Izzo decides to recruit Indy big man Oden

Indianapolis Lawrence North 7'0" junior-to-be Greg Oden recently took a visit to the Michigan State campus in East Lansing on an unofficial visit.

Once he arrived, he was confronted by MSU head coach Tom Izzo who wanted to know the answer to one important question before he went any further.

"He asked me if I'm thinking about going pro," said Oden. "And I looked him in the eye and told him that I want to go to college. So he said he'd recruit me."

That short question and answer session between coach and the potential MSU recruit could be huge in when Oden finishes he senior season next winter.

Oden is expected to be on the short list of high school players who could make the jump right to the NBA. This year's NBA draft saw a record eight high schoolers drafted in the first round, so one could understand Izzo's reluctance to participate in what could amount to an exercise of futility.

But what if Oden is serious about playing, at least one year in the collegiate ranks? If that is the case, he is certainly worth going after, even for a season. Oden is the kind of impact player that could lead a team to the NCAA final four with the proper support.

If Izzo could coax even a one-year commitment out of Oden, he could team him with incoming freshman point guard Drew Neitzel and returning sophomore Shannon Brown to give MSU one of the most potent lineups in the Big Ten.

However, the Michigan State coaching staff won't be alone in trying to lure Oden. Duke, Kentucky and Louisville all have said they will attempt to get Oden on their campuses as well.

Adding to the pessimism is that, entering his junior season, Oden is ranked the best player in the country. That doesn't bode well for college coaches hoping to add the solid big man to their rosters when the NBA will be waiving millions under his nose.

Still, you have to cover all the bases, and it appears Izzo will do just that by attempting to coax Oden to East Lansing.

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