Jon Mandeldove Looking Forward

Jonathan Mandeldove embodies the term "upside potential." The Chicago native, who is spending the year at Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia and heading to UConn next fall, has all the physical tools. He is 6-foot-11. He is athletic, and he is fast. But, by Mandeldove's own admission, he still has a lot of work to do.

"(I need to work on) my confidence," Jonathon Mandeldove said. "I'm a good passer, and I guess I've been too passive over the years. With confidence just comes my offensive game."

Confidence is a difficult concept for many athletes to grasp, but it's been the focus of Mandeldove's energy in his year at prep school.

"I'm just basically playing and not worrying about making mistakes," he said.

On defense, Mandeldove said he is extremely confident. He has been touted for his shot blocking and rebounding ability, but being a one-sided player isn't going to be good enough in college.

"I will probably be the third scoring option at UConn," he said. "And, they're going to need me to score inside to take pressure off the guards."

One thing that would help Mandeldove's offensive confidence would be a few extra pounds. His 232-pound frame could get banged around in ultra-tough Big East.

"That right there will probably make a big difference in my game," he said. "I am pretty quick on my feet moving up and down the court. If I have the body to go with it, I will be really tough."

Mandeldove said he hopes to gain at least 15 more pounds before he gets up to campus. That would put him around 247 pounds.

"I think 247 would be a good weight for me coming in as a freshman considering (UConn center) Hilton (Armstrong) was only like 200 (pounds) when he came in," Mandeldove said. "I just want to gain the weight with muscle, and not fat."

With gaining muscle in mind, Mandeldove said he plans on working out four times a week with some of the football players at Hargrave after his season ends in March. He said he needs to be ready as a freshman, because he plans on playing next year.

"There is going to be a lot of opportunity's for me because of the guys they are losing right now," Mandeldove said. "There is an opportunity for the guys coming in to keep the winning tradition going. I played for a (high school) coach that won over 500 games. I'm used to that."

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