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LeBron James given a locker at Ohio State's new basketball facility

By Matt Norlander | Staff Writer

A cheeky way to keep conversation flowing with visiting recruits: Slap an all-time NBA great's name above a locker and let the questions roll in.

LeBron James is from Akron, Ohio. He never played college basketball, you might've heard. If he did, perhaps it would've been down the way in Columbus. Nevertheless, James' name is adorned in Ohio State's new locker room, according to the photo above, taken by Ohio State beat writer Marcus Hartman. James has a very good relationship with the school, has attended multiple Ohio State games and consistently refers to himself as a Buckeyes fan.

Ohio State also sports LeBron-endorsed Nike gear on the regular (here's the shoe OSU is slated to wear next season), so this is another way to crowbar in some recruiting artillery. It's latching onto James -- no doubt with James' permission -- in order to keep up in the chase, but still seems just a little bit desperate, right?

Even if that's so, if it works, so be it. Why do schools and coaches do what they do? Because they can and will do anything to get the best players available. And regardless of the general public's Q rating of James these days, talk to just about any D-I, college-bound 17-year-old player and he'll speak highly of the Heat superstar. That's all that matters to Ohio State. Does it land recruits? Probably not solely, but it can't hurt.

UPDATE: OSU coach Thad Matta explains the move.

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