He will have to make the team in training camp, but it's something he wanted so badly, the Seattle native passed up guaranteed money overseas to take his best shot at an NBA career.
"It is like someone telling you that you can't do something, when I know that I can. I haven't had the opportunity to show it yet, so I'm not giving up," Conroy told Dawgman.com.
Conroy's agent made contact with a team in France that was offering $300,000 for Will to go play some point over there, but Will turned it down.
"I told him that it's my job to tell him no, so I said no. I know I can make it in the NBA, no one has really told me that I can't. I know (I can). It's been a childhood goal of mine, and being the type of guy I am, I don't stop until I achieve my goal."
Conroy currently has a stress fracture in his shin, the first major injury of his life. He had surgery on it to assist the healing process. "They opened my knee up, moved my MCL over and put in a metal bar that runs from the bottom of my knee cap to my high ankle. It's about two-fingers wide," said Conroy, who was still out shooting at Hec-Edmundson Pavilion despite the metal appendage in his leg.
The rehab is going well, as Conroy attacks that as he would anything else in life. With no fear.
"No body can judge anyone else's body, and the day after my surgery I was trying to walk without my crutches. That is who I am, I am relentless. I don't take time off, I can't."
While Conroy was in open gym on the campus of Washington, he had the look of a caged lion. "I wanted to be out there so bad with Nate, Jamaal, and the guys. So bad. It was super tough to watch. Out of all of my friends, I am the biggest gym rat. I'm the one that usually sparks everything, and this summer everybody got to take it off because I wasn't there to stir up the controversy and talk crap on the court. Everyone got to kick their feet up."
Even though Conroy had to sit out the open gyms this summer, he believes that he was probably an even bigger pain to those around him. "Basketball is where I take out my pent up aggression. It's where it comes from. If I can't go to the playground, it's like sending a kid to school all day with no recess."
"Pretty soon, with no recess, that kid is going to tear the classroom apart."
Conroy admits to being on edge while being sidelined. "I was getting on guys nerves, big time. Guys would see me and head to the other side of the house to get away from me. I was going crazy not being able to play. So in my spare time, I learned how to cut hair and play pool. I cut Alvin Snow's hair and Jamaal's hair. Both those guys are pretty competitive, and they let me behind them with a pair of clippers, so I got pretty good at it."
"And I'm now super competitive in pool."
Because Conroy has never had anything bad happen to his body up to now, it has been a difficult transition for him to have to rehab. However he sees progress. "Two weeks ago I really looked bad. Now I'm getting my timing down, but my legs are tired. I'm getting there. I've been lifting to keep my body fit, so now I have to get my conditioning back. Before I got hurt, I was at a point where everything was clicking. Down in San Antonio, everything was going well. Even Coach Romar was impressed by what he saw."
Camp opens in Charlotte on October 3rd. Conroy vows to be ready.
"I will be alright by then. I will get to Charlotte, get a physical, and then go get acclimated. They contacted me. I was on the top of the list of guys they wanted to look at so they invited me. I'm grateful for the opportunity – a lot of guys don't get invited to camps after a major surgery like I did. It speaks volumes about the type of year I had in the NBA development league."
Conroy was asked about the recent recruiting classes that Lorenzo Romar has brought in, specifically about Hawes, Pondexter, Nelson, and Oliver. "These guys are good! Coach has a group of guys that can do some special things. They have a real chance, depending on how long guys stick around. This team is a national championship caliber team, with some NBA guys. These guys are gym rats and when you get a group of guys committed like that, good things happen," said Will.
And what would Conroy give to lace it up one last time with Hec-Ed packed, Nate on one side, with Brandon, Trey, and Bobby out on the floor together? He lights up noticeably when responding.
"That would be ridiculous. I would love to take those guys and go play that North Carolina championship team. I see those guys today and I always tell them, ‘You know we'd beat y'all, right?' I see those guys often, and they all tell me that we were really good. Not good enough to beat them of course, but I think they're wrong."
Seattle fans should know better than to think that they have heard the last of Will Conroy.
"God willing, you'll see me back here playing against the Sonics. This year."
Former Dawg gets NBA tryout
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