Conley Reflects On Visit; Oden Featured On ESPN

Indianapolis Lawrence North junior basketball standouts Mike Conley Jr. (pictured) and Greg Oden made their long-awaited official visit to Ohio State this weekend. We had a chance to speak with Conley about the visit. Plus, we have excerpts from ESPN's "Outside The Lines" segment from Sunday on Oden. Click here for the latest.

Mike Conley Jr. and his Indianapolis Lawrence North High School and AAU teammate Greg Oden returned home this afternoon from their official visits to Ohio State. We spoke with Conley to find out what he thought of the trip and what he's thinking in terms of his pending decision to attend college.

Conley and Oden took official visits to Wake Forest just two weeks ago, and have also visited North Carolina, Michigan State and Arkansas together, while being on the campuses of Illinois and Indiana, respectively.

As of this moment, it appears a decision will come down to Ohio State or Wake Forest, with no other visits planned.

Here was the interview with Conley this afternoon:

Bucknuts: You sound like you're completely exhausted.

Mike Conley: "Yes, I really am. We had a long weekend."

BN: Well, how was the trip (to Ohio State) for you?

MC: "It was a lot of fun. We hung out with the players for most of the weekend. We got to see a lot of the campus and it was very, very nice."

BN: What time did you get back?

MC: "Around 1:30 (p.m.)."

BN: Greg (Oden) mentioned wanting to get a chance to play with the players. Did you get a chance to play in any pickup games?

MC: "No, actually we didn't. There wasn't an open gym schedule, but we got to watch them practice this weekend and do some individual workouts. That was pretty cool."

BN: What were your thoughts on the practice?

MC: "It looked really intense. I could see them getting better right in front of my eyes, and I can see myself being apart of that kind of workout with them."

BN: Did it give you a better feel of the system since obviously you've only been able to watch Ohio State on television before and the comfort level you may have in that kind of system?

MC: "Yes, it gave me a lot better feel. I had a few questions before I visited the campus about the team and how they feel and everything, but now that I got to see them in person and how they play and have a feeling for them, I think it gave me a lot better feel. I got to see more in-depth how they go about themselves and everything. I came away impressed with the team. I think they are very good and have a very good program."

BN: I know seeing more of academics and the facilities as far as school is concerned was a big thing you wanted to know about with your choices. Did you get to see more of the campus and discuss a lot more of the academics with (head coach) Thad Matta this weekend?

MC: "Yes, actually we really did. We got to walk around parts of the campus and we got to visit the secretary of one of the departments. We got to talk to a lot of people and see a lot of things. We went to the Younkin Success Center and got to see what goes on there. I was really impressed."

BN: Did your parents get to join you on the trip this weekend?

MC: "Yes they did."

BN: What were their first impressions?

MC: "They liked it a lot. My mom thought it was a very good school already, and once she saw more of the academic side of it, she likes it a lot more."

BN: She was really high on Wake Forest already, does she have a preference now or is she comfortable with you choosing with school?

MC: "She's a lot more comfortable with both schools now."

BN: As far as a decision goes, what's next for you? I assume you haven't made any verbal commitments yet?

MC: "I haven't made any yet. I'm going to try to wait it out a little while to see what happens with the whole NBA ruling and things like that, and if that holds out to be a while or whatever, I might just make a commitment by the summer time. But I just want to see how things go from here."

BN: Is it safe to say it's down to Ohio State and Wake Forest for you still?

MC: "Yes, pretty much."

BN: Is that the same story with Greg?

MC: "Yes, I think so."

National Treatment

Earlier on Sunday, Oden and Conley were featured in an ESPN "Outside The Lines" segment on SportsCenter. The segment dealt with Oden's apparent decision that he will pass up a chance to be the No. 1 player in the 2006 NBA draft to play at least a year or two of college basketball.

"Basketball is not always going to be there," Oden told ESPN. "Why not get an education, so when basketball is gone you will still have a college education?"

Lawrence North coach Jack Keefer was also quoted in the piece, saying, "Greg is a man of few words. If he says something, he usually means it."

Keefer discussed Oden's progress on the basketball court.

"He is just now starting to reach some of the potential everybody says he has," Keefer said. "He's never been a me-me guy."

Conley was quoted as saying he could not see Oden going to a different school than he attends.

The segment wrapped up with audio from Oden saying, "I'll be on a college campus, definitely."

Oden and Conley helped Lawrence North win a second consecutive Class 4A state championship this past March.

As a junior, Oden averaged 20.0 points, 9.6 rebounds and 3.7 blocks per game. He earned USA Today, Gatorade and Parade magazine national player of the year honors. He is also the nation's No. 1 junior prospect, according to ScoutHoops.com. As a sophomore, Oden averaged 13.9 points and 9.8 rebounds per game.

Conley, ranked 19th nationally among juniors by ScoutHoops.com, averaged 10.9 points and 5.1 assists per game as a junior.

As sophomores, the duo helped Lawrence North go 29-2. Oden had 13 points and 12 rebounds and Conley had nine points and five assists in the team's 50-29 state championship game win over Columbia City.

This past season, they led Lawrence North to a 24-2 mark and a No. 6 national ranking in USA Today. In the team's 63-52 state title game win over Muncie Central, Oden hit 14 of 19 shots from the floor and finished with 29 points, nine rebounds and six blocked shots. Conley had seven points and four assists in the title game.


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