There was no doubt who stood tallest at Arkansas’ Elite Basketball Camp on Saturday and he’s just a ninth grader.
Arkansas Baptist freshman Connor Vanover (7-1, 180), a 14-year-old Little Rock native, certainly stands out in a crowd and has had a summer to remember.
He’s gotten the chance to play in front of college coaches, worked with former NBA player John Lucas and had videos of himself go viral from Lucas’ International Middle School Combine in Houston.
“It’s been pretty cool,” Vanover said. “I didn’t ever think I would have a video going out, so many people watching it, people writing about me. It’s just been a good experience, including getting to hang out and work with John Lucas.”
He has a good support system around him.
“I am constantly reminded by my parents and other people to keep my head right and keep the right things in mind,” Vanover said. “I have a long way to go, but I am blessed with the opportunities that I have in front of me.”
The 2018 prospect – who played for the 2017 Arkansas Wings this summer – has grown seven inches in the last 10 months and comes from a tall family.
“Both of my parents are 6-3 and I have two (older) brothers – one that is 6-10 that plays basketball and one that is 7-foot-1 and doesn’t play basketball,” Vanover said. They are 17 and are twins.”
He and El Dorado forward Daniel Gafford (6-10, 201) – a 2017 prospect that was also on hand Saturday – formed a huge front line that led the Wings to a runner-up finish in the AAU 15-and-under national tournament in Little Rock.
Vanover had 19 points in a semifinal win over the Louisiana Swilling Storm before scoring six points as Team Penny took the title with a 53-41 victory.
“I was able to give us a few points, a few rebounds and a few blocks,” Vanover said. “Just trying to do whatever I could to help.”
Vanover showed off great shooting touch on the day, nailing several 3-pointers over defenders and showing a nice mid-range game as well.
He is a work in progress with his inside game – albeit his height allows him to score in there.
“I am trying to gain more weight,” noted Vanover, who is lifting weights and working with a trainer. “I’m having a nutrition plan developed for myself so I can gain more weight. I have protein shakes after every workout and a nightly shake.
“I am doing pretty good on my shooting, but I need to do better on ball handling and my post moves and things like that.”
Vanover could have played high school basketball last season, but chose to not start his high school clock of four years.
“I played up on the ninth grade team because I didn’t want to waste one year of eligibility by playing high school last season,” Vanover said.
He enjoyed visiting and working with the Arkansas coaches and players – six of whom helped out with the camp.
“I like these coaches and they seem really nice and want to help other people work hard to get better,” Vanover said. “I can potentially see myself playing here.”
Former NBA player John Lucas and Arkansas Baptist freshman Connor Vanover
Vanover Makes A Big Name For Himself
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