For Indianapolis Lawrence North point guard Mike Conley, the season is still a few weeks away. But in a seemingly never-ending recruiting process, it started long ago.
The 6-1, 155-pound point guard is ranked number one nationally by the Insiders Hoops. As the 14th best player overall, he's focusing his time in the gym working hard on his game.
"We've been going in at 6:00 in the morning every day to workout," Conley told Bucknuts Sunday evening. "Then quite a few of us go back in after school as well."
A native of Indianapolis, IN., he usually is joined by his Lawrence North High School teammates during those periods of conditioning, most notably the top player in the country in 2006, Greg Oden.
As Conley and Oden, his 7-foot best friend, have spent a lot of time in the gymnasium together, so too have they spent a lot of time discussing colleges together as well.
Two names continually come up the most during those conversations: Ohio State and Wake Forest.
As things now stand, Conley says Wake Forest, Ohio State, Indiana, and Michigan State are the only schools he's looking at. Others have tried to get involved such as North Carolina, Kansas, Illinois, Kentucky, and Arkansas to name a few, but for now the list appears to be closed.
"I'm just trying to narrow that list down and make my decision some time during the season," Conley explained. "I'm looking forward to setting up a time and date to visit those schools."
The NCAA evaluation period ended last week for college coaches to be able to watch high school players during practices and open gyms. Conley reflected on just who he saw the most of.
"Illinois and Ohio State were in quite a bit," he added. "Wake Forest was in a couple of times as well, and after that it was mostly the teams close to home like Indiana and Michigan State."
Now that Conley has visited all four schools, the most recent of which was Ohio State back in September, he hopes to work in some more visits during the season. He talked a bit about his trip to Columbus last month.
"I really liked it a lot, I liked the environment so much there," Conley commented about his September visit to Ohio State. "I liked the gym, the facilities, and everything about it. I'm really looking forward to coming back and see what it's like for basketball season."
The visit was made with Oden and their friend and AAU teammate, Daequan Cook. Cook is a 6-5 guard from Dayton, Ohio, and also recognized as one of the top 10 players in the nation. He's considered the top player in Ohio.
The three would love to play basketball together in college, and it seems Conley admitted it would most likely come down to the aforementioned schools: Ohio State and Wake Forest.
"I do think it will come down to those two," Conley noted. "All three of us like those two schools a lot, and I could see us playing with each other. It would probably be between those two, and anyone else they might consider."
Growing up in Arkansas and being a ball boy as a kid for the Razorbacks, Conley has a hard time not giving serious consideration to them.
Since junior high school, Conley has been primarily a Wake Forest fan. Conley spoke about the pressures that could come of following his current idol, Wake Forest point guard Chris Paul.
"It would be a big impact knowing you're following such a great player like him, but it would put a lot of pressure on you too and that might be an obstacle as well," Conley said. "The expectation would be higher. Trying to go to a school like that might be hard shoes to fill."
For now, with Wake Forest and Ohio State battling for his services, each school will have plenty to offer. But the decision time seems to be coming sooner rather than later.
"I would love to get it done (the decision) before the season ends," Conley said. "After I get to check out a couple of games this season and get to sit down and think about it, I'm hoping to get it down. At the very latest, I want to decide by the time AAU starts back up."