|Team: Grizzlies College Team:
H: 6' 1"|
W: 175 lbs
(27 Years Old)
|RSCI: 22||Agent: Mike Conley Sr |
High School: Lawrence North
Hometown: Indianapolis, IN
Pick 4 in 2007 by Grizzlies
Best Case: Chris Paul
Worst Case: Aaron Miles
|Year||Source||Height w/o Shoes||Height w/shoes||Weight||Wingspan||Standing Reach||Body Fat||No Step Vert||Max Vert|
|2007||NBA Pre-Draft Camp||5' 11.75"||6' 0.75"||175||6' 5.75"||7' 10.5"||4.2||35.5||40.5|
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NCAA Tournament: NBA Draft Stock Watch (Nat'l Championship Game)|
April 3, 2007
Mike Conley Jr closed out his freshman season with another excellent all-around performance, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough to prevent the Florida Gators from repeating as National Champions. The talented point guard played well beyond his years, as he has been doing all season long, and put together yet another stellar stat-line for the Buckeyes.
Less than a minute into the first half, Conley made his presence felt by stripping Taurean Green of the basketball and sprinting the other way for a breakaway layup. Just a couple of minutes later he took the ball coast-to-coast for another layup, weaving his way through Gator defenders. That would be it for a while for Conley who didn’t score very much in the first half, as he was hampered for the most part by foul trouble. Despite this, he still kept Ohio State in the game thanks to his stellar point guard play. Relying on his unbelievable control with the ball, quickness, and craftiness, Conley was able to drive and kick several times in that first half, including one particularly impressive drive and dish along the baseline that set up teammate Ivan Harris for an open three.
In the second half, Conley would step up his scoring efforts, finishing with 20 points in the game. A mediocre shooter from the outside during the year, he couldn’t manage to get his jumper going, hitting just a floater in the lane and a meaningless three in the game’s waning seconds. What he lacked from the outside though, he more than made up for going to the basket. Twice, Conley fooled defenders along the baseline with a crossover move, and twice he went strong to the basket taking a reverse layup. He converted on the first attempt in spectacular fashion, and missed the second amidst heavy pressure from the Florida interior. Later in the game he showed his elusiveness again, this time fooling Joakim Noah with a quick spin move in the lane that ended in another easy layup.
On defense, Conley had another solid game, playing pesky on the ball. He got caught napping a couple times and was burned off the dribble by Taurean Green, but in general Conley looked very sharp. He has great hands, and it showed in this game as he deflected several passes, and a couple of them wound up as steals, either for him or a teammate. More so than his hands though, it’s his instincts and knowledge of where to position himself when his man doesn’t have the ball that makes him dangerous. A couple of Conley’s steals came from his anticipation and playing the angles correctly on defense, cutting off passing lanes. These are little nuances that most freshmen haven’t added to their game yet defensively.
Despite disappearing for a stretch in the first half due to foul trouble, this was still a great performance from Conley. When he wasn’t hitting shots, he was setting up teammates or drawing fouls by being persistent. When he wasn’t on the ball defensively, he was forcing his man to work anyway. This was one of the most impressive seasons by any freshman in the country, and the future is clearly very bright for Conley.
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NCAA Tournament: NBA Draft Stock Watch (Final Four)--Stock Up
April 1, 2007
Mike Conley continued his run of great play in this NCAA Tournament, once again playing a large part leading his team to victory in this Final Four matchup against Georgetown. Conley’s been marvelous all tournament long, playing the point guard position like a 30-year-old veteran, running his team’s offense, finding the open man, hitting the occasional spot-up shot, and taking advantage of holes in the defense himself by using his combination of craftiness and athleticism to get to the rim nearly at will.
Only three minutes into the first half, Greg Oden was called for his second foul, relegating him to the bench for the next 17 minutes. Conley controlled the pace of the game for the remainder of the half, leading Ohio State to a 27-23 halftime lead without their big pivot. Conley’s versatile floor game was on display in many ways, and one of the most notable was in his ability to get to the hole, which he showed off very early in the game. Conley’s at his best off high screens at the top of the key, where he can get a quick first step on his man, at which point he usually goes on to have his way with the interior defense. On multiple occasions in this game Conley would weave with the basketball through the lane, going between defenders, crossing the ball over to switch hands, and using his body to shield the ball. Once at the rim, Conley can score with either hand, just as he can proficiently dribble with either, and he scored a variety of lay-ups in the game, the most impressive of which was a reverse lay-up off the glass in transition on which he exhibited tremendous body control. Conley also hit one long spot-up three-pointer in the game and a right-handed floater from about 10 feet, to go along with his assortment of lay-ups.
