Conley's Transition Game
Score One for Missouri
Guard Jason Conley first considered transferring from Virginia Military Institute to a more high-powered program early last season, right before he scored 24 points in the Keydets' 99-57 loss to Kentucky in front of a throng of 18,077 at Rupp Arena. "I was like a little kid," says Conley, who in 2001-02 became the first freshman in Division I history to lead the nation in scoring, with 29.3 points a game. "I just loved the idea of playing in front of all those people."
The 6'5" Conley will have plenty of opportunity to play in front of large crowds next season after transferring to Missouri last week. He will become eligible in mid-December. Two weekends ago, upon learning that Conley had been given his release from VMI, Missouri assistant Lane Odom quickly got the inside track by calling Conley and inviting him to the Columbia campus for a visit. Conley accepted, met Quin Snyder and the rest of the Tigers' coaching staff, and attended the team's 88-58 win over Centenary before 8,105 at Hearnes Center on Jan. 7. Conley liked what he saw and committed to the Tigers shortly thereafter. "It was a little hard for him when [Kentucky's] Tubby Smith and [Florida's] Billy Donovan started calling," says Conley's mother, Karyne. "But he really liked Coach Snyder and the situation at Missouri."
In Conley, Missouri is getting a slasher who is explosive and can score from inside and out. (He averaged 22.2 points for VMI this season.) After playing in relative obscurity at 5,029-seat Cameron Hall for the past season and a half, Conley is eager to showcase his skills. "It was a tease when we played teams like Kentucky and Tennessee once a year," says Conley, who will begin practicing with the Tigers this week. "This is my opportunity to play at that level all the time."
Read Hoop Thoughts by Seth Davis every week at cnnsi.com/basketball/college.