Bucknuts was able to catch up with Mike Conley Jr. on Friday afternoon, who was relaxing on his spring break between winning a state championship, going with his friends to the McDonald's All-American game, and preparing to head back to school next week.
He took some time out to answer some questions on those subjects as well as many others including the latest on his recruitment. Here is the full interview:
BN: "You were able to win the state title again, talk about what that was like for you."
MC: "It was real cool. Winning back to back is real hard to do, so this one was a lot harder to get than last year. It was great to be able to win two."
BN: "What's more thrilling for you, winning the first one or winning that second one because of the target on your back?
"Probably winning the second one because people were playing their hardest every night trying to beat you. The year before we didn't have a state title on our resume but this year all everyone talked about was last year's team so everyone wanted to be the one that put us out. So, everyone was trying their hardest to beat us, and it's just great that we won."
BN: "Are you already thinking about a third, or is that too early to start thinking about?
"It's probably too early, but we will have to see what our team is like next year because we lose some guys from the senior group but guys in the junior group will be seniors. So I guess we will just have to see who comes up from J.V. and who steps up for us."
BN: "You guys got to go up to watch the McDonald's All-American game, right?"
"Yeah we did."
BN: "What did you think of the game?"
"That was really cool. I've never been to one of those before. Seeing all of the players I've played against the last couple of summers was pretty neat. Normally it would be people I've not really seen or heard of necessarily, but this year it was a little different because it was guys in the senior class that I know."
BN: "Did it make you want to get to play in the game next year?"
"Yeah I definitely wanted to play in it. I wanted to play that night. It looked like a lot of fun. Everyone looked like they were having fun and having a good time, and I wanted to be a part of that."
BN: "I would ask you if you feel out of place with players looking to score, but I guess the way Greg Paulus was passing the ball, isn't that the type of style you will end up playing if you get selected for the game next year?"
"Yeah, it's almost like we play the same. How he played that game is like how I play every game almost. But, if I'm in it, that's probably how I'll play too, but we will have to see when the time comes."
BN: "Who all went with you exactly? I understand Daequan was over with you this week, but who all went up to the game?"
"Our whole AAU team went up. Daequan, Greg, myself, everyone except for Eric Gordon. He couldn't make it because he was out of town. We went up as a team."
BN: "As far as colleges go that you're looking at, is it still basically Wake Forest, Ohio State, North Carolina, and Illinois that you're looking at?"
"Yes, those are the ones."
BN: "If you would, kind of compare those schools right now for you and tell me what you like about them and some of the things you might be unsure about."
"Well, there are a lot of good things about all of them. For instance, I like the ACC as a conference. For Wake Forest, I like the school, and the coaches, and I feel the same way about Ohio State but it's a lot closer and I'd love to stay home. I'd like to stay home so my mom can come watch and everything. It is in the Big Ten, and I don't like the Big Ten as much, but I absolutely love the coaching staff and the way they play, and it will be a real hard decision to make between the schools. Illinois is pretty much the same way; they are in the Big Ten and I love the coaches, the players, and the way they play, and North Carolina, who is in the ACC. They are a great school obviously with good coaches and have a lot of great players. But right now, the distance is going to factor in with the ones that are further away because Ohio State is closer and it's better for my parents. I would really love to play in the ACC, so it's a tough choice to make."
BN: "As the decision comes closer, Wake has been your favorite school throughout the entire process. Do you find yourself torn, and now that you have to finally make a decision, are you having a tougher time coming up with a decision as it gets closer to having to pick a school?"
"I never thought it would be this hard. There are really a lot of factors that came into play lately. The distance factor -- I never thought that being close to home would be a real big factor, but as it got closer to my senior season and during the year it has started to kick in a little bit, and it's making the decision tougher than I ever thought it would be, because now, I want to stay close to where my parents can watch me and I will be able to come home on weekends or whatever, and things like that. At the same time, I love the schools that are far away that are on my list, so I don't know what to do."
BN: "I was talking to Coach (Al) Powell last week, and he had told me jokingly that Daequan, before he got finished with you, would probably have you knowing the words to the Ohio State fight song. Has Daequan been working on you pretty hard to join him?"
"Yeah, Daequan has definitely done that. We've talked about it, seriously though, we've talked a lot about it the last couple of days since I've been with him about going to Ohio State since he committed and how it would probably be the best choice and everything. I like Ohio State a lot, and now that he committed, it's opened up my eyes a lot more to Ohio State because I love the school and now one of my close friends is going there so we think it may be better for me to go there too. He's really been getting on me the last couple of days."
BN: "Now that your AAU team is finally back together, are you excited that you finally get to play together again?"
"Oh yes, we've been looking forward to AAU for a while. We love playing with each other rather than against each other so once we get back together it's like old times. The last couple of years have been great and we like that feeling so we look forward to the summer."
BN: "How impressed were you with your former teammate Josh (McRoberts) and how he did the other night (at the McDonald's All-American game)."
"I was really impressed. We knew he would do well but we didn't expect him to play as well as he did. Him going out there and showing us and everybody else how good he is was great to know that you know him and played on his team. It was really fun watching him do as good as he did."