College coaches look for players that fit a specific mold. Those athletes that stray from the cookie-cutter norm fight an uphill battle.
Jon Conley is trying to leap this hurdle. The 6-foot-4, 235-pound standout from Ribet Academy in Los Angeles is searching for a Division I basketball scholarship offer despite being named the one of seven recipients of the John R. Wooden Award as their division's state player of the year in California.
"He's got to be one of the must under-recruited players in the country," Ribet Coach William Middlebrooks said. "He's what we call a throwback player. He can play the three, four or five. He's even defended players that are 6-11.
"He's just not the stereotypical player and some college coaches have a problem with that."
"Jon's not a system guy," Middlebrooks said. "He's a guy you put into situations and he gets it done. He's always been able to play with his back to the basket, but he's really developed his outside game the last few years."
Conley, who also was the CIF player of the year for his division last season, recently unofficially visited Cal-State Bakersfield and ran with members of team. He knocked down five consecutive three-pointers in the scrimmage.
"He's got a lot of Division I schools intrigued, but no one has offered," Middlebrooks said.
"San Jose State has told me that they will offer Jon if they're not able to sign a 6-8 kid they're recruiting," Middlebrooks said.
The coach believes Conley's recruitment has been hindered by lack of exposure. He recently switched to playing AAU for the Compton Magic, which has helped him gain interest from colleges.
Middlebrooks said there is a chance that Conley could stay for a fifth year at Ribet, sit out the regular season and be reclassified in the next recruiting class.
"I've had a lot of coaches say that they'd be on him if he was a 2011," Middlebrooks said.
Division II national champion Pomona and other schools from that level have expressed interest in Conley.
"That might be an option," Middlebrooks said. "Right now, we're focused on the Division I level. I believe he can play at that level and be productive."
Conley led Ribet in scoring and rebounding last season playing alongside Greg Sequele, a Class of ‘11 product with 12 Division I offers.