Dayton, Ohio — Players around the area have been busy these past weekends as basketball has made its long awaited return, with AAU. But, besides practice and training, players haven’t had much to do during their week days.
We decided to change that by teaming up with Corey Albertson of Triple Double Prospects to present our first Dayton Elite Open Gym on this previous Wednesday, July 15. There was an abundance of talent at Flyght Academy the evening of the event, from all over the city.
With almost a hundred colleges and prep schools tuned in to the stream of the open gym, and a handful of media in attendance, the participants had a chance to earn the exposure they deserved.
A lot of players made names for themselves, but none other like Alter small forward, Jacob Conner, did. The 2022 prospect might be 6’7″, but he can play the guard position with ease. His versatility had already caught the eye of many college coaches at the division one level prior to our event, including Bryant, Youngstown State (offers), Cincinnati, Dayton, Xavier, and Lehigh (interest).
Conner came out of the gates in the first game of the night playing with something to prove, while keeping an unselfish mentality. He showed his ability to finish down low with his powerful dunks, along with stretching the floor with his knockdown shooting.
“Coming in I wanted to just come out and play my game. I wanted to show what I can do and overall just get my team some wins.”
Conner was teamed up with 21′ Jayson Hayes (Centerville), Justin O’Neal (Meadowdale), Tyler Montague (Butler), 22′ Rich Rolf (Centerville), Sam Feldman (Springboro), Ryan Chew (Bellbrook), and 23′ Antaune Allen (Belmont).
Shortly after the event, he received texts and calls from numerous division one schools about his stellar performance, including Wright St, Valparaiso, Belmont, Liberty, Appalachian St, Marshall, Ohio, and Northern Kentucky.
“After the open gym I felt like I’d played well. I was just happy to have been able to play some against good competition.”
The biggest contacts had yet to come . . .
Four days later, on the morning of July 19th, he was contacted by a college that had been keeping an eye on him for a while. Robert Morris was calling to offer the young stud. Morris is Conner’s third division one offer, and certainly won’t be the last.
“Robert Morris has been a school I’ve been talking to for a while. I was very happy and humbled to be given that opportunity.”
The same day, Conner was contacted by his biggest school yet . . . The University of Virginia. The Virginia Cavaliers are the defending national champions after defeating Texas Tech in the 2019 NCAA finals. The Cavs expressed their interest with Conner and stated they wanted to keep in touch after seeing his performance at the Dayton Elite Run. Connor described his reaction as “surprised” and “grateful”.
The Dayton Elite Run standout also gave us the word that he was contacted by West Virginia after his above average play in the open gym.
Conner is currently ranked the #2 small forward in the state for his class (Triple Double Prospects), behind Moeller’s Evan Mahaffey. But, Centerville’s Tom House and Cincinnati’s Aboubacar Cisse are following close behind.
Conner’s Kettering Alter squad will be graduating the majority of their 2019-2020 contributers in Brady Uhl (Cumberlands), Connor Stolly (Thomas Moore), Rich Kolb, Austin Brogan, and Jack Smith. But, they have a bright future with a nice set of players ready to step up in Brian Shane (21′), Cade Ryan (22′), Gavin Geisel, Anthony Ruffalo, and A.J. Leen (23′). Add in returning star, Jacob Conner, and Alter could potentially go back to back as conference champions.
“We’re just looking to figure out the best ways for us to compete in the GCL Co-ED, and make a run in the postseason. I’m just trying to make sure we’re all on the same page as a team, so we can carry out what we want to do this year.”
The point forward is definitely putting in his part with looking to carry out what the team wants to accomplish this year. He has improved even more on his already division one skill set and versatility over this off-season, not letting COVID-19 get in the way of him reaching his goals.
“While I was at home I started to eat a lot more and add weight to my body. I was working out 4-5 times a week, trying to add muscle. I’ve been able to put on about 30 pounds since the end of the season. It gave me more confidence getting to the rim and playing with contact.”
Not only has Conner been putting in work on his own time, but also with one of the most well respected trainers in the Dayton area, Bob Crawford.
“Working with Bob is amazing! He takes little details in your game and enhances it so you can understand why they’re important. He was very helpful in my transition to a point guard last year and has helped me a lot so far by working on my overall game up to this point.”
With Jacob Conner only going into his junior year at Alter, and Virginia already calling, who knows what big things are in store for him these next two years. Or even after our next open gym . . .
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