Odia says Louisville leads for his services

One day after visiting the University of Louisville, Churchill Odia told Inside The Ville that the Cardinals lead for his services.

First impressions count for a lot.

And Churchill Odia certainly knew how to make a big one in Louisville Thursday afternoon at the practice session for the Derek Anderson Derby Festival Basketball Classic.

Shortly after meeting with members of the local media at Jeffersontown High School, Odia told Inside The Ville during a one-on-one interview that the Louisville Cardinals are the leader for his services.

Future teammates?
Lorrenzo Wade (L), Odia (R)
Asked directly if Louisville was his leader, Odia said, "Yes, I would call Louisville my leader. I love this city and everything that I've seen so far."

Odia, who arrived in Louisville yesterday and made a visit to U of L, had nothing but positive things to say about the Cardinals program, the players and head coach Rick Pitino.

"Louisville's a great team," Odia said. "I love the team, I love the coaches and I love the players. I really like the players because we got along so well and as soon as I got there they were really good to me. I love the uptempo style of game that they play and that matches my own style of game. And Coach Pitino knows alot about getting to the next level and that's what I want to do."

Pitino also made quite an impression with Odia on a more personal level, too.

"And Coach Pitino said something [yesterday] that really touched me," Odia continued. "He said, he didn't care if I came to Louisville or not but that he's going to help me out with my visa [issue]. He told me that no matter what he'd be there for me. So he showed me that he really cared and that he wanted me to come down here and play for him."

As for his visa issue, Odia is hopeful that process can be resolved within the next month.

"If I don't get the visit there's no way I can get into college," Odia explained. "But I just want to get it fixed and everything will be OK."

Does he anticipate any complications getting the visa worked out?

"No, they [those working on the paperwork] just tell me that it's something that they'll get done between the middle of May and the end of the month," Odia, who scored 1,140 on his SAT, said. "So I'm just hoping for the best."

As for Xavier, Odia said the Muskateers are not out of race for his services, but made it clear Louisville's a huge factor in his decision at this point.

"They're not out, but I've got three more schools to visit" Odia said of Xavier. "But so far I love what I've seen in Louisville. So I just want to go through those three [visits] and then make my decision."

Having made visits to both Xavier and Louisville at this point, Odia may take another visit to Oregon in the near future. However, the 6-foot-6 point guard, expressed doubt if he really needed to take a trip to Eugene at this point.

"I told Coach Pitino that I don't want to take anymore visits because I have so many things going on in school, with my coach, and with the Xavier guys," Odia said. "In the middle of May I'll decide what school I'm going to go to."

Another factor that bolds well for Louisville is a past history of recruiting players from Odia's native country Nigeria. One such former player, Mohammed Lasege, even made a special trip this week to talk with Odia.

"I've met Mohammed and he's a good guy," Odia said. "And I enjoy everything that he's said to me and I really appreciate him coming down just to see me."

So will the Louisville fans have any kind of influence on his decision this weekend?

"I don't know," Odia said. "I just love playing and competing and I just want to have fun. Coach Pitino just told me to focus on my game and that's what I'm going to do."

Odia made one final parting thought before hitting the court Thursday afternoon.

"People think I'm down to just Xavier," Odia said. "But like I told my coach, I'm keeping my options open and come the middle of May I'm going to surprise the world."

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