football

Dominos falling

Gregoden06200
As the school year winds down, several of the top players in the country are looking at making their college decisions known. Last week yielded several pledges from a number of the nation's top prospects. This week should be no different as press conferences are being scheduled and visits are being taken. Here is a look at what is on the horizon as guys that hold a lot of weight like Mike Conley will make their decisions during the next couple of weeks.
Bucking football this spring at Ohio State
This time of year in Columbus, Ohio, the talk is about spring football practice and the Buckeyes' chances of making a run for the national championship on the gridiron. This spring, however, has been taken over by hoops mania. Thad Matta has received verbal commitments from Daequan Cook and David Lighty, two five-star prospects from Ohio. Now Matta and his staff are waiting to hear what two other prep stars are going to do.
Indiana teammates Mike Conley and Greg Oden both officially visited the Big Ten program last weekend. Neither player verbally committed on the trip and there isn't a press conference scheduled to announce a decision (yet). Don't let that fool you though.
Conley has long favored Wake Forest, but when Cook, Conley's AAU running mate with the Spiece Indy Heat, picked the Buckeyes things changed. Conley could very well pick the Big Ten program before school ends this month.
Oden, the best player in the nation, will be a lottery pick in the NBA Draft. The big question is when. With the NBA close to implementing a rule that keeps players below the age of 20 out of the draft, Oden could be looking for a dorm room.
Oden has long stated that he intends to play in college. Now the question is where? Many believe he'll follow Cook, and possibly Conley, to Columbus. Indiana, Michigan State and Wake Forest are also in the picture.
Two other high school tandems getting close
Like Conley and Oden, there is another high-profile teammate tandem on the brink of a decision. Tywon Lawson and Kevin Durant, both of Oak Hill Academy, have tripped to Connecticut and North Carolina in consecutive weeks.
Many speculate that North Carolina is in the driver's seat for both Lawson and Durant and while the two high schoolers are being awfully diplomatic with their statements regarding all of their suitors, it isn't too far of a stretch to say Lawson is a UNC lean.
Durant has joined Lawson on the trips to Chapel Hill and Storrs and says a visit to Texas is possible. Those close to the situation believe the two could pick the same program.
High-profile teammates that are heavily recruited is a trend in the class of 2006. Philadelphia's Wayne Ellington and Gerald Henderson share the court at Episcopal Academy. They share the hardwood all spring and summer, too, with the Playaz Basketball program. Together, they helped their squad claim the Southern Invitational at the University of Virginia. Will the two share the same court in college?
Both five-star players are considering Villanova along with two ACC schools and another Big East program. Ellington is eyeing UNC and Connecticut while Henderson is looking at Duke, too.
The two have not dismissed the possibilities for staying home and playing for Jay Wright and the Wildcats. Ellington will visit North Carolina in two weeks. Henderson is finished visiting. Could this duo be the next two to pop by the end of the month? Stay tuned.
And the dominos fall
With Conley likely heading to Ohio State and Lawson favoring North Carolina, things have been awfully interesting in Winston-Salem for Skip Prosser and his staff at Wake Forest. Both point guards have long had the ACC school near the top of their list, but with likely decisions coming to attend other schools, the Demon Deacons have shifted gears to other players.
One player close to making his pick is Jerry Smith, a 6-foot-1, 185-pound prospect from Wauwatosa (Wis.) East High School. The No. 27 ranked player in the country is looking hard at Wake Forest as well as Wisconsin, Louisville and Tennessee. Sources have told us Wake Forest looks to be the leader in the race. A press conference could come as early as this week.
A little light can be shed on Smith's decision on Tuesday when Iowa guard Jason Bohannon announces his decision. Sources say Wisconsin is the heavy favorite to land the four-star prospect from Linn-Mar in Marion, Iowa.
If Smith picks the Demon Deacons, things will get interesting for a number of other point guards. Most notably, Wake Forest is involved with D.J. Augustin of Louisiana and Javaris Crittenton of Georgia. Will Smith's decision (and Lawson to UNC) keep Augustin home at LSU and Crittenton in Atlanta to attend Georgia Tech? It just takes one domino to fall in recruiting, doesn't it?
Josh Lomers, the nation's No. 30 ranked player, is one of the best true centers in the country. Baylor, Colorado, Georgia Tech and Texas A&M hope he's the best center in their respective programs in a couple of years. The Austin, Texas native has been on a flurry of trips recently, but he's yet to make an official to College Station to see the Aggies. He has told Rivals.com he intends to pick his future home before the school's end.
Jordan Hill, one of the biggest surprises this spring, will head to the University of Arizona this weekend for an official visit. The 6-foot-8 power forward from metro Atlanta via South Carolina via Ohio told Rivals.com last week that he could pick the Wildcats on or soon after his visit to the Pac-10 school.
Hill is a bouncy forward that shined on the defensive end of the floor at the Kingwood Classic. His recruitment went from complete silence to a buzz that brought a number of high-majors. Hill could end it all before it begins this weekend.
Still waiting with Echefu
Uche Echefu, one of the best available big men still uncommitted in the class of 2005, is getting close to putting his long recruitment to an end. The 6-foot-8 power forward has visited all four of his finalists - Florida State, Kentucky, Maryland and North Carolina. David Atkins, an assistant coach at Montrose Christian, says a decision is on the horizon.
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