The Demon Deacons have widely been known as the leader for Mike Conley's services since September, but when AAU teammate Daequan Cook committed to the Ohio State, the Buckeyes garnered new hope and established themselves as one of the co-favorites.
"Basically I like to say it's between Wake Forest and Ohio State, they are both up there and way out of the pack," Conley stated. "The other schools are going to be there, but I just think Wake Forest and Ohio State are my favorites right now."
For Wake Forest this weekend, this is about as big as it gets. Their number one target at the point guard position will be in to visit and they need to re-establish themselves as the front runner. Conley says he's excited about the upcoming visit and has some high expectations for it.
"I expect it to be everything I believe and hope it's going to be. I know it's a great school and it has great people around it," Conley explained. "I expect a lot of people to be nice and friendly and I want to see what it's like during school time and classes and stuff."
Though it is unlikely, there is a possibility that Conley could commit to Wake Forest this weekend if he enjoys the visit.
"There's always a possibility in everything," Conley explained. "It's not a high possibility because I want to visit a couple of other schools before I do that."
Ohio State will receive one of those official visits from the second ranked point guard in the class of 2006. The Buckeyes have made quite a push for the Indy star the past few weeks, as head coach Thad Matta visited him at school, made sure he was noticed at the "Real Deal on the Hill", and even had a seat behind him on the plane ride home from the event.
The Buckeyes are obviously very attractive to Conley as his good friend and AAU teammate Daequan Cook pledged his allegiance to the school. While Conley has always said proximity wouldn't be a major factor, being close to home is often a plus, and Indianapolis is much closer to Columbus than Winston-Salem. But even with these factors, Conley still continues to say that the Demon Deacons have a slight edge.
"I think the margin is a little slimmer," Conley said of the distance between the two schools. "But I like Wake a lot [and] I mean they are probably still my leader so far. That's why I want to take my visits first before I make any decisions."
Conley isn't the only recruit Skip Prosser is bringing in this weekend either, as the coach is going for the trifecta and has Greg Oden and Jerry Smith joining Conley, the 19th ranked player in the class of 2006.
This is another piece to the puzzle as Conley wasn't aware Smith would be joining him, but he did say that he and Smith know each other real well and playing with someone he is familiar is a definitely an advantage.
"Oh yeah, I mean I think about it all the time, who I play with if I go to this college or that college," Conley said. "If I get the opportunity to play with people that I know and have been around for a while, and played against a while, I mean it'd be exciting to play on the same team."
With so many factors to put into the equation, Conley said that his decision is going to come down to the school and its surroundings.
"Being around the people and seeing if it'd be a place I'd like for the next couple years of my life or after college or so," Conley stated as a major factor in his decision. "Both schools have great coaches and players and stuff like that, I can't go wrong in that department. Basically I have to see how it goes on these official visits."
"I don't want to decide too soon, I'm trying to wait until June or so, maybe the middle the summer sometime."
Oden is someone that could be play dynamic part in Conley's decision as well. Oden, who is ranked number one overall in the 2006 class, is someone he's been playing with since middle school and the two aren't sure they are ready to break the deadly combo up.
"I do believe he'll go to the same school as me," Conley said. "We talk about it all the time, the schools I like he likes. If I say I like this school he likes the same thing about it. I think he'll go where I'll go, especially if the age thing goes through in the NBA."
The NBA will definitely play into this whole situation, and Conley likes the idea of the age limit because it'll allow him to play ball with his best friend for a little longer.
"For me I like it, I mean Greg and a lot of the guys I like to play with who have a chance to go to the league could play in college with me," Conley explained. "On the other hand I'd like Greg to do whatever he wants [and] if he wants to go to the league out of high school I want him to do that."
Oden has said many times that wants to go to college. Many people just think he's saying that, but Conley thinks it's the truth.
"Actually I do," Conley said when asked if he though Oden really wanted to go to college. "The more he talks about college, I try to tell him he's just playing, and I'm like you know you want to go to the league. And he always comes back and says he really wants to go to college."
While Conley's finalists make their last pitches, Conley will enjoy the ride and is planning on picking a school by June.