Source: Oden ends speculation, to declare for NBA

Updated: April 20, 2007, 10:16 AM ET
By Andy Katz | ESPN.com

Ohio State freshmen Greg Oden, Mike Conley Jr., and Daequan Cook will all declare for the NBA draft Friday, a source close to the situation told ESPN.com Thursday night.

A formal news release is going to come out Friday on all three, detailing their decision, according to a source.

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Oden is expected to announce that he will stay in the draft where he will likely be tabbed as the No. 1 pick on June 28.

Conley, who could be the top point guard taken, will stay in the draft if he is in the top 10 or at the very least the lottery (1-14). Conley doesn't have to sign with an agent since his father, Mike Conley Sr., will represent him after he was certified as an agent recently and opened up his own company. Conley Sr. is also expected to represent Oden, whom he mentored and coached as a youth in Indiana.

Meanwhile, Cook isn't expected to sign with an agent, at least early in the process. That could change in the coming weeks if he receives a positive vibe about where he would land in the draft.

Ohio State is a quarter-system school and since NBA workouts with teams cannot begin until June 6 after the Orlando pre-draft camp the three are expected to remain in school. A final decision on their academic future will be made next week. Ohio State, like many other schools in a similar situation, is expected to push for the threesome to remain in school. Under a new NCAA directive, students who don't leave in good academic standing and who aren't eligible for the next season could end up hurting a school's academic performance report and could subsequently end up in scholarship reduction for the school.

Oden and Conley led the Buckeyes to the national title game, losing to Florida 84-75 on April 2 in Atlanta.

Oden led the Buckeyes in scoring with 15.7 points a game, 9.6 rebounds after playing in 32 of the team's 39 games because of offseason right wrist surgery. He started the season shooting free throws left-handed with a brace on his right wrist. He eventually shot them with his right hand. Oden ended the season on a high, scoring 25 points, grabbing 12 boards and blocking four shots in the loss to the Gators.

Conley was arguably the team's MVP with his stellar play at the point, including hitting a game-winner over Wisconsin to win the Big Ten regular-season title, scoring 11 points in overtime to beat Xavier in the second round of the NCAA Tournament and scoring 15 points, dishing out six assists and having only one turnover in the national semifinal win over Georgetown. Conley (11.3 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 6.1 apg) is widely considered by NBA personnel to be the top point guard in a weak draft for the position this year.

Cook, who played in all 39 games as well as Conley, averaged only 19.7 minutes, scored 9.8 points and 4.3 rebounds a game. His minutes fluctuated during the season with his only single-digit minute games coming in the NCAA Tournament, playing eight against Tennessee, seven against Georgetown and nine against Florida.

Andy Katz is a senior writer at ESPN.com.

Andy Katz | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com