Odoh released at UNT; LSU not excluded

North Texas has changed its stance on highly-regarded junior college center John Odoh.

Odoh, a Nigerian who led the nation in rebounding as a sophomore at Hill College (Texas), was released from his NCAA letter of intent by UNT head coach Tony Benford, according to a North Texas news release. He is allowed to explore any program not in the Sun Belt Conference, North Texas' current league, or Conference USA, where the Eagles are headed starting in the 2013-2014 school year.

That's a change in North Texas' stance. Last week, athletic director Rick Villarreal said he would not grant Odoh a release to LSU, where former North Texas coach Johnny Jones is now head coach. Jones was North Texas' coach when Odoh signed in the early period. It's widely assumed Odoh would be interested in maintaining his association with Jones at LSU.

As of Thursday morning, there still has not been contact between LSU and Odoh.

"People have contacted us (the coaches), but nobody's contacted John," said Hudson.

Hudson said Odoh is in summer school at Hill and must complete summer course work to graduate and be eligible to play at an NCAA Division I school. He said a decision by Odoh on his future college may come "in a week or so."

Odoh's big sophomore season has some thinking he can go from being an obscure Sun Belt Conference recruit to a legitimate SEC big man. The 6-foot-11 sophomore gobbled up 14.3 rebounds per game as a sophomore at Hill, which is located midway between Fort Worth and Waco, and swatted 4.7 blocks a game. He also gives some offensive ability, averaging 12 points per game.

If LSU added Odoh, it would have the depth it was looking for inside. When Jones was hired, the Tigers had one true big man, sophomore Johnny O'Bryant. Since then, it has added Calvin Godfrey, a forward from Howard Junior College in Texas. LSU also has returning forwards Eddie Ludwig and Jalen Courtney, two players who may be best described as "face-up" power forwards with perimeter skills.

Odoh's addition would allow LSU to use a lineup that puts O'Bryant at his more natural power forward spot with Odoh at center.

The regular signing period for college basketball ended Wednesday. If Odoh does sign, it will be a non-binding conference letter of intent.