Conley plays in transition just as well as in the half-court, and he dished out quite a few nice transition passes in this game, some of which were finished by his teammates, and some which were not. In the half-court, Conley hit teammates for wide open spot-up threes coming off screens, for open lay-ups near the basket on drive-and-dishes, and for simple post feeds. He always keeps his head up with the ball, and his court vision is very strong, which couples well with his excellent decision-making, as evidenced by his 2.72 A:TO ratio on the season. Conley’s only turnover in this game was on a failed post feed to teammate Greg Oden, where he tried to force the ball through two Georgetown defenders.
Defensively, Conley did a good job in straight-up man-to-man defense, denying the Georgetown guards from any penetration against him, but he had some trouble with high screens. The team had some miscommunication problems with the screens early in the second half when Greg Oden was re-inserted into the game, and Conley was caught in the vicinity multiple times on an open three-pointer and open cuts to the basket coming off the screens, though it’s hard to exclusively place the fault on him for those possessions.
With Conley’s excellent tournament run, and his team now one game away from winning the National Championship, it’s becoming more and more realistic that he could declare for this year’s draft. He has most of the tools one could want from an NBA point guard, and if he can improve on his shooting range and consistency from behind the three-point arc, could be a complete point guard at the next level in time, as he already possesses the court savvy coaches desire from floor leaders. Conley should rank as one of the top two or three point guards in this draft, along with Texas A&M Senior Acie Law and fellow freshman from UNC Tywon Lawson, should he decide to declare as well. It’d be very tough to see Conley falling very far in the first round should he declare, and the lottery wouldn’t be out of the picture either.
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NCAA Tournament: NBA Draft Stock Watch (Elite Eight, Saturday games)
March 24, 2007
While the nation focuses on the exploits of Greg Oden, perhaps an even bigger story is emerging in the play of fellow freshman Mike Conley Jr. While Oden has been nothing short of dominating in his time on the court, he nearly as many minutes off of it. The Buckeyes almost immediately gave up ground upon Oden’s foul trouble or conditioning induced-exit, but the scintillating play of Conley during the stretches Oden was on the bench is nearly the sole reason Ohio State is back in the final four. Conley led the second half comeback against Tennessee, and followed it up with another latter stanza charge against Memphis.
Conley, known for his ability to play under control just as much as his athleticism, had his hands full with a Memphis backcourt that knows how to hound opposing ball-handlers. The Tigers came at Conley the entire game, and while the freshman did commit an uncharacteristic 5 turnovers on the night, he proved once and for all that there aren’t many defenders on any level capable of stopping him when he decides to take the ball to the basket. Conley does a marvelous job of controlling tempo and playing under control, but still manages to find the right moments to bury the needle on his way to the basket.
Conley once again recognized that the lane would be open without Oden in the game to clog it up. He hit a huge 20 foot 2-pointer (his foot was on the 3-point line) to stave off a bit of Memphis momentum early in the second half, and was downright dominant during the Buckeyes’ crucial run.
For the tournament, Conley is averaging nearly 16 points, 6 rebounds, 4.5 assists, and 2 steals per game. His stock will continue to skyrocket, with improvement on his outside shot all that stands between him and the lottery. He would be well-served to return to school for his sophomore year, but these types of performances make it fairly clear where he ranks in the NCAA point guard prospect hierarchy. Now, in the year of Oden vs Durant, we have another less discussed but just as heated debate – Conley or Lawson?
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NCAA Tournament: Stock Watch (Sweet 16, Thursday games)--Stock Up
March 23, 2007
With his team in a complete rut, down by as many as 20 points at one time, Mike Conley Jr. needed to step up and provide some more late-game heroics to give Ohio State a chance to stay alive. And step up he did, being the catalyst behind an unforgettable comeback that ended in an 85-84 win for the Buckeyes.
