Friday night at the Spiece Run N' Slam in Ft. Wayne, Ind., we spoke with Conley to try and eliminate at least some of the speculation.
The Spiece Indy Heat had a balanced effort in the first game, winning 81-50 against the New Hampshire Players, putting four players in double-figures, and another, Oden, scoring eight.
Bucknuts: Talk about the first game of the tournament. Were you guys nervous tonight coming out here at all?
Mike Conley Jr.: "We weren't really nervous at all, it was just more of a first game and trying to get the rust off since we haven't been playing for the past week or two. I think we played pretty good."
BN: Is it amazing to you how your team can come out and and play rusty and like two minutes later just start clicking and be almost impossible to stop and how easily you push the floor?
MC: "Oh yeah, it just takes a matter of minutes for us to get back to top-notch and perform at our highest level. Once we do that, the game just takes care of itself and the end we end up not playing as much because of us taking a big lead. That's the downside of it."
BN: It looks out there like you guys are aware of each other on the court at all times, do you guys hang out after practice working on passing to one another, or does it just come natural for everyone?
MC: "It's just like instincts, really. When you're around someone for a long time, you get to know them pretty well. We're like a family together, and we know each other really well."
BN: You and Greg have a big visit (to Ohio State) coming up this weekend, tell me your thoughts on that.
MC: "Oh man i'm very excited. I was excited for the Wake Forest visit but i'm really excited about this visit. I expect a lot. I've already been up there once this fall for the football game and that place just blew me away and seeing how many people were there. I just want to see what it's like being a student-athlete at that school and hopefully it will be fun like i'm expecting."
BN: Who are you expecting to join you guys. I've heard you might have other guys visiting with you two?
MC: "Well Daequan should be up there with us. I'm not sure if Thaddeus, Thaddues Young will be up there or not, but I heard he's going to be there. I just haven't heard for sure yet."
BN: What's your reaction to the David Lighty commitment? I understand you haven't seen him play too much, but I know Daequan has seen him and talked to him a lot.
MC: "I haven't seen him play as much, but I heard he's a real good player. The way it looks, Thad Matta is really recruiting a big time class in our class and he's not only recruiting good people but good players with good character. I'm sure if Daequan likes him (Lighty) then I will like him too."
BN: You guys have said that Coach Matta has basically told you that once one guy commits, others will follow. Do you feel you're seeing that in action right now?
MC: "Yes, especially when Daequan committed. It really changed a lot of peoples' perspectives, especially mine, on what schools to go to, or look at. I looked at Ohio State before that, but when he committed, deep down it kind of made me really consider them one of the schools I wanted to go to. And now, it could be the one school I do want to go to."
BN: After the visit, are you going to be pretty close to just saying 'enough is enough' and go ahead and make your decision?
MC: "Yes hopefully, i'm going to try to make a decision sometime real soon after that to get my decision over with and the recruiting process done. I'm sure after that visit i'll know where I want to go even though there might be pros and cons with each school."
BN: Has the process been exhausting for you?
MC: "Oh yes, very exhausting."
BN: I'm sure you've had enough of guys like me calling you once in a while?
MC: "Nah that doesn't bother me much, but everything does take a toll. It's more of the coaches and everything coming to the games and such."
BN: I'm sure too that sometimes you may say something in a newspaper or interview, and you probably hear about it from a coach asking you why you said something or didn't say something?
MC: "Yeah, that really does happen a lot. It makes you have to remember to say good things about the colleges you're interested in and not say bad things. You just have to try to be honest, but also be respectful."
We also had a chance Friday to speak with Cook. Among the many topics we covered with Cook was what he thought of the first win of the tournament, his thoughts on the verbal commitment from David Lighty of Cleveland Vila-Angela/St. Joseph's, and what he thinks of the potential for his AAU teammates Mike Conley and Greg Oden of joining him at Ohio State.
Bucknuts: I guess it's nice to get out and get a 31-point victory to start the tournament?
Daequan Cook: "Yeah you know it's real nice to go out there and play like that, but it wasn't real hard tonight. It was a little tough at the beginning but we know we've been playing for a while and it's just a matter of getting going."
BN: Is that a testament to how well you play together knowing you may start slow but you guys can turn it on almost like flipping on a light switch?
DC: "Yeah anytime we come out and play like that early, we can still kick it in gear. We know sometimes if we play like that we will pay for it, especially against the better teams, but that's how we're able to do it."
BN: You guys played well a couple of weeks ago down in the Real Deal in Arkansas but then lost the championship. I would assume that it's really important for you to win this tournament being at home and being your tournament?
DC: "Oh yeah, there's no question. We learned our lesson early and we came out a little tight, but we understand what we can't do and there's no question it's important for us."
BN: As far as the recruiting, Coach (Thad) Matta basically told you all along that if you made that first move and committed to Ohio State, people would follow you. Now that David (Lighty) is coming to Ohio State too, do you see the work in progress that he was telling you?
DC: "Yes I do, and it is a work in progress. Now we still got Greg and Mike that has to make a decision. I'm not pressuring them and any decision they make is going to be a good one, but I hope for the best."
BN: Do you feel comfortable with where they are leaning?
DC: "Yes, I feel very comfortable. We talk a lot, and I feel very comfortable."
BN: Does David's commitment help them feel comfortable in joining you?
DC: "Yes, David didn't really want to make the decision until he felt comfortable, and until he saw who he was going to play with. But once he saw I committed and I was coming, he wanted to get it done and he saw he would be able to play with me. I think it's the same with them."