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Wednesday, June 27th, 2007 at 3:41 pm  |  16 responses

Mike Conley: Where He’s At

The shadowed guard makes his own light.

As numerous rappers have paraphrased, it’s not where you’re from, it’s where you’re at. For Ohio State point guard Mike Conley Jr, that phrase rang particularly true on April 2.

Conley’s Buckeyes took to the floor of the Georgia Dome that evening to face the swaggering Florida Gators with the NCAA Tournament title on the line. The Gators wound up winning, 84-75, though it would have been worse if not for Conley’s efforts. The 6-1 PG finished the game with 20 points and 6 assists, as he kept the Gators off balance with his ability to change tempos faster than a bad club DJ.

“I couldn’t be more pleased with the job Michael Conley did tonight, and quite honestly, all year,” Ohio State coach Thad Matta said after the loss.

“You know, it hurts to lose any game,” Conley revealed. “To make it this far, it was a great run, you know, with seniors and the guys. I don’t know what else to say about the team.”

Perhaps because there’s not much left to say. The Buckeyes blended the nation’s best freshman class—including Conley, Greg Oden, Daequan Cook and David Lighty—with vets like Ivan Harris and Ron Lewis to compile a wicked 35-4 record.

Most of the attention rightly went to Oden, but Conley was the worm at Ohio State’s core, the perimeter player who repeatedly freed Oden on the inside. Conley and Oden have played together since their school daze at Lawrence North HS in Indiana, so their compatibility was never a question. What was in at least a bit of doubt, however, was their ability to play on the next level. Well, Conley and Oden both earned spots on the NCAA All-Tournament team.

Meanwhile, a funny thing happened to Mike Conley on the way to the Final 4: By the time Ohio State’s season ended, MC had carved himself out a spot in the top 10 of most mock NBA drafts. Stay in school or go pro?

Whatever path he chooses, Conley’s past is the past, and he will most likely lose his longtime partner Oden. Where Conley’s from will be irrelevant by then—but we know wherever he ends up, he’ll be just fine.

—Lang Whitaker

This story appears in SLAM 109

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  • Dan

    first

  • Silky Slim

    {David Stern}With the 3rd pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, the Atlanta Hawks select Mike Conley Jr, guard from Ohio State University.

  • Co Co

    I’m a little concerned that Conley’s great play is directly attributed to him playing with Greg Oden for most of his life. I hope I’m wrong, but I can’t help but think that.

  • Cheryl

    yeah, i’m with you Co Co. He’s just a little small to me, but he seems to have the vision and TJ Ford is a little guy too. I guess it will depend on where he ends up and the coaching staff of that team. That’s why I worry about him going to the ATL if they keep Woodson. I think Paul Silas would be a good coach for that team, but that’s just ASPOV…

  • H to the izzo

    He’s bigger than TJ Ford,he’s the most athletic player in the draft

  • Co Co

    I’m worried about any rookie coming to the ATL considering I’ve been watching this Mike Woodson system for years and I still don’t know what we are trying to do.

  • Alex

    He may have had 20 points that game but to me it seemed like he got at least 8 of them in garbage time.

  • http://coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    The whole second half was garbage time as far as I’m concerned. I never felt like Ohio was going to win that game no matter how much of a run they went on

  • Phanos#8

    What odds would I get that durant is taking the Shaun livingston route to be out of yhe league in 5 years. Or atleast the TMac route to never make it stick, since his injuries will hamper his team from getting it’s act together?

  • nothin _personal

    What’s the deal with that moderation stuff, and even worse, with my comments not making it through?

  • http://www.nba.com Greased Up Deaf Guy aka Clay Davis

    um, didnt i read this in the mag? why post it? youre not blogging

  • north fulton

    hawks might get lucky to get conley at 11 but that have the curse and won’t

  • Ty

    Is he overrated cause he played at Ohio State or would he be underrated if he played for the Atlanta Hawks? I like the new uniforms they like UCONN/Charlotte Bobcats alternate road jerseys gone wild! (I guess). Atlanta needs to go head and pick Conley before he goes to Memphis and turns into Chris Paul.

  • DK52

    Mike Conley is the real deal. Soon to be fastest player in the NBA. Sorry Tony Parker and Leandro Barbosa. Conley will be just fine.

  • Shiz

    Conley’s good, but Law is better.

  • bobby stew

    don’t sleep on Aaron Brooks

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