Conley was even better than his excellent stat-line would indicate, showing a tremendous amount of poise in running his team with the type of maturity that won’t soon be forgotten by the many NBA executives that were in attendance. But it wasn’t just a flash in the pan, one-hit type wonder performance—he’s actually been doing this all season long, including in the round of 32 last week. This time, though, he pulled it off on the biggest stage he’s ever played in so far, elevating his game to a new level that speaks volumes about the type of player he could become down the road.
Judging by the way the game started, we really had no chance of knowing it would turn out this way. Conley picked up his 2nd foul just eight and a half minutes in, with his team already down by 14 points and his life-time teammate Greg Oden facing similar issues. Thad Matta didn’t hesitate to throw his sensational freshman point guard back on the floor after just four minutes on the bench, though, knowing that Tennessee was close to delivering a knockout punch that his team would have been unable to recover from.
Conley came back into the game with a real sense of urgency to turn things around, but would not look out of control in the least bit in spite of the circumstances. He played near mistake-free basketball for the next 27 minutes, controlling the game at his own pace and doing a wonderful job of getting all of his teammates involved.
He showed outstanding court vision slicing up the defense at finding the open man, using a wide array of shakes and hesitation moves that allowed him to get inside the paint going either left or right almost whenever he pleased. His decision making was almost impeccable on top of that, dishing out to the open man spotting up on the wing when the situation called for it, or finishing plays himself with a floater or kiss high off the glass with either hand when that solution made more sense. In the absence of Oden for most of the game, Tennessee’s defense slid up to put better pressure on the perimeter to help stop Conley’s drives. Conley punished them by dishing out two gorgeous alleyoop lobs—one to Othella Hunter and one to Ron Lewis—both perfectly timed to give his team the extra spark they needed to make their final push. Early in the game when Tennessee tried to press, he threw a fantastic full-court outlet pass to a streaking Ron Lewis for an easy dunk.
It was only fitting that it would again be Conley the one who ended up sealing the game for Ohio State, running down the game-clock masterfully from 38 seconds to 6.5 seconds with the game tied, getting to the basket with the greatest of ease, and earning a trip to the free throw line for his 13th and 14th attempts. He only knocked down one of two, but that was enough to give his team the victory and send them to the Elite Eight.
Any doubts that Conley would be considered one of the top 2 or 3 point guards in the 2007 draft if he decided to throw his name in the mix ended as time expired and Ohio State advanced to the next round. He was quoted just a few days ago saying that he will be back in Columbus next year, but almost everyone we spoke to this week in the basketball industry claims to be hearing otherwise. If he keeps playing this way, he most likely won’t have a choice in the matter.
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NCAA Tournament: Stock Watch (round of 32, Saturday games)--Stock Up
March 17, 2007
Legacies are made in March, and Mike Conley Jr. etched himself into the memory of college basketball fans everywhere with his spectacular performance in overtime of the 2nd round of the NCAA tournament against Xavier.
Despite his lack of experience, he did an admirable job executing Thad Matta’s game plan and running Ohio State’s offense for the most part in this game. His ability to get into the paint was there whenever the Buckeyes needed it, thanks to his phenomenal quickness and outstanding ball-handling skills, combined with his smarts. Despite his coach’s preference for slowing down the game and pounding the ball inside, Conley did a nice job pushing the tempo and getting out in transition when the opportunity presented itself.
Had the game ended after the second half, this probably wouldn’t have been considered anything more than an average game for Conley. Thankfully for us, though, it didn’t, and we were treated to one of the best clutch performances we’ve seen so far as Greg Oden was glued to the bench with 5 fouls.
Conley scored Ohio State’s first seven points of overtime to take a dominating lead that Xavier was unable to recover from. He hit a huge three (despite shooting only 31% on the year), then created his own shot and finished with his off (right) hand on a layup, and then blew by Xavier’s entire defense off a missed field goal and scored another layup in transition. Just for good measure, he found Daquean Cook on the next time down the floor for a deep three that essentially iced the game.
As far as how this affects his draft stock, that is probably for his father/agent Mike Conley Sr. to decide. He was a likely first round pick before this game, and just gained a little bit more notoriety in the eyes of the few NBA GMs who had not made the rounds this year to see him (and Greg Oden), or did not pay enough attention to him. It’s essentially too early to decide whether he should consider striking while the iron is hot until we see how far Ohio State can go in this tournament.
