OSU Coaches Visit Damien Leonard

Oklahoma State head coach Travis Ford and assistant Butch Pierre had an in-home visit Sunday night with top-100 recruit Damien Leonard in Greenville, S.C., just hours after he returned home from his official visit to the University of South Carolina. Only GoPokes.com has the exclusive on the message that Ford and Pierre delivered to the 6-5, 190-pound guard during their nearly two-hour visit.

Leonard returned to his home from visiting South Carolina early Sunday afternoon, took a nap and rested up before hosting Ford and Pierre around 7 p.m. local time, said Willis Holliday, the AAU coach who has been involved in Leonard's recruitment.

"I think both visits went well. I think he really enjoyed USC this weekend, and then Travis Ford and Butch Pierre came in and wanted Damien to know how they feel about him, and how important he is to Oklahoma State," said Holliday. "I thought the Oklahoma State visit went great."

The message that Ford and Pierre delivered was direct and to the point.

"I think their message tonight was that it's very important for Damein to be at their school. I think Damien is a very important part to their puzzle," added Holliday. "I think that's why they flew out today."

Leonard told the OSU coaches that he was still planning to make his official visit to Stillwater for Homecoming and Hoops (Friday, Oct. 22), and that weekend's football game against Nebraska.

"He told me he wants to make that visit before he makes a decision. Then, probably a day or two after that visit, he'll make his decision," said Holliday.

Leonard eliminated Arizona from his top three several weeks ago to leave it as a two-school race between Oklahoma State and South Carolina for the four-star prospect who is considered one of the best shooting guards in the Class of 2011. However, several other schools tried unsuccessfully in the last several weeks to get in on Leonard, who is rated as the 90th-best high school prospect in the nation.

"We had a few schools call late but he let me know that he didn't want to go through the recruiting process again. He's pleased with the final two choices and he wants to get it done," said Holliday.

"I don't think Damien can go wrong with either Oklahoma State or USC. He really likes both coaching staffs. Darrinn Horn is one of the best coaches there is, and Travis Ford has showed what his capabilities are."

South Carolina may have improved its chances this weekend. "This is probably the most impressed I've been of our state school in a long time," said Holliday, who added that Leonard said he would like to attend a Gamecock practice before making his final decision.

Holliday stressed that both the OSU and USC coaching staffs have left a favorable impression on Leonard. "One reason that Damien is so comfortable with these two schools is because they've both been very honest and truthful in the recruiting. These last two schools have done it right," he said. "I'm just glad that I'm not Damien because it's going to be really hard to have to tell one of them that he's not coming."

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