NBA Draft

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The newest Grizzlie Mike Conley poses with his younger brother, Jon Jon. The Panolian photo by Angie Ledbetter

Grizzlies go with Conley as No. 4 pick

By Angie Ledbetter

The NBA draft on Thursday night, June 28, brought excitement to the Grizzlies’s team and his name was Mike Conley, Jr. Conley’s name was called as the fourth pick in the first round of the NBA draft held in New York City.

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The 19-year-old freshman point guard from Ohio State University was introduced to the media on Friday morning after he and his family flew in from New York.  General Manager Mike Wallace, Head Coach Marc Iavaroni, and owner Michael Heisley were all present for the press conference.

 Conley was presented with the No. 07 jersey representing the year he was drafted. He said later that he would probably wear No. 11. Conley was all smiles as he talked to the media and was very excited about being chosen by the Memphis Grizzlies.  His father, mother, younger sister, younger brother, grandmother, and cousin all attended the press conference with Conley.  Nike sent Conley to Memphis with T-shirts that read, “Conley Jr.” on the front and “The legacy continues” on the back.

His younger sister, brother, and cousin all wore them to the press conference.  The rest of his family decided not to wear the gear yet, not knowing if Conley will give his business to Nike or Adidas.

Conley is the son of Rene and Mike Conley, Sr.  Mike Conley, Sr. was a 1992 Olympic Gold Medalist in the triple jump and silver medalist in 1984. He is his son’s agent now.  He has three siblings, Jordan, Sydney, and Jon.

The Grizzlies are hoping that Conley can help in the place where they were hurting due to injuries and age. “Once Mike gets into the lane, he makes superb decisions,’ said Chris Wallace.  “He’s a leader and a facilitator.”

Conley looks at himself as a competitor and one who doesn’t fold under pressure. “I’m definitely going to put the work in to be able to perform at the high level that you need to play in the NBA,” said Conley.  

Conley has been compared to Phoenix’s Steve Nash and San Antonio’s Tony Parker. When asked how he felt about that, he responded, “Hopefully, I will win more championships than those guys.”

Conley said that the Grizzlies were the only team that made him feel as though they had to have him.

Head Coach Marc Iavaroni said, “I was very nervous through out this process.  I felt that he may have gotten away.  I was relived at how easy this transpired.”

Owner Michael Heisley said, “We think that the young players we have this year will put enthusiasm back into the arena.”

Conley’s grandmother lives in West Helena, Arkansas.  He has an  aunt and cousins that live in Memphis.  Everyone was very excited about him being close to family and getting to play for the Memphis Grizzlies.