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NCAA Weekly Performers, 1/22/07-- Part One
January 23, 2007
As each game comes and goes, it has became more and more clear that the nation’s finest pure point guard is currently residing in Columbus, Ohio. Over the last week, we saw him post 20 assists with only 4 turnovers, while also picking up 8 steals in leading the Buckeyes to victories over Northwestern and Iowa respectively. Mike Conley Jr. has been dishing out nearly 7 assists per game and maintained a ridiculous 3.31/1 assist to turnover ratio, and is leaving many Buckeye fans wondering if he will bolt along with pal Greg Oden to the NBA after this season.
Over these last two games, Conley gave college basketball fans a taste of what he has been doing all year. He runs a team better then any guard in the country, period. It has been quite some time since we have seen as good of a “pass first” point guard on the collegiate level, His vision, ability to break down defenses, and point guard instincts have been the main reason why the Buckeyes have been able to maintain a position in the top 10 all year, despite the absence of Oden early in the year. The rookie playmaker’s unselfishness has been contagious, with “gunners” Ron Lewis and Daequan Cook even occasionally deferring to teammates who have better look then themselves. This just goes to show that the effect that he has on this year’s Ohio State team goes far beyond the impressive statistics that he has put up thus far.
Athletically, Mike is as close to a freak as you can get for a point guard prospect. He has an incredibly explosive first step, outstanding lateral quickness, and nice leaping ability for a player who stands only 6’1. It is nice to see a player use all of his athletic abilities to the fullest on both ends of the floor, a rarity by today’s standards in the college game. Conley has shown that he can break down any opposing guard he has went up against all season long, keeping his head up the entire time and making all of the right passes. If he does decide to shoot the ball however, the Indianapolis native is as close to ambidextrous as one can be, using both his right and left hands in all of the proper situations. We’re not just talking about the rim either, as Conley has shown the ability to consistently hit floaters out to 10 feet with either hand as well, a very unique skill indeed.
Conley’s use of his superior athletic gifts does not end there however, as he is an absolute shut down defender as well. Whether we are talking about his on the ball ball-hawking or his off the ball defense, there is probably not a finer perimeter defender in this freshman class. Conley uses his great lateral quickness, quick hands, and heady play to lock down opposing playmakers without getting in foul trouble. Off the ball, he has shown the ability to make defenders think twice about throwing a lazy pass, bolting through the passing lanes to get steals to the tune of 2.7 per game (which leads the Big Ten).
While the positives certainly outweigh the negatives in the case of Mike Conley Jr., he certainly does have some areas that he needs to improve upon, most notably his shooting ability. His outside shot has been virtually non-existent to say the least this year, only knocking down 8 three pointers in 19 games so far. What has been even more invisible was Conley’s mid-range game, which we have seen no resemblance of whatsoever unless we are considering floaters, which allows defenders to predict that he is looking to go all the way to the rim each and every time he touches the ball. At only 6’1 and 165 lbs., he does not have the ideal size teams are looking for in a point guard prospect either, but is still bigger then fellow elite point guard prospects Tywon Lawson and Dominic James.
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Roundball Classic: Game Recap
April 12, 2006
Mike Conley Jr. will be making a hard case for a starting spot at Ohio State next season, even though current point guard Jamar Butler had an excellent sophomore season. Mike’s ability to run a team is unparalleled at the high school level, and his unselfishness and court vision will surely translate to the college level. It was incredible how he was able to distribute the ball and keep all his teammates happy, and it should be noted that Coach Conley (his father) played all four of the Ohio State recruits at the same time in order for them to build some early chemistry, although Conley, Oden, and Cook have been playing together for years now.
In terms of NBA potential, Conley Jr. is difficult to project. He’s small at only 6’0 or 6’1 and not a great shooter, but he really knows how to play the game and can run a team. Conley has mentioned before that he will be a four year player, so draft fans will have plenty of time to watch him develop into an NBA prospect during his time in Columbus.
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Roundball Classic: Practice Reports
April 11, 2006
While we didn’t mention him in our recap on Friday’s practice, Conley did absolutely all you could ask for out of a point guard in both days practices. Conley Jr. broke down the East defense at will, made sound decisions, and got each of his teammates involved when on the floor. His ambidextrous style of play benefited him, as he dropped floaters in the lane over all of the East big men. He is so ambidextrous in fact that he was counted nailing 6 straight three pointers with his right (opposite) hand, which was quite the sight for any basketball fan.
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