Madsen Talks About Commitment

Dublin (Oh.) Coffman product Kyle Madsen announced his decision earlier this week to come back to Columbus and play for the Buckeyes after spending a season at Vanderbilt. Kyle Lamb caught up with Madsen to get more info on the decision.

The last time Kyle Madsen was back in the Columbus area – Dublin to be precise, he didn't remember it being quite like this.

Suddenly, the former Coffman High School star has become a local celebrity.

"I can't avoid it, the phone has been ringing off the hook," said the 6-10 redshirt freshman.

That's because Madsen, who says he is now up to 245 pounds from a high school playing weight of about 210, just picked the hometown Ohio State Buckeyes over the University of Dayton.

Madsen announced last month that he was leaving Vanderbilt, with whom he signed a letter of intent last May, to land somewhere closer to his Dublin home.

After averaging 16.7 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.1 blocks his senior year at Coffman, earning Second-Team All-Ohio, he received a redshirt this season for the Commodores. The time was well spent.

He spent the year bulking up, getting stronger and feeling more comfortable playing (or at least practicing) at the college level.

"That was one of the reasons it was tough for me to leave," Madsen said of his improvement. "I just decided I wanted to come back to Ohio."

The combination of adding 30 pounds in the weight room along with improvements during practice had Madsen feeling like he was set to contribute in the upcoming 2006-2007 season.

"I got better and better as the year went on," he said, "and I really think I positioned myself to get to play a lot this year."

In the last month, Madsen thought long and hard on his decision.

He learned just recently that he had the opportunity to accept a scholarship offer to Ohio State. That was when Madsen knew it would be tough to turn the Buckeyes down.

"I think it was a couple of Fridays ago that I learned they had offered me," Madsen recalled. "I was obviously really happy to hear that. I was excited."

After visiting Dayton and Ohio State in the past week, Madsen selected the proximity and prestige of Ohio State over the appealing opportunities that the Flyers offered to the contrary – such as guaranteed playing time, for instance.

And his decision showed how big a deal it was for a local kid to select Ohio State.

"Everybody has been calling to congratulate me," he added. "I've had calls from friends, coaches, family. It's been hectic around here."

According to Madsen, that's what's most thrilling about his decision.

"It's good to be a Buckeye," he explained. "I grew up here in Dublin and in Columbus, a lot of my cousins go to Ohio State, my parents graduated from Ohio State and I have a lot of family that have gone to Ohio State.

"It's an honor to go to Ohio State," Madsen concluded.

Although Madsen realized his chances at playing time were going to be slightly more competitive than staying at Vanderbilt or choosing Dayton, he believes he can still contribute.

Ohio State, in fact, has told Madsen they really like his abilities.

"They like the fact that I can play inside and outside, as you had said," Madsen said of what Ohio State told him. "They like my versatility and they said they wouldn't have offered me if they didn't think I was good enough to play and help them out."

If you had asked Madsen a year ago, or even a few months ago if he expected to be battling Greg Oden in practice this year, he wouldn't have imagined it.

That's precisely what he will be doing beginning this summer in open gyms and carrying over to practice in October.

Madsen will have to sit out the upcoming season due to NCAA transfer regulations, but he can practice with Ohio State and will be eligible to play beginning in the fall of 2007. In the meantime, he will be asked to play against Oden in practice.

"No, I definitely didn't forsee that," he said with a laugh. "I'm happy I did get this opportunity though."

But Madsen won't get caught up in having to play with and against Oden.

After all, he's still dealing with being a celebrity back home in Dublin. It's something he's not quite used to.

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