Just one week removed from winning a state championship, Connor Vanover has already shifted his focus to the next season.
The Little Rock (Ark.) Baptist Prep class of 2018 four-star center helped the Eagles beat Malvern 61-54 in the Class 4A state championship March 10 and is currently going through tryouts for his AAU team, the Arkansas Wings.
The time between has given Vanover some perspective on winning the title.
"It felt great," Vanover said. "We were in the final four last year and it was a bad feeling that time because we had a chance to go all the way. To actually do it this year, we felt accomplished."
Winning this year was particularly special for Vanover (7-3, 210) because it was his final year playing with his brother, 7-foot senior Brandon Vanover.
"That was one of the reasons we did it," Vanover said. "I didn't want him going out without a championship and all the other seniors. They've been here for a long time and worked hard and deserved one."
Vanover scored 10 points in the championship game, but his best outings came in the two games that got the Eagles there. In a quarterfinals win over Gosnell, he had 15 points, 14 rebounds and eight blocks. He followed that up with an 18-point performance against Helena-West Helena in the semifinals.
The performances earned him MVP honors for the Class 4A boys state tournament.
Playing without his brother will admittedly be different for Vanover, but he should be fine. Despite just finishing his sophomore season, he already has offers from Arkansas, Alabama, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt.
While nothing is planned yet, Vanover said he could attend some camps or take a few visits this summer. The only thing he has planned right now is playing with the Wings on the Nike EYBL circuit.
He'll travel to tournaments in Brooklyn, Virginia, Indianapolis and Atlanta beginning April 15. The Wings will also play in the Peach Jam in July.
Sandwiched between all of those trips, Vanover will travel to Colorado Springs to tryout for the U-17 men's national team, which will compete in the FIBA U-17 World Championship in Spain this summer.
"I made it last year, the U-16 team, and we went down to Argentina and won the gold in that," Vanover said. "It would be another really good experience to go to Spain, but first I have to make the team and then try to go get another gold medal."
Vanover still has a lot of time before he must make a college decision, but if he chooses to stay home and play for the Razorbacks, he said he thinks he'll be ready to play because of his time with the Wings.
"(Arkansas coach Mike Anderson) is getting some good players coming in and I like their style of play," Vanover said. "My AAU team actually runs up and down a lot, that's what we do, so it's really getting me ready for that kind of play.
"I really like what he's doing over there. I think they're heading in a really good direction."