A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
Box & One With Mike Conley
SEATTLE — The Memphis Grizzlies point guard wearing No. 11, Mike Conley, came into the league with great fanfare and is destined to live up to that reputation.
He was chosen with the fourth pick of the 2007 NBA Draft that was loaded with talent. Mike’s good friend and former Ohio State teammate Greg Oden went number one to the Portland Trailblazers.
“I can’t begin to tell you how exciting it is just being there on draft day waiting for your name to be called”, Conley said. “I don’t remember sleeping a wink the night before the draft and my mind was just racing with all kind of thoughts.”
I haven’t had the chance to see of that I wanted to see of Mike Conley this year due to an injury that he suffered in November. He had a posterior labral tear in his right shoulder that required rehabilitation and rest was the only thing that could really heal this type of injury.
“Playing in the NBA is a dream come true but it is hard work”, Conley said. “The game is so much faster and everyone has just as much talent as you and the only thing that separates success from one player to the next is the work ethic.”
“I’ve been fortunate to have this taught to me early on in life by my parents and have had some outstanding coaches that taught me the fundamentals.”
Upon Mike Conley’s return and becoming a full time starter on January 2nd, the “Playmaker” as he’s affectionately known as by his teammates, averaged 10.3 points, 5.4 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 1.2 steals which got the attention of the selection committee and was chosen to play in the NBA All-Star Rookie challenge in New Orleans.”
“The All-Star game was better than I could’ve imagined”, Conley added. “Sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure that I’m awake. It’s so funny to be here in all of this after watching many of these guys on television at this same time last year. There were so many legends that were at the game and it was so cool to have the opportunity to speak with some of them.”
At this time it’s safe to say that Mike Conley is a man on fire. “There are so many goals that I have set for myself but going down early with an injury has me a little bit behind schedule”, Conley said.
“The Memphis Grizzlies is a great organization and we’ve got some talented players on this squad that can compete for playoff contention sooner than many people may think.”
“I just want to compete every day, find ways to become better and create more scoring scoring opportunities and bring a NBA Championship back home to Memphis.”
The 6-foot-1, 180-pound guard has got all of the tools to be considered one of the best when it’s all said and done. “The key for me is not taking anything for granted”, said Conley.
“My father told me long that you play like you practice so be sure that I give 100% at all times. It doesn’t matter if it’s practice or game time, you can always improve your performance and become a better athlete. “