Age Limit Took NBA Option Away From Top High School Player

Star News Services

The NBA's decision to eliminate high school players from the draft beginning next season helped simplify Greg Oden's future.

The 7-foot Greg Oden and Lawrence (Ind.) North teammate Mike Conley announced during a news conference at their high school that they would both play for the Buckeyes, starting with the 2006-07 season.

Oden, the national prep player of the year as a junior, was considered a possible No. 1 pick in next year's draft until the league changed its rules last week to require players to be at least one year out of high school before they can be drafted.

Oden, who has led his school to two straight Indiana high school Class 4A championships, said the NBA rule change didn't force his college choice - though the lure of a financial bonanza has changed more than one person's mind.

"It didn't really affect my decision, because I always knew I wanted to go to college," Oden said.

He chose Ohio State over Indiana, Wake Forest and Michigan State.

Oden was picked national high school player of the year by USA Today , Gatorade and Parade magazine after averaging 20 points, 9.6 rebounds and 3.7 blocked shots.