said. “The other one was, I guess you could call it glaucoma. I went into surgery as soon as I was born, I don’t know what they did to my eye, but I went into surgery and for the first couple of years of my life I was living with only one eye and the other one just looked pink. At the age of 3 or 4 I was old enough to get a glass eye. Every couple of years I would outgrow it and have to get a new one, and the last time I had to was like two years ago.”

With eye problems, the body is fine. You still can run just as fast and jump just as high and keep the same form on your jump shot. Otule has risen above his vision impairment on and off the court. He has been an inspiration for people. He has gotten several emails, tweets and phone calls saying how much he has inspired people with his story of determination.  He is a very humble person who doesn’t want to draw the attention on himself. He wants to make sure that his team gets all the attention as they march into march madness. Even with just one eye, Otule can crash the boards with authority, scrap for every lose ball and score in the paint. He has made his mountains to climb, mole hills to squash.

Otule and the rest of the Golden Eagles have their vision focused on the game at Villanova. They need to win this game to keep their vision on winning the Big East this season.

John D. Hayden  is a Writer and Contributor for, covering the NCAA and NBA.  Follow John on twitter @jdhayden09, or add his Google +  to your circles for all of his latest articles, thoughts, and rants.

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