George Conditt sees the rising expectations for his sophomore season.
The 6-foot-10, 227-pound center realizes what people inside and outside of the Iowa State basketball program are hoping to see from him during his second season. While that might be daunting to some players who averaged only eight minutes per game as a rookie, Conditt is embracing the challenge.
“I’ve got to be ready for it,” Conditt said on Sunday at Valley Southwoods during YMCA Capital City League action. “Coach Prohm and Coach Small, they’ve all talked to me. They’ve all tried to let me know like, ‘Yo, you need to be ready for this because we’re really going to need you this year. I really see you doing big things this year so we’re really going to need you.’ I’ve been keeping that mindset of staying ready, keep working on my craft, keep building on my craft and once you do that, you continue to gain confidence with that. That’s what I’m working on right now.”
Adding weight has been one of the primary focuses of Conditt’s offseason, which means eating almost nonstop in order to counteract the constant workouts put forth by strength and conditioning coach Pete Link. Conditt, who missed last week’s YMCA CCL action due to a hip injury (expected to only hold him out one week), is confident he will be able to keep on the added weight leading into his second season in Ames.
Doing so will be crucial in order for Conditt to combat the rigors of the Big 12 alongside frontcourt mates Mike Jacobson and Solomon Young. Both of those players have been important in helping Conditt continue to build confidence in himself coming off averaging 2.0 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game last season.
“I want to say the time I got last year, of course not what I wanted. Nothing is ever fair, but at the end of the day, I got time. Not many people can say they got time in the NCAA world and in the Division I world especially. I took advantage of every time I could and I’m glad I did because that really helped me build confidence in myself,” Conditt said. “Going against Solomon and Mike and Cam (Lard) every day in practice, they helped build my confidence too because those are, in my opinion, some of the hardest bigs to guard in the Big 12. If I’m guarding a healthy Solomon, if I’m guarding a healthy Mike, if I’m guarding a healthy Cam, I feel like I can guard anybody else.”
The summer also presented Conditt with the opportunity to return to the Puerto Rican national team, but with the stakes growing leading into his sophomore year he decided to turn down the chance to represent his country.
This was not for a lack of wanting to play for his country, but a personal decision of knowing it is time to put up or shut up if he’s going to make the jump expected from him in year two.
“It was a tough decision because I wanted to represent the country and I wanted to represent the whole island of Puerto Rico,” Conditt said. “At this point in my life, I have to think about myself and I have to think about how I need to be prepared for next season and how my team is going to really need me next year. It wasn’t a decision the school made, it was a decision I made. It was tough, yes, but I’m going to live with my decisions.”
More from Conditt
*** On Tyrese Haliburton making the USA Basketball U19 World Cup team.
“It’s a honor for him to make it, man. When he made the team, I called him and I congratulated him. It’s a big thing for him because making that team is truly hard. Talen tried to make it. He wasn’t able to make it, unfortunately, but he’s on a different path right now. It’s an experience. He’s going to Greece and he’s going to be able to experience the world and see everything. Get his name out there a lot more now that he’s with the national team.”
*** On Talen Horton-Tucker being drafted and his other former teammates headed to the NBA.
“I talked to (Horton-Tucker) after he got drafted. I congratulated him. It’s crazy to hear your name called. He didn’t go where he expected, but look where he landed. It’s kind of a good situation for him. I’m happy for (Marial Shayok), too. I’m happy for (Nick Weiler-Babb). I’m happy for Lindell (Wigginton). They’re all with teams and I’m extremely happy for Lindell to come from Canada and now you’re signing with the Toronto Raptors for Summer League. That’s a big thing that we’ve talked about in the locker room a lot. ‘What if you get drafted by Toronto? What if you get signed by Toronto?’ He would be like, ‘Yo, that’s a dream of mine.’ To see that actually happen it’s an honor to watch it happen in person.”
*** On Iowa State’s freshmen and building a relationship with his new teammates.
“They’re all characters. They all have their own personalities. It’s funny, I look back at conversations I had with Solo when I first got here, and I’m having the same exact conversations with them. I look back and I’m like, ‘Yo, why did I even ask these questions?’ They’re genuinely asking these questions because it is important to them and they don’t know how it goes. Just like kind of hanging out with Tre (Jackson) a lot, hanging out with Marcedus (Leech) a lot, even hanging out with the transfers a lot. We all went to breakfast this morning. We’re trying to build relationships. That’s the biggest thing. If we’re close, like last year’s team was close, but I feel like this year’s team can be even closer.”