Conroy blows up in Windy City?

When it comes to basketball arenas, SPU's Royal Brougham Pavilion isn't quite in the same league as Chicago's United Center. Jamal Crawford knows the differences first-hand, and now his buddy Will Conroy is going to get a taste for himself. We caught up with Will at last Saturday's NCAA Summer League at RBP, and he let us know about his anticipated trip back to the mid-west with his childhood friend.

"Well, all of us are working out individually," the 6-2, 190-pound Conroy said, referring to his teammates' off-season plans. Then he talked a little bit about his own. "I'm going back to Chicago with Jamal Crawford to play with the pros all summer. We'll get back together in September and start playing again."

Conroy was animated, like a kid in a candy store, when he talked about his trip. "It's like no other, man," he said, excitedly. "You've got Michael Jordan on the floor...all the pros from Chicago are there. Chicago has so many pros, Quentin Richardson, Darius Miles, Antoine Walker, AJ Guyton...everyone's back there playing hard. And then there's the guys that are still in college, like Will Bynum that are playing, so it's big time for a basketball kid like myself. I just bleed basketball, so it's huge."

Will is currently playing for the Metro team at summer league. "It's definitely picked up since last year," he said of the league. "We have a lot more talent here and it's a lot more competitive." Conroy plays with UW teammate Anthony Washington, SPU's Jeff Knudson and former Lincoln High star and current UPS player Aubrey Shelton, among other regional talent.

Like Bobby Jones, the transition between Bender and Romar has been a pretty easy one for Will, simply because he's only been in the program for a year. "Well, it's my first summer really being in the system and we've worked hard," he said. "We worked hard with Coach Bender, but it's more business with Coach Romar. He lets us know that if we do what we've got to do right now, we won't hear from him, so that's what we are doing."

He's not diminishing his time with the previous staff, however. "Last year was huge for me in terms of learning," Will said. "You think about playing college basketball before you get there and then when you start playing it's not as easy as you thought it was going to be. But it was a lot of fun...definitely fun."

Talk turns to Will's newest teammate, as Jones heads down the lane for two. "I haven't really checked him out yet," Conroy said, sticking his neck around corner to get a sneak peak at the 6-7 forward from Long Beach, California. "We've played with him a little bit in open gym and I know he can play defense."

He sticks his neck out a little farther as Jones finishes on the break. "There he goes, right there!" Conroy shouts out. He can see the improvement happening every day, and talked a little about the goals he's set for himself and for the team this fall. "Definitely for us to be a winning ballclub and make it to the NCAA tournament," he said. "That's the main goal. Individually, I would like to lead the team in certain categories, like steals and assists."

Any last words for Husky fans, Will? "Get those tickets! We're going to sell the house out